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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Champions League Dossier: Manchester City Players Brilliant Individually, Terrible Collectively


Manchester City has established itself as one of the British teams who regularly enjoy participating in Europe’s elite club competition, the UEFA Champions League. Ever since making their return to the competition four years ago after 43 years in the abyss, the Arab-owned club has become a permanent fixture in the competition which accommodates four clubs from England.

However, results on the pitch at the biggest stage of them all have been far from convincing. In their last three seasons in the competition, the 1970 UEFA Cup Winners Cup champions have progressed past the group stage only once. Their return to the competition in 2011 saw them crash out at the group stage after finishing third behind Bayern Munich and Napoli. They did even much worse in the following season finishing last after they failed to register a single win in 6 matches.

It was only last season that they progressed to the last 16 after finishing behind Bayern Munich. However, that was the furthest they went as they lost 4-1 in aggregate against Barcelona.

It hasn’t been a good start this season either even under the experienced hands of Chilean manager Manuel Pellegrini. City were beaten for the umpteenth time by Bayern Munich in their opener. The match looked destined for a stalemate but the Bavarians showed their experience grabbing the winner through Jerome Boateng in the dying embers of the game.

The Premier League champions were supposed to show their might when the Roma brigade came visiting on Tuesday but another frustrating evening saw City them take the lead inside four minutes through a Sergio Aguero penalty. That should have served as a danger signal, a warning to Rudi Garcia’s men that they were in for a long day. But the Giallorrossi wouldn’t be cowed as they threw the home team’s script off the window as early as midway into the first half and wrote their own through veteran skipper Francesco Totti who drew level with some deft finish as he became the oldest player to score in European football.

On another day, the Italian capital side would have left England with a point but neither Garcia nor the couple of the club’s fans who attended the match would be disappointed with the single point.

The draw was the fourth successive season City have failed to win their opening home match in the competition, something that has proved costly before and looks like it might bite again this season.

It was a performance that lacked will-power, belief, tenacity and big-game mentality that is akin of a team that wants it the most. Many of City players sulked and played like they belonged to the second tier of European club football. Credit must go to the visitors who never let the stage or the big names written all over the City team intimidate them.


But questions will definitely be asked about this City side whose individual players are a Champions League manager’s dream but collectively, a frightening nightmare. With only one point from two games, the Citizens must now win home and away against Russian side CSKA Moscow, get a result against Bayern which might still not be enough making their final clash in the group against Roma in Italy a must-win as well.

Will they manage? Not on the account of that display in front of 37,509 fans at the Eitihad on Tuesday night.

And That's thesteifmastertake!!