Manchester City again underperformed on a big European night, this time against a declining but still dangerous Barcelona side and we only have ourselves to blame, despite partial refereeing yet again. Individual errors gifted Suarez two goals, Kompany failing to clear his lines for the first – looking like he was in two minds, and then Jordi Alba was given the freedom and oodles of time to cross for the second.
More serious questions have to be asked about Manuel Pellegrini ‘s tactics and selection. Again he persisted with 4-4-2 and guess what? We were outnumbered in central midfield for long periods with Silva and Nasri detailed to start from wide positions, and the former only really got into the game after the break with City already 0-2 down. Nasri never really got going. Again the initiative was handed to Barcelona. Instead of a tight three in central midfield and a pressing tactics, we got City players outnumbered and standing off Barcelona players playing a training game for 45 minutes.
Messi was allowed to turn with ease and Iniesta was rampant, giving us a masterclass in playmaking. City in contrast did not pass the ball well at all. It could have been more than 0-2 at the break but for a good one-on-one save by Hart to deny Suarez in between his goals, as well as Pablo Zabaleta clearing Neymar’s lob off the line, and Alves hitting the bar. It was the 1st minute of 1st half stoppage time before Nasri registered our first shot on target. The only previous effort of note was when Dzeko header wide at 0-1 down.
Next: Second half.