Juventus 1 Man City 0: Three talking points
Owen Fulda takes a look at some of the lessons learned from Manchester City's loss to Juventus on Wednesday night
Kompany’s return can’t come soon enough
After their catastrophic defensive performance in the 4-1 defeat by Liverpool on Saturday, Manuel Pellegrini would have expected a dramatic improvement from his Manchester City team in the Juventus stadium on Wednesday. But with his captain Vincent Kompany still watching from the stands, there was little sign of any harmony between the central defensive duo of Nicolas Otomendi and Martin Demichelis. Losing to Juventus means finishing top of Champions League Group D is now out of City’s hands. If Juventus beat Sevilla in their final match it will mean they cannot be overtaken and City will potentially face Barcelona, Bayern Munich or Real Madrid in the next round. If they are to have any chance of progressing further in the competition, Pellegrini’s men will need Kompany back and fully fit to make sure Joe Hart isn’t as busy at he was against Mario Madzukic and company in Turin. His organisation and reading of the game was sorely missed. Although Otomendi has performed well recently, Demichelis is certainly not up to the required standard.
A half-fit Aguero was the only striker in City’s squad
With the funds at their disposal it’s almost criminal that Manchester City would travel to such a crucial fixture with a drastic shortage of options up front. Sergio Aguero is a class act but he was clearly struggling and was presumably withdrawn early in the second half to prevent a recurrence of his injury. The last thing City need is their star striker missing more Premier League games. Wilfred Bony, who recently confirmed that he contracted malaria in the summer, was also unavailable for selection due to injury. The goals have dried up for City in recent weeks. They’ve scored just one goal in their last three games and the fans are rapidly growing restless. Pellegrini is coming under increasing pressure to get his team back on track and he might have to dip into the transfer market once again when the January window opens. His big money summer signing Kevin de Bruyne started brightly but is now seeing his form tail off as winter sets in. Having signed a two-year contract extension in the summer, the City boss would not feel his position is under immediate threat, but he is well aware that he only City’s owners only have a limited amount of patience if results don’t improve soon.
Defeat opens up the possibility of meeting Barcelona again
Manchester City’s last two Champions League campaigns have been ended at the hands of Barcelona. By losing to Juventus and potentially surrendering top spot in the group they have opened up the possibility of facing the Catalan giants in the round of 16 for the third consecutive year. People are quick to point out that to win the trophy you have to beat the best sides at some point along the way so it doesn’t really matter when you face them. Well it certainly does matter. The more games a team plays in the Champions League the more experience they accrue and the wiser they become to the differing tactics and strategies of other clubs. If you were giving the option of playing Barcelona over two legs or in one 90 minute final you’d be mad to not choose the second option. Regardless, City now find themselves hoping for a kind draw. Considering how harsh the pot has been to them in recent years perhaps they’re due some luck and will pull Zenit St. Petersburg out of the hat. That would make a nice change for City’s supporters.