Just like three weeks ago, Manchester City decided to wait until the second half to start playing. It was a spirit display after the break, which makes their lack of bite in the first period even harder to understand. They were brave in chasing what many would call a hopeless cause, but had they showed this endeavor from the first half of the first leg, it could’ve been an entirely different story. They were completely outplayed in the first half and only spared embarrassment by a mixture of Joe Hart’s wonderful display and some erratic Barcelona finishing. In the second half however, were it not for some poor finishing of their own, City could’ve been back in the game. If only they played games as if they were 90 minutes long and not 45.
Despite City’s spirited fight, they were let down by their two leaders. Both Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure were appalling, shying away from any kind of responsibility. Kompany’s form has been an issue all season, as he has been found consistently wanting, especially in the big games. Toure remains a vital player for City, but alongside Fernandinho in the middle of the part, he looked hopeless, unable to provide adequate cover for the defence and looking sloppy in possession. Both gifted Barcelona chances very early on and were saved by Hart, which just seemed to set the tone for the rest of the match.
It’s been a miserable season for City. Things looked to be on the up when they caught up to Chelsea early on the year, but it has been catastrophic ever since. They’ve let Chelsea go without much of a fuss and now instead of a title challenge, they face a fight to remain in the Champions League, with fifth placed Liverpool just four points behind. They were knocked out of the FA Cup by Middlesbrough and were outplayed in this two-legged affair. They salvaged some pride here, but it was still their fourth defeat in their last five games. There’s no point in wallowing in self-pity now even though this game has effectively killed off any hopes City may have had for the rest of the season. It could, however, get much worse by the time it’s done.
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