Southampton 3 – 1 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS

10 Feb

An embarrassing, spineless and inept performance. The title race is over: our hopes of following up last season’s joyous success have been ended, not by yesterday’s alarmingly abject display, but by a season of underwhelming showings. This humiliation, a woeful all-round team performance that suggested the players had already given up, may be the nadir of a disappointing campaign, but whilst it may hurt, the feeling of despondency isn’t quite as strong as it was after the capitulation against Arsenal last year.

That defeat and the apparent end to our ambitions came suddenly; this time around, it has been slowly creeping up on us. We have shown admirable grit and fighting spirit over the course of the campaign but that won’t win you title. It may keep you in with a shout but at some point, you have to click. We haven’t and we’ve been made to pay.

Yesterday was the lowest moment of the season, perhaps the worst performance under Roberto Mancini and the scoreline arguably flattered us. Domestically, I can’t remember the last time a side dominated against us for 90 minutes, but Southampton were superb. They closed down in groups, had a vibrancy and tempo to their passing, and attacked and defended in numbers. It was a scintillating, near-perfect display from them, the only disappointment perhaps being their profligacy in front of goal, but their effervescence and attitude were in direct contrast to our lethargy and lack of interest.

We produced a team performance that was devoid of any positives, complete with individual gaffes that gifted the home side two goals. Never have I seen such a pathetic reaction to conceding, the total absence of resilience when Gareth Barry scored his own goal concerning in the extreme. Even when we have played poorly in the past, we have created chances and looked like scoring. Yesterday, we could have played for another couple of hours and struggled to break Southampton down.

Barry was perhaps the worst performer, but it was a close run thing. Only James Milner and, in the later stages, Gael Clichy, showed any sort of desire. They at least attempted to close down the opposition, but otherwise it was a shambles. All of Southampton’s goals were preventable which was the most frustrating element. Barry needlessly attempted to dribble out of defence in the build-up to the first goal and Javi Garcia’s positioning in the moments after that mistake was laughable, standing three yards deeper than the rest of the defence and not knowing whether to play offside or track his runner.

It was symptomatic of his performance at centre-back – he is a painfully slow midfielder whose positional sense is suspect to say the least, so to move him to defence against a side full of pace and movement was a catastrophe waiting to happen. For the second goal, Gael Clichy was initially turned far too easily by Rickie Lambert before Hart’s inexplicable fumble. And then Barry scored an own-goal that will be shown on blooper DVD’s for years to come.

It was an off-night for all, not least Roberto Mancini, whose decisions, both before and during the game, were bizarre. The omission of James Milner in favour of Samir Nasri was baffling, the Frenchman once again contributing nothing, whilst selecting Garcia at centre-back when Kolo Touré was on the bench was madness. Then, to replace David Silva when we needed goals was unfathomable. The switch to 3-5-2 was understandable but to take off our most creative outlet, even if he wasn’t at his most threatening, was an odd choice. And the continued reluctance to give Scott Sinclair an opportunity is extremely strange.

The only positive I can think of, and it’s a minor one, is that, with our hopes of retaining the title gone, the players can be free from nerves and pressure and start to express themselves. If they can recover a sense of enjoyment, then hopefully we will see some freedom in the way they play from now until the end of the season. The league may have escaped our grasp but we face a challenge to finish in second and finding that motivation to continue plugging away will be tough. But the squad is full of winners, full of players who should realise they have let themselves down and want to put matters right, and it is to be hoped that we see the real City from now on. Yesterday was the exact opposite and we never want to see that again.

25 Responses to “Southampton 3 – 1 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS”

  1. colin 10/02/2013 at 8:01 pm #

    not one word of praise for the way Southampton played ???????

    • View From A Blue 10/02/2013 at 8:09 pm #

      Colin, I presume you missed this bit: “Domestically, I can’t remember the last time a side dominated against us for 90 minutes, but Southampton were superb. They closed down in groups, had a vibrancy and tempo to their passing, and attacked and defended in numbers. It was a scintillating, near-perfect display from them, the only disappointment perhaps being their profligacy in front of goal, but their effervescence and attitude were in direct contrast to our lethargy and lack of interest.”

      • colin 10/02/2013 at 8:59 pm #

        sorry mate missed it :)

    • JJ 10/02/2013 at 8:18 pm #

      Read it again son. Third paragraph “Domestically……..Southampton were superb” and other comments as well.
      Rather than try to nitpick why not read and comment on the content……or are you a Saints or Scum fan?

      • blue bullet 10/02/2013 at 8:23 pm #

        Colin, your a moron

  2. Nick 10/02/2013 at 8:11 pm #

    There is something much more sinister at play here.I watched RM per match interview on ESPN and it was like he had seen a ghost & aged 20 years . Whatever has gone on behind the scenes I cannot fathom ,but the players all downed tools !Think about it …..a must win game to help retain your title and everyone plays shockingly bad !!Stinks to high hell!!

  3. albatross 10/02/2013 at 8:20 pm #

    Totally agree vfab. Well written piece. Time for the inquests to start..poor transfer windows? Yes for me. Maybe this will sharpen minds for summer recruitment. Oh yes, and Southampton were outstanding… is it me or have we faced everybody in a purple patch this year?!

  4. middle-east blues 10/02/2013 at 8:38 pm #

    If it is to believed that there is going to be a major clear out,then perhaps the time is right to blend in 1-2 academy players- Rekik\Suarez\Guidetti\Evans .
    The so-called signings in August have been the down fall of the team Garcia -a joke\Rodwell – did no one know of him being injury prone\ Sinclair …. is it really worth writing,nevertheless, was he forced on RM \or did RM see something which he did not like after signing him ?
    A complete farce , especially when one sees other clubs bargain buys Bentke/Michu/Sissko.
    It all comes down to bad research of the players, of which the club was once so proud of.
    I do believe that we will still string a few wins together and hope to finish in one of the first two positions.

  5. Siamack 10/02/2013 at 8:40 pm #

    I have said it before and I say it again a million times more. Yaya and Garcia should never ever play as DM. Every player has his chance, and Rodwell and Sinclair deserve to be given a chance. I am absolutely certain Rodwell along side of Barry would inject some vibrancy, pace and spirit to fight in our DM.

    I am still reeling from the fact that Milner was put on the bench. Gutted, pissed, speechless and mad.

  6. Quester 10/02/2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Absolutely spot on Sir! A perfect summation apart from one thing ……. we lost the title back in the summer transfer window, and compounded it with total inactivity (aside from shipping out Balo)in the January window.

    Someone in senior Management needs to grow a pair and act as a truly progressive company should. Forget FFP – chelsea and PSG don’t give a toss about it, so why should we?

  7. blue bullet 10/02/2013 at 8:49 pm #

    I believe our squad is better than what it has shown this season, that starting 11 yesterday if all players were near there best would destroy many teams but its just not happened.

    Having said that a clearout with a few fresh faces brought in is much needed. Break the bank for Bale and Cavani/falcao i would suggest, great individual players that you think would complement each other. It would be around 100 million for those 2 I would imagine, but like the above says I dont think FFP should be worried about too much, otherwise a number of teams are in trouble.

    A number of players have underperformed and its not good enough, time to be ruthless.

    • Siamack 10/02/2013 at 9:01 pm #

      If it were to me, I would appoint you effective immediately as the head of City transfer board.

      • blue bullet 10/02/2013 at 10:08 pm #

        cheers mate, i agree with your decision

  8. Kiwiblue 10/02/2013 at 9:50 pm #

    Yeah bale would be great to add some width to our play and falcao or cavani are both lethal finishers in their own right. I wonder if the tevez not playing had something to do with the strange game.

    I hope you are tight VFAB so our players can now finally stop keeping an eye on the title and can play football and enjoy it, show how talented they are. Like last season.

  9. Kiwiblue 10/02/2013 at 9:50 pm #

    …that was supposed to say hope you are right.

  10. Crispy 10/02/2013 at 11:31 pm #

    I’m afraid to say I’d be amazed if we could tempt Bale firstly away from Spurs and secondly away from other suitors. Ditto Falcao. Whilst Bale would be a great addition (assuming Mancini wouldn’t play him on the right), I think the problem won’t be addressed by simply buying a prolific goalscorer. We need a fundamental change in approach – more pace and pressing of the opposition when they have the ball (think first 20 mins against Chelsea away last season). Unfortunately we haven’t the midfield to do this (one paced Toure, Garcia, Barry) so need major changes but will FFP allow this??….

  11. Bring Bellamy Back 10/02/2013 at 11:54 pm #

    Talk of buying in more expensive players is missing the point, was Nasri not both highly expensive and highly rated?
    The truth is this was coming and i had bed feeling about this match, i have felt like this for so many games this season. One thing is for sure Mancini has to take some of the blame, as much as i admire him like all fans, i have also had my suspicions regarding some of questionable decisions. I have no idea what the signing of Sincalair was about and i really wish we had not jettisoned Adam Johnson as despite his faults he was a different type of option for us.
    The failure in the Champions league and now the domestic front surely leaves the manager and some of the more maligned players in culpable positions.

    • blue bullet 11/02/2013 at 12:11 am #

      Buying quality players does work thats why we went from 9th to champions in 3 seasons, not every player will work out though and thats the risk you take whenever you buy someone. The difference is Bale would provide us with a different dimension including pace and potential width which we need.

      Crispy, i think the intention has always been to press high and at times we have done that successfully, just not recently. The strikers have not been up to standard this season, Nasri and Yaya have also been ineffective, thats why additions of real quality in these areas would go a long way to improving us.

    • pjdemers 12/02/2013 at 1:14 am #

      Mancini needs to man up & shoulder the blame. This is teaying his tactics tactics & quite frankly Mancini has been found out because ofrigadherence to the mf diamond which is devoid of width & pace.we need tovary our tactics and style of play to counter teams who defend deep and narrow or apply high pressure but for that to happen Mancini needs to wake the fuck up. I look at teams like Dortmund who are milesahead of us in terms of pace, movement & tactics. A player like Bale would be wasted by Mancini as he would play him on the right as an insideout winger, negating the width & pace he would otherwise bring. It gives me no jot

      • pjdemers 12/02/2013 at 1:23 am #

        Whoops sorry about the typos & poor proof reading, but what I wanted to finish with is that I think Mancini has taken this club as far as he can take it. That said I think he will keep his job as there is no manager readily available who would be a step up other than Mourinho who will never come to City or if Juergen Klopp becomes available

  12. Ryan 11/02/2013 at 12:25 am #

    Anyone else wish we were in Europa now?

    Let’s make a deep FA Cup run and save this season

  13. blue bullet 11/02/2013 at 12:39 am #

    Nice and deep boy, nice and deep

  14. Nikhil 11/02/2013 at 10:27 am #

    What we need is a fast dm and an out and out winger.. Someone who can play the role that Ramirez plays for Chelsea. All our dms are too slow. The ease with which wilshere got past them in the arsenal game was surprising. Slow dms also means that they can’t cover for the fullbacks, the only players who currently provide any sort of width to our attacks. A winger is also desperately needed. The inverted winger system isnt working at all. Only one person to blame for the summer transfer window gaffer- BRIAN MARWOOD!

  15. Nikhil 11/02/2013 at 10:28 am #


  16. Zambucco 11/02/2013 at 1:29 pm #

    Thank you for your praise about Saints. The only consolation I can offer is even your neighbours couldn’t live with us in the second half of our game at OT

    I would also like to add the supporters I met before and after the game were top lads!

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