Good grief, that was a poor performance wasn’t it?
Giving the ball away is bad enough and it feels like I’ve moaned about it all season.
But to combine it with what seemed like a lack of fight is shocking.
That said, I think I can put forward some mitigating circumstances, although I think many of you might not agree.
First, is a very obvious fact.
We quite simply are not good enough to compete with Man City, when they’re playing well.
The word “gulf” springs to mind and it’s perfectly accurate.
You only had to watch their midfielders and attackers quick thought and passing to see the difference. We’ve never shown that speed of thought and accuracy, because the players just can’t do it, particularly at pace.
Ok, I’ve seen the argument that we spent around £130 million in the window and we ought to be way better.
But that doesn’t wash with me. Dean Smith said himself that City paid £50 million for a Left back.
It galls, because we can’t do that, but it does demonstrate the difference.
We started Drinkwater. I guessed we would, because our midfield is frankly abysmal and has been since McGinn got injured.
But that massively backfired, as he looked way off the pace. My criticism here would be that did the coaching team not see that he’s obviously not fit?
Did Smith play him regardless, to try and get him up to pace quickly?
I said in the preview that he has more in the locker than Lansbury at least and I stand by that.
It’s all quite strange to my mind, because I thought Hause had an excellent game until even he caught the bug and gave the ball away for a goal.
Did we miss a striker today?
I personally don’t think so, as we never got hold of the ball enough to warrant having one on the pitch.
And that’s a damming indictment.
You might say my next criticism is an ongoing theme, but certainly today there were too many players who just aren’t good enough.
Hourihane was invisible, Taylor offers nothing in defence or attack and Elmohamady is judged by Smith to be a better defender than Guilbert (something I agree with, which says a lot about the RB position).
Having read around, it seems the “Sack Smith” mantra is slowly gaining momentum.
Certainly, I’d have agreed with it when the final whistle went, which is why I’ve given myself time to think about things before posting.
There’s nothing worse than a footy fan when you’ve just been spanked, after all.
But it’s a mantra I don’t agree with just yet.
Yes, you can take a rosey view, where we get a manager in, he adds one or two players and we suddenly click, going on to finish mid table easily.
But do we think that would be likely to happen? Really?
I think the only way we could massively improve things would be to change half the side for more quality and change the manager. And that definitely isn’t going to happen.
We could of course bring in a fat Sam type, who would probably improve the defence and while it might just keep us up, I’d see it as a backward step.
For me, we stick with Smith for the rest of the season, regardless.
I know what some of you might say.
“It just isn’t working” and “He’s out of his depth”.
While I’m inclined to agree at times, I’m not going to let an abject performance against one of the best sides in the world sway me.
That said, I thought our work-rate and effort today was awful. It was as if we were beaten before we started and that’s not acceptable.
If we maintain that against lesser sides then no doubt my opinion might change.
But we knew it was going to be tough this season.
It’s hard going though, isn’t it?