Football fanatics on Twitter had a field day taking pot shots at Roberto Mancini. Well, all was fair game, essentially because Mancini declared that City had “big problems” and all people had to say was, “No kidding”.
City failed to score at Sunderland and suffered a disheartening 1 – 0 loss after missing several good opportunities at the Stadium of Light. The team’s front men tried really hard to find a way past Sunderland’s defense and that elusive net but at the end of 90 minutes slipped seven points behind their derby rivals, Manchester United. While Manchester United played an interesting game against Newcastle United, City struggled, looked dull and rather unfocused. Manchester United made a series of mistakes, especially with Chicharito losing the plot during the game as well as the unfortunate own goal, but managed to get back on track. Sadly, the same couldn’t be said for Manchester City.
City have scored 34 goals in 19 games in the Premier League, this season, which is considerably less than what Manchester United can boast of. Not to nitpick but a colossal fourteen goals short. The much touted Aguero, Silva and Dzeko were denied any credible chance of scoring by Sunderland’s goalkeeper, Simon Mignolet, which proved to be rather frustrating for the team as a whole. With regards to their attacking strategy, Mancini admitted that they were too soft during game play and maintained the same pace when they had the chance to shoot and score. The top boss also seemed struck by the fact that his top brass couldn’t perform, and he was quoted saying, “It is impossible that our strikers didn’t score…It is a big problem at the moment.”
Comparing the performances that City has doled out this season to their quality last season, it is safe to say that Mancini will have to make some strategic changes to accelerate the scoring capability of the team. Last season, the City strikers were sure to find the back of the net at least twice, if not thrice, in a game, but this season, despite numerous chances, the void on the scoreboard is getting increasingly glaring. While City fans will agree that yesterday’s game wasn’t in line with the potential of the team, Mancini seems to think that his team dominated for a substantial part of the game and it was unfortunate that they dropped the ball. He did, however, admit that extra touches and a lack of accuracy affected the outcome of yesterday’s game and also, they didn’t “score enough goals” and with that, everyone agrees. He went on to say: “We have a fantastic attitude because we want to win right up until the last second but we can’t recover every game. We need to score before that, we had five or six chances in the first half. It’s incredible.”
When quizzed about City’s chances of defending their title, Mancini seems more than optimistic. While he agreed that United rounds up a tall order of goals, he also adds that they concede far more than his squad. He also said that he needs to make some important changes in the team as they can’t continue playing substandard football and hope to retain the title. Mancini also had choice words for the referee supervising the game against Sunderland, Kevin Friend, who missed a foul against Zabaleta, perpetrated by Craig Gardener.
The referee and the linesman might not have had a stellar day at the Stadium of Light, but City were no glimmer either.