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4 hours ago, prehuman said:

I didn't get a chance to see the game, but I was shocked by the result of the wolves.

Is there a problem happening in the squad or in the club?

This result is not normal against West Ham.

I have no doubt that you will find a way to blame that on FL too.

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1 minute ago, Pizy said:

Fulham are truly diabolical. What an absolute waste of a PL place.

Got to feel for Scotty Parker. He's working with a team of Sunday League players. 

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5 minutes ago, Pizy said:

Fulham are truly diabolical. What an absolute waste of a PL place.

I shake my head every time they get promoted

they start every EPL season after promotion as a turd already sliding down the bowl, waiting the flush

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When will Manchester City learn?

https://theathletic.com/2096934/2020/09/28/when-will-manchester-city-learn/

city-dias-left-back-striker.jpg

The worst thing about Manchester City’s collapse is that they have done all this before. When they were knocked out of the Champions League by Lyon not that long ago, Kevin De Bruyne declared it “different year, same stuff”, and it looks like not much has changed since then.

That was a pained yet succinct analysis from De Bruyne, the man who was at his most shouty and perturbed as things fell apart once again on Sunday, but perhaps another famous summary gets to the nub of this City performance better than any other.

The disdain and disappointment were evident in Barry Davies’ voice when he announced Italy’s exit from the 2002 World Cup with the immortal line, “And the Italians are out because they will. Not. Learn.”

When will City, as a team and club, learn?

This was the first time a Pep Guardiola team has conceded five goals, but the second time Jamie Vardy has scored a hat-trick against the Catalan’s City. The first was in the opening months of the Pep era, on one of those nights when it was clear that the squad wasn’t anywhere near ready to do what he asked of them.

Because this is the latest in a long line of similar defeats in the past year, it is tempting to suggest they don’t look much better equipped now. They are, of course, which only adds to the exasperation.

We can look at the quality in the squad and on the touchline and wonder how City are still getting into these scrapes since they put together two of the finest seasons ever seen in English football, and we can look at the club, with its money and its admirable footballing structure, and wonder how they are still a few players short — not just despite the players they have already brought to the club, but despite knowing exactly which positions they wanted to strengthen going into the summer.

So, the team. Brendan Rodgers spelt out the blueprint that City’s opponents have been trying for the past four seasons, but one that is becoming increasingly more successful. Rodgers, lest we forget, is very much wedded to proactive, attacking football.

“They’re such a great team that they want to go into the pockets between your lines,” the Leicester manager said. “And obviously the higher you press against them… they have an incredible technical ability, sometimes you cannot pressure players like that. The ball is gone and they go and exploit the space that you’ve left.

“People will not have seen too many of my teams play like that, but I felt for this game, it was important from a tactical perspective to just take the keeper out of it. Ederson could play at centre-half for some Premier League teams, he’s that good with the ball, so we just decided to get into a three-quarter to half-pitch shape (to sit deep), just deny the space and then when the counter-press comes, do we have then the quality to pass out of that and be away on the break? And thankfully we were able to do that with real quality this afternoon.”

Indeed, they did it time and time again.

Rodgers probably enjoyed spelling that out in fine detail, and perhaps it is something he could go back to if he were to get a call from City’s decision-makers later this season. But, in short, they sat off City, used their own quality players to work around the pressure and voila: they were in on the defence, as so many others have been before.

How many times have City struggled to break a team down and then compound it by losing the ball high up the pitch, let the opposition run right through the middle of them and then have the defenders crumple? That was the recipe for disaster last season, when Norwich City, Liverpool, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and Lyon all benefited.

In fairness to City, their pressing looked more energetic and targeted on Sunday than many times last season but Leicester, as Rodgers said, played out of it very well. And once they did, the game was up. City knew Rodri would need time to learn to cope with men running at him but they never expected so many men to be running at him so often. The forwards and midfielders need to pull their weight, as they did in the good times, and the blame cannot belong solely to the defence.

But that defence. There is not a catch-all answer to the question “how did it get to this?” It hasn’t worked out for John Stones; Benjamin Mendy’s injuries were unfortunate and have robbed him of his best abilities; Oleksandr Zinchenko’s rise to first-teamer was, in hindsight, effectively a bonus and he could yet leave this summer; you can see what they saw in Nicolas Otamendi five years ago (good on the ball, strong, tough) but he has had only one good full season and is now leaving; the jury is still out on Joao Cancelo but he was signed because Danilo, the guy they signed after Dani Alves’ U-turn in 2017, wanted out; Angelino was always a cheap stop-gap but they’ve sent him on loan again before actually filling that gap. It’s dizzying.

They’ve done very well with Kyle Walker and Aymeric Laporte, and it’s a good job the Frenchman has been so good because the decision (and it was a decision) not to pay what Southampton wanted for Virgil van Dijk has helped transform Liverpool into what they are today.

What are City today? They are a very good side, but the “but” is in danger of becoming too large to ignore.

It would be unfair to gloss over the fact that City have started this season with seven or eight injuries to key players, including their two strikers, and that they have not had any kind of pre-season friendlies. They beat Wolves well on Monday night but that doesn’t lessen those factors (and Wolves’ 4-0 defeat on Sunday may provide a bit more context).

Yet at the same time, these are recurring issues, and the club knew things needed to improve this season because they went into the summer wanting two new centre-backs, a winger, a striker and a left-back (or Lionel Messi).

It is so telling that Eric Garcia, a 19-year-old who wants to leave the club, had to start. They can only blame injuries for that one to a certain point. Laporte was not fit enough after returning from COVID-19 isolation, fair enough, but Stones’ muscle problem should not have affected them because they didn’t plan to have him in the squad this season anyway.

Maybe the inability to move him on has helped to explain why they wouldn’t pay Napoli’s asking price for Kalidou Koulibaly, and why Otamendi has had to be included in any deal for an alternative. Had Sevilla wanted Otamendi, then City would’ve signed Jules Kounde, but they didn’t, so the Argentinian is going to the more obliging Benfica, whose financial woes meant they couldn’t say no to a deal for Ruben Dias, a player City have looked at extensively in the past 18 months but was not near the top of their list this summer.

Fans should be heartened to know that they are still looking for a left-back, but that does not mean they will necessarily get one, as it is linked to Zinchenko’s future. The Ukrainian has several clubs on his trail and if one of them can agree a fee with City, Guardiola may be able to strengthen an area of the squad that has troubled the club ever since Alves’ late snub, which meant they couldn’t sign a second left-back.

That particular butterfly flapped its wings three summers ago and, on Sunday, three different City defenders gave away penalties. All after the midfield were bypassed too easily, City players flailing after surging runners, usually Harvey Barnes.

Walker, the least of City’s defensive worries on the day, gave away the first. Garcia, good in the first half, bad in the second and over-relied upon throughout, got caught out for the second.

Mendy somehow got the wrong side of James Maddison for Leicester’s third penalty to make it 5-2. But the thing is, even at 3-1 with 30 minutes to go, there was never a sense the home side would turn the game around. City had only just pulled a goal back to make it 4-2 when Mendy gifted Leicester another.

This was the first time anybody has put five past them but there have certainly been games like this before, when the whole thing implodes. When Leicester didn’t rely on penalties, they scored a cheeky backheel and a screamer, while City didn’t have much beyond Riyad Mahrez’s early thunderbolt. For all the defence’s issues, they barely created anything up front.

It was the kind of night when the cameras zoom in on Guardiola’s furrowed brow, and it might never have been more furrowed. Somehow, he was happier in his post-match press conference than he has been in any other media appearance this season, even after the two wins.

But he must be wondering what on earth is going on, and he’ll be the one charged with coming up with the answers to why this most talented group of players can look so ragged so regularly.

One of the more interesting elements of the game is that Guardiola made a very un-Guardiola-like substitution. So often reluctant to change the flow of a game, even with his side losing, and so reluctant to throw a youngster into the fray with the game even remotely in the balance, he brought off Fernandinho, the man who was splitting his time between shielding the defence and forming part of it, and throwing on 17-year-old striker Liam Delap.

It’s the kind of change most fans would have called out for, certainly in previous games, and City definitely needed a presence in the area given they like to put in so many crosses, so there is an element of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t”, but it’s fair to say the substitution backfired horribly. The score was still 1-1 when Delap was introduced in the 51st minute.

That can happen to any coach, and this may be heavy defeat talking, but the substitution doesn’t bode well, given Guardiola is the one who has to come up with the answers to all these questions.

He could well do that. He’s turned it around once, and with lesser resources. City have enough quality players (including those currently injured) to make us all forget that they could do with a few more signings, but even if not, City have enough money and contacts to do that business in the coming week. It could easily come together very quickly.

But as De Bruyne — not entirely blameless himself — spent the second half on Sunday shouting at half his team (Phil Foden about where to position himself in midfield, Rodri about where to stand in the wall and Garcia for his role in Vardy’s impudent second) it really did feel like different year, same stuff. And they will not learn.

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55 minutes ago, DDA said:

Got to feel for Scotty Parker. He's working with a team of Sunday League players. 

No worries mate, you just know we will somehow gift them points when the time comes, its what we do.

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12 minutes ago, Pizy said:

For the love of god can Liverpool please, PLEASE spank Arsenal here. Don't think I can take the Arteta wankathon if they win again.

I much rather arsenal win here.....fuck pool and the horse they rode in on. Arsenal is 1 or 2 injuries away from being average.

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15 minutes ago, Pizy said:

For the love of god can Liverpool please, PLEASE spank Arsenal here. Don't think I can take the Arteta wankathon if they win again.

Sadly Arteta is a tactically sound manager and I wouldnt be suprised if he beats Liverpool. He actually sets up his team tactically against the opposition.

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