Thursday, 15 September 2011

Match Review - Manchester City v Napoli

Last night the Champions League finally came to the City of Manchester as City and Napoli took their first steps into Europe's biggest competition in its current format.

City created enough chances to kill off the game but the lads rarely got a shot on target with only 1 in every 6 shots heading for the back of the net. That is partly down to the pressure from Napoli's defence but you have to expect better, Mancini expects better. Only Kolarov's free kick in the 2nd half saved City's blushes.

Kolarov also had his nose broken in the first half which is surprising seeing Zabaleta was on the pitch. It's usually the Argentinian who  sticks his face on someone's elbow or boot and walks away bloodied and bandaged at the end of the game.

One thing Mancini did point out was that in the first half the lads were "guilty of taking one touch too many" and he is exactly right. City's front 4 tried to be a little too elaborate and the Italian defence did well to put the pressure on them in and around the box.

It was never going to be an easy game, and the Italian side was, A very well organised defence and played on the break. Napoli's pace on the counter though was quite simply rapid and it caught out City's defence on more than one occasion. City can take solace in the fact that the combination of Hamsik, Cavani and Lavezzi can be matched by only a hand full of teams even in the Champions League. And they came through it relatively unscathed.

There were a few mistakes through the duration of the game though, and they could have potentially ended the match on another day. Thankfully Napoli probably had as many nerves on the night as City did and they failed to capitalise on all but one of them.

Mancini noted that players seemed nervous before kick off, and I can't blame them. It was City's first time in the Champions League and they had the expectation of the club and the fans firmly on their shoulders. Even though most of them had experience in the competition, for a few players a mixture of nerves and excitement got the better of them a couple of times. Although the lads didn't play badly, they know for sure they can play better than that and will take a lot away from this game.

As an overall performance I'd give the squad a 6.5, good but could do better and must learn from the mistakes they made during the game. Thankfully the players are well aware of their abilities and where they could have done better with Vincent Kompany telling "We tried to do things too well and too quick and to be honest that's what cost us on the goal. I think we'll just learn from this game and we have a good enough team to see us through." 

It was a fair result in the end and hopefully we'll see a more assured performance in Germany.

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