By the time Juan Mata sublimely collected Wayne Rooney’s pass before slotting between Joe Hart’s legs and into the back of the net to make it 3-1 to Manchester United, there were already jokes going round about how one Manchester City player was still celebrating his success with the national team.
It was unfortunate; it is always unfortunate, to blame one player when his team receives an inexcusable hiding, especially at the hands of their greatest of rivals.
But then again, when you suffer a heavy defeat ala Manchester City’s 4-1 capitulation at Old Trafford, finger will always be pointed, most of the times at the manager, sometimes at the player. In the aftermath of their defeat to United though, fingers were pointed at both; Yaya Toure, the player, and Manuel Pellegrin, the manager.
There’s not much to write about Pellegrini. The writing is on the wall really. He will get sacked. It might not happen now. But at the end of the season, should they somehow do the impossible and win the league, or do the possible and qualify for the Champions League or miss it, he will not be at the Eitihad next season. Period.
Which leaves us with the case of Yaya Toure. Given their financial muscle, Manchester City have managed to acquire some of the best players the Premier League and Europe has to offer. Toure is among the top three best players in the club alongside David Silva and Kun Aguero.
He was a vital cog in the Citizens’ title chase last season, scoring crucial goals in crucial matches and at crucial times. He started pretty well again this season. However, after going to the Africa Cup of Nations with the Ivory Coast and leaving with the winners medal around his neck, his return to City has seen him struggle, especially in big matches against the Liverpools and Manchester Uniteds of the Premier League, never mind against Barcelona in the Champions League.
With Aguero scoring twice and Silva setting up the Argentine’s first goal, there was always going to be focus on Toure, the third member of the City top three. Assuming the captain’s armband at half time from the substituted Vincent Kompany who has been so shambolic lately people are almost forgetting how good he has been, Toure was expected to organize the team and make them look like reigning Premier League champions.
That never happened.
Daley Blind found Wayne Rooney who fed Mata who was already on his tracks. The Spaniard tucked home through the legs of Hart albeit with a hint of offside to make it 3-1 to United. Critics replayed the footage and found Yaya at fault, somehow.
Chris Smalling was allowed to head home Rooney’s freekick with Eliaquim Mangala playing the Englishman onside for the fourth goal. Trevor Sinclair, Lancaster City assistant manager and former Man City boy blamed Toure for the goal saying the Ivorian should have organized his defence number.
There’s no doubt that Toure has been missing in the big games. His display against their City rivals only served to win him more critics than admirers. With Pellegrini’s position as Man City boss increasingly looking towards the exit door, Toure’s position as a Citizens player is looking the same direction.
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