Newsletter #1926


I didn’t expect that!

I have never seen us, possibly anyone, so totally outplayed. First off, a master class by Pep’s Bayern, you can only applaud them. Second, however, well… where do you start?

Feeling sorry for Big Joe; despite his errors there was only going to be one winner and I rather feel that the criticism that has headed his way has rather deflected from the bigger concerns.

Why, when it was so obvious that we would be over-run in midfield just from looking at the line ups, did Pellegrini not react until so late with the obvious change of Silva on for either forward?

Why shake up an unsettled back line even more by removing its consistently outstanding performer in Zaba (no implied criticism of Micah who battled manfully)?

Why release Barry when he would have been such good cover to the squad? Why oh why oh why!? Right, come on Phil… pull yourself together… it’s Everton next, and we always beat them… erm, well, erm…

Let’s hope we flush Wednesday out of our system quickly.

Next Game: 5 October, Everton, Etihad Stadium, 12:45 GMT


City were outclassed, out-passed and out-muscled by Bayern Munich in this Champions’ League game. Manchester was buzzing with anticipation before this game, but sadly, we fell well short of what was required.

The failure was collective but City’s performance was littered with individual errors.

This is said with a heavy heart (no pun intended), but Manuel Pellegrini has a big call to make about the goalkeeping position after Joe Hart’s continued poor form. Joe Hart made two errors that handed Bayern an advantage that they were never going to surrender. The game was not even seven minutes old when he was beaten at his near post by Franck Ribery’s shot, despite getting a hand to it. Granted, it was hit with pace and fizzed off the turf, but he should have saved it. It was a bad mistake.

It is sad to see Joe struggle but he was also at fault in the 2nd half when Robben beat him again at his near post (this time his left hand one) for Bayern’s third goal. Again it was a shot that he should saved and he would have done so 12 months ago.

But City’s failings were not confined to one man and the whole performance needs careful analysis. We have to mark better and be more aware, and have more belief that we can keep possession. Bayern’s second goal had come soon after the break when Fernandinho gifted possession to the visitors, Muller pulled away from a static Clichy to receive the ball, round Hart and roll the ball in.

We could learn a lot from Bayern. Their high energy pressing game and their excellent retention of the ball did not allow us to play for the lion’s share of this game and left us chasing shadows. Fizzing the ball between themselves in their all red strip, they were reminiscent of the great Liverpool sides of the late 70s and 80s that dished out a painful annual thrashing at Maine Road, except they moved the ball even faster.

Manuel Pellegrini recalled Micah Richards and Gael Clichy, presumably for their speed, but Ribery and Robben ran them ragged until Pep Guardiola subbed them late on (to sporting applause from many City fans). It was only Micah’s second game back after a long injury lay off, and surely he needs games to find his rhythm before being thrust back into a game like this. He was never up with the pace of the game. Surely Pablo Zabaleta with his better positional play and the fact that he has been playing would have been a better option?

Bayern played with relish. They are a brilliant side, worthy European Champions and must be favourites to lift the trophy again. They passed the ball and pressed superbly. It is a pity, though, that they resorted to diving too often and going down injured too many times when we had the ball – a ploy to break up our play further. They didn’t need to do this, so outclassed were we on our own pitch.

There were too many shrinking violets in the City side as we chased shadows. We showed neither the desire nor the belief that we could win the ball back. When we did have the ball we didn’t have the strength to hold the ball up front or in midfield, and too often possession was gifted back to Bayern who kept it for long spells.

The fact that Bayern’s defenders weren’t averse to frequently giving Dzeko a nudge in the back, which went unpenalised by a rather partial referee, should not have knocked us off our stride. Negredo would have been a better option and he would have relished the physical challenge that Bayern posed. The ball does not stick to Dzeko who, with his back to goal, lacks the strength, touch and desire of Negredo.

We didn’t seem to have a plan to counter Bayern. It was unclear whether we were trying to press them or sit back. As a result we looked confused, and it was a surprise that we weren’t at least two goals behind by the break.

Manuel Pellegrini is supposed to be an upgrade on Roberto Mancini in Europe. On this evidence he is not. He was too slow to make changes (it was 57 minutes before Negredo was introduced and 70 minutes before Silva and Milner came on), yet it was clear in the first 20 minutes that we were outnumbered in central midfield (by three to two), and that 4-4-2 was not working. After all what is the point of playing two strikers if we could not get the ball to them? When playing a better team sometimes you’ve got to flood midfield and try to win that battle first.

The way we were set up as whole is a worry. We are far too open in this game (and have been all season to tell the truth), especially with Navas and Nasri playing like orthodox wide men. Fernandinho and Yaya are not a strong enough central midfield partnership and we are too easily got at. Matija Nastasic must rue the day that Gareth Barry was allowed to leave, so good was the protection that the much-missed Barry offered to him in particular in the back four. It is early days, though, and Pellegrini deserves time to rectify his mistakes. He will not, though, get a second season if City don’t finish in the top four of the Premier League, or do not progress out of this group.

We were a much better side when Milner, Silva and Negredo were on the pitch. Granted, Silva was probably not fit enough to last 90 minutes, given his injury problems of late, but Pellegrini could have done better with his selections and tactics, and started with Milner and Negredo who are better suited to a pressing game than Nasri/Navas and Dzeko.

Silva and Milner held the ball in midfield and used it intelligently, and Negredo added muscle and held the ball up in attack in the last 15 minutes. Milner forced Neuer to tip over with a powerful drive. Then an incisive pass from Silva fed Negredo who swivelled and fired a shot inside Neuer’s right hand post. Boateng was sent off to chants of “City reject” after he brought down Yaya as he ran onto a through ball and was about to shoot, but Silva struck the bar with a free kick. Then Milner’s left wing cross was headed wide by Negredo. It was all too little too late, and would have been even more flattering than the 1-3 scoreline that we got away with.

One would hope though that Manuel Pellegrini would learn the lesson that James Milner, like Silva, should start most of our games when fit. James Milner can fill the void left by the well-respected Barry, who is doing an excellent job for Everton (thankfully he won’t be playing on Saturday, though Osman, McCarthy and Barkley will cause us enough problems).

City are a few years from being at the same level that Bayern are. It will take shrewd player recruitment to achieve that, and we need a wide man of the quality of Robben or Ribery, who were superb.

All is not lost and on the evidence of what we have seen so far in the Plzen game and the shambolic defending in the CSKA-Plzen game, we should have enough to get out of this group. We cannot take that for granted though. We still have to defend better than we have this season, given this game and the defeats at Cardiff and Villa.

The impression, right or wrong, is that City are prioritising the Champions’ League over the Premier League. One would hope that is not the case and we need to see our strongest teams out, otherwise we will not make the top four, let alone challenge for the title. We lie 7th in the League having dropped far too many points at Cardiff, Stoke and Villa and we have a very important game on Saturday that we must win. As we know, winning against Everton will not be an easy task. Pantilimon; Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov; Fernandinho, Yaya, Milner; Silva; Negredo and Agüero should start.

Att: 45,021

City: Negredo 80
Bayern: Ribery 7, Muller 56, Robben 60.

Hart: Beaten at the near post for the first and third goals that should have been saved. Made some good saves as well, but he has clearly lost his confidence, and most likely, the confidence of his defence. It is time for a rest and some careful man management to rebuild his confidence. Like Joe Corrigan, who endured a very difficult spell earlier in his City career, he can come back from this and thrive. He certainly has the talent to do so: 4
Micah Richards: Off the pace all night. Let Ribery have far too much room to shoot for the opener: 5
Kompany: The only City defender to give a respectable performance: 6
Nastasic: Turned inside out by Robben for the 3rd and had a difficult night dealing with Muller’s mobility too: 5
Clichy: A night to forget. He was given a torrid time by Robben and like Micah, was off the pace and let Muller pull off him to score the second: 5
Navas: Some good runs but service to him was limited: 6
Yaya: Our midfield two were outnumbered but he needs to work much harder than this: 5
Fernandinho: Gave the ball away for Bayern’s second. Showed good tenacity and kept working: 6
Nasri: No real impact in this game other than to get booked: 5
Agüero: Worked hard including going back to left back to make a tackle early in the second half, but enjoyed little service: 6
Dzeko: Outmuscled, touch was poor, and didn’t show enough desire: 4
Milner (for Nasri 70): Undervalued by two City managers, but not the fans. He achieved far more in 20 minutes than several of his team mates did in the previous 70. Deserves more chances to start, particularly a chance in central midfield. On this occasion, he came on to play on the left and showed his two-footedness with a superb pinpoint left wing cross.
Silva (for Agüero 70): Changed the game and showed his class and intelligence, especially to set up our goal: 7
Negredo (for Dzeko 57): Far more then the “battering ram” that some suggest. His classy turn and shot for his well struck goal bear that out. Time for a run in the team: 7

Best oppo: Robben: Very quick feet and still very, very fast in possession. Appreciated the ovation he got from the City crowd: 9

Refwatch: Bjorn Kuipers (Netherlands): He might as well have been Herr Nein Bob Note of Bavaria for all we know, given too many of his decisions. Bayern Munich don’t need any help! 2

Phil Banerjee <philban65(at)>


With strong, intuitive and skilful play, City overwhelmed Bayern in a one-sided 6-0 display!

No, I’m not talking about that over-paid useless mob but our wonderful Youth Team in the Europa Youth League. As for that other attempt at outplaying a marvellous Bayern team (stressing TEAM), I must have been the only City supporter who lives 25 miles from the Allianz, has a soft spot for “Hollywood” and sat in front of the box in his full City kit drinking weissbier and crying in it.

We were humiliated and shots of the manager wringing his hands and looking clueless just summed it all up. OK, we frightened them for 10 minutes, but so what? We are totally naive and lacking in confidence: shots attempted by City were about 1-to-10 versus Bayern. I cringed and have not ventured out of the house today lest locals remember my past boasting. Olly Kahn rubbed salt in the wound at half-time by saying as good as Bayern were, City were poor and he was surprised at our performance. Even in Manchester, Ribery and Robben are known for their ball skills so why were they not man-marked?

It was not all negative: Micah looked to be back to his energetic self, but otherwise we should in future give youth a shot (nowt to lose).

CTID (but not yet), Paul Ardern <britsathome(at)>


There is lots of hype and finger pointing in the media this morning. BM are a good side – European Champions in fact – and should be respected. Some of our players didn’t arrive for the game and as such we were comprehensively outplayed and made to look second rate. There is no point in picking on individuals as the list would be at least 11 people long, but they need to take a long look at their efforts last night and decide if mediocre is good enough or if they want to win. The next few games are critical for the season and for some of the players’ and management’s futures.

We are all very sad this morning and the players’ reaction needs to be to smash Everton and everyone else this season.

Also only heard singing from the City support around the 89th minute – was the crowd so quiet all game?

Malcolm Clelland <clelland(at)>


It would seem that the defence has been sacrificed for attack (although we did not attack that much against Bayern) under Mr. Pellegrini. Having just watched the football lesson given to us by Bayern Munich, I watched in utter amazement at how one of the meanest defences in the Premier League in the past few years were run ragged by a fluent, confident Bayern team. Not only did they win well, they could have embarrassed us more. They have of course that same mentality that Manchester United have (or hopefully had) in that they have that arrogance bred through winning week after week. We look like reverting to the old days when we were great one week and very poor the following week.

Some of my observations are:

  • James Milner is a 100% player who you cannot but admire; however, hisendeavour often meets with poor use of the ball.
  • Joe Hart is going through a very sticky period, which will come right,hopefully sooner rather than later (talent does not disappear overnight).
  • Clichy was not fit for the Bayern match and therefore should not haveplayed.
  • Fernandinho is still adjusting but may not match up to Gareth Barry’scontribution and is way short of what Ozil brings to the game (why did wenot buy him when he became available?).
  • Wingers either excite or frustrate; Navas is not getting enough crossesin but when he does surely it is Negredo and not deck chair who should bethere to meet them!

We need to get it right and quick; we are not in crisis, but a loss at home to Everton and a loss in the next Champions’ League game would be getting there! Good to see David Silva back!

Tony Higginson <Tony.Higginson(at)>


Graham Stephenson is right that Mancini did wonders, but he is gone. Pellegrini is getting doing a better job than Moyes and we are playing some great football.

The new era offers hope that our young lads can come through and I confess to enjoying our games a tad more than last season. Villa was absurd. The defence were asleep and that is certainly something to work on, but before blaming the manager, look at the very well paid players who didn’t do the basic job of defending for 90 minutes.

Early days, but I’m not ready to be worried about our promise to play attacking football. I’ve missed it too much.

As for Moyes, I remember passing a petition round that Kippax insisting that Ron Atkinson mustn’t be ousted (RAMBO). Got loads of signatures. Southerners take 30 years to catch on to a joke. Still funny though. Remember Fergie’s start will be the mantra to keep Dave in place.

Hope to see bumper contributions after tonight’s entertainment. Must try harder! 🙂

Martin Hunt <martinhuntctid(at)>


Bayern Munich were given far too much respect by this City team, but make no mistake about it, Bayern were a far better side on the day, and are the current champions of Europe.

First of all I think that Joe Hart should be replaced in goal; he cannot live on his past reputation, it’s all about the form that you are in now, and to be dropped might shake him up.

Second, let the “Beast” (Negredo) start as the striker; we saw how well he played together with Agüero during the derby game, and then against Bayern he scored a great goal!

Silva came on to make a difference, but this was his first game back after his injury; there will be more to come.

Let us not say anything negative about Manuel Pellegrini; in our Champions’ League group, City are still second and can progress.

In future games, City must go in with more aggression, show respect to any team yes, but attack! attack! attack!

Beaten by Bayern, but not out yet!

In Pellegrini I trust!

Come on you Blues!

CTWD, Ernie Barrow <Britcityblue(at)>

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Newsletter #1926