You can blame the luck of the draw all you want, but if you want to be among Europe’s best clubs, you have to mix in with the best. It’s the second year in a row they’ve been played off the park by Barcelona, and the two years before, they fell at the first hurdle. It is true that the draws haven’t been the kindest for Manchester City; pitting them up three times against Bayern, twice against Barca, and against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. While Europe has been harsh on City, they need to start beating those teams if they ever plan on becoming European champions themselves.
It may have come from the devil-may-care attitude of having little left to lose, but City’s second half display was commendable. It begged the question: why couldn’t they have started this earlier? Everything changed in the 15-minute interval, when City pressed Barcelona and were first to nearly every ball. The space that Jordi Alba was afforded in the build-up to the second goal was laughable, yet after the break, there were no signs of anything similar. City harried Barcelona, who were on the ropes for a while and could have come away with a draw had it not been for Gael Clichy’s red card.
Despite an impressive period early in the second-half, City were largely outplayed by Barcelona, who ran out comfortable winners. Yaya Toure’s absence was much spoken about before kick-off and the first 45 minutes showed why. City lacked urgency in midfield and a real player to drive them forward and ride off Barcelona’s high-pressure. However talented they may be, neither Samir Nasri and David Silva are that kind of player. Things got a little better when Fernandinho came off the bench to help City settle in the game. After struggling so long without the Ivorian while he was away, one would expect City would have found an alternative to play without him by now. Alas, they still haven’t.
MORE: Man United latest news
MORE: Arsenal latest news
MORE: Chelsea latest news
MORE: Liverpool latest news