At a stretch you could take two positives from today’s 1-1 draw at Ewood Park. 1). We’re still in the FA Cup. 2). Our unbeaten run continues.
On the other hand, there were many negatives in what was a turgid performance from the Blues today. Whether they were tired or just not motivated for an early kick-off against a Championship side is anyone’s guess.
Pellegrini opted for the Negredo/Dzeko partnership again, but it hasn’t really clicked. The ideal would be pairing either with a cultured striker like Aguero or Jovetic, but those two are on the shelf. Today, an extra midfielder might have worked better.
Blackburn flooded the midfield and Fernandinho had to work hard to try and battle three men, while Garcia contributed next to nothing except the occasional header or short pass.
The first half was a bore and the monotonous commentary of Michael Owen must have had many a Blue nodding off. But right on the stroke of half-time, Dzeko got on the end of a corner and his header found Negredo who scored his 15th of the season.
City didn’t really deserve that lead and the performance wasn’t good in the second half either. They seemed to want the win with minimal effort, but in English football even lower league clubs can present a challenge if you aren’t focused.
Despite Blackburn having many chances (and many long throws…), City may still have won the game if not for a howler from Pantilimon. He made a mess of a save, gifting Scott Dann an equaliser 10 minutes into the second half. A recurring nightmare this season, poor individual errors costing us in away games.
City had their chances to win the game, substitute Navas squandering a great opportunity, but the creative spark was missing and it was a lethargic performance.
Too many players didn’t perform today, including Silva, Milner and Garcia. The worst of the lot was Boyata who was poor in every respect and got himself sent off for a second yellow card after kicking out.
In his own words, “stupid”. He’s now 23 and there are no excuses for such childish petulance, especially when 20-year-old Nastasic is on the same team and managed to control himself after getting booked.
The fact that Boyata had to play at right-back exposed one of several small holes in City’s allegedly world class squad. Micah Richards’ inability to stay fit for long has left us with no natural right-back to rotate with Zabaleta.
So, another game is added to the fixture pile-up, a replay at the Etihad. City had planned some warm weather training and a friendly in the UAE during that week, a trip that will presumably now be cancelled.
Pellegrini was asked about the transfer window after the game and said the same as recently, that he is happy with the squad, but did not rule out movement in January.
I’m not sure many Blues would want City to pass up the chance to strengthen, but it would help if certain players could stay fit for more than a week. Rodwell, Richards and Jovetic would surely have played today if available.
Blackburn: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Spurr, Williamson (King 64), Cairney, Lowe, Taylor, Marshall (Campbell 81), Gestede (Rhodes 81)
Subs not used: Eastwood, Kilgallon, Rochina, Judge
Goal: Dann 55
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy, Milner, Garcia, Fernandinho (Yaya Toure 64), Silva (Zabaleta 88), Dzeko, Negredo (Navas 75)
Subs not used: Hart, Kompany, Kolarov, Lopes
Attendance: 18,813 (officially 7,526 City fans – unofficially, a lot more)
TKA Man of the Match: Fernandinho
Stats courtesy of WhoScored: