Champions Slip Up Yet Again – Analyzing The Stadium Of Lights Misery Of Manchester City

The gap between United and City widened to 7 points as City lost their match to Sunderland by 1-0, courtesy goal from Adam Johnson in the 53rd minute of the match. It was a great night for Sunderland and their fans could not have asked for more as Christmas gift but it a rather disappointing game for City, who now looks to have quite gone out of the Championship race with all their vulnerabilities exposed to a team as low in the table as Sunderland. As both the team have just one match left in this year and would look to move into the New Year on a positive note, we try to analyse the match here and find out the flaws in City’s attack.

Lack of variation

Argentinians fail to deliver

With a forward line consisting of players like Tevez, Aguero and Dzeko, it is rather a strange fact that City were unable to create even a single sure-shot capable of scoring a goal. The main problem with City’s tactics was their lack of variation. They were only trying to play with forward passes, which they effectively did, but the opponents were bound to outsmart them once they guessed where the ball would go. They were making forward pass, searching for a hole in the Sunderland defence and thought of netting the ball once they were in the right position. This problem arose for City because the height of both Tevez and Aguero are very short apart from Silva. So aerial crosses would not work with the central defenders being taller and ground crosses are absolutely ineffective, thus nullifying the chances of wing-play. A player with Dzeko’s aerial ability was the need of the hour but the lanky striker arrived only 20 minutes before closure of play.

Still a gem of a midfield

 Although City lost the match, with a no-show from their strikers, still their midfield was strong enough to create many half chances. Silva must be mentioned with emphasis as he was the backbone of their midfield and provided a number of passes to the forwards, who did not make use of them. The best chance for City came in the first half through Silva, which was saved by Mignolet showing great presence of mind. Yaya Toure, who has been recently been awarded as the African player of the year, showed his importance in the team provided quite a few chances to the strikers. A surprise package in the City midfield was Zabaleta, who rose up on a number of occasions and moved inside the opposition’s box providing vital assistance to the forward line. With the right tactic, Mancini can reap heavily from this midfield and there is now fault in the City midfield for the lack of penetration into Sunderland’s penalty box.

Sunderland’s matured football

Danny Rose - The pick of the Sunderland midfield
Danny Rose – The pick of the Sunderland midfield

Sunderland was very aware of their status and their limitation and throughout the match played very sensible brand of football. They defended heavily, made excellent man-markings, did not try to hold possessions in the mid-field, played with long-balls, tried to score goal from outside the box with long range shot and finally managed to sneak one past Hart, which would have been saved on another day. The one player whose name must be taken is Danny Rose, who dropped back most of the time to provide support to the defence line and saved them quite a few times. He was the sole link between Fletcher and Johnson up in the field and the bulk of players dropped in defence.

Danny Rose's action areas

A tale of two defence

While the Sunderland defence line was compact, and never allowed the star studded City forward line to penetrate into a real goal scoring opportunity, thanks to their captain Cueller, City were awful in their defence letting the Sunderland players to go past them with ease. City’s weak defence were highlighted by the fact that Kompany totally lost his cool and dragged himself to a position of receiving a red card. The less said about City’s man marking, the better for their fans. They could not even counter the long-ball approach of the Sunderland team and unless they make some real improvements in near future, they are likely to concede loads of goals. 

Written by Dinesh V

Co-founder of Soccersouls. Living a start-up life 24/7
Follow @dineshintwit

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