Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SUBS STAR IN GREAT ESCAPE ; Stuttering City's Blushes Are Spared by Impressive Cameo Appearances from Silva and Nasri - and Birthday Boy Milner's First Brace for Blues

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

SUBS STAR IN GREAT ESCAPE ; Stuttering City's Blushes Are Spared by Impressive Cameo Appearances from Silva and Nasri - and Birthday Boy Milner's First Brace for Blues

Article excerpt

MATCH ANALYSIS CITY 2 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY 1 THE cavalry, in the form of thoroughbred stallions David Silva and Samir Nasri, came to City's FA Cup rescue again.

The Blues had spluttered and misfired for an hour before Manuel Pellegrini called on his two attacking geniuses - and birthday boy James Milner came up with two late goals.

Milner deserves great credit for netting his first City brace, but in truth it was only the arrival of Silva and Nasri that saw off a brave Wednesday performance.

It has become a common theme for City - last season they brought on Pablo Zabaleta and Vincent Kompany at halftime to turn round a 2- 0 deficit against Watford, and Silva was invited to rescue them against Wigan in the quarter-finals, unsuccessfully.

It happened again - and the poverty of City without Sergio Aguero, Silva and Nasri was laid bare. This is a squad that needs strengthening.

It is always a dilemma for a manager when it comes to team selection for a game like this, not least when it comes at the end of a hectic Christmas programme.

City simply do not have the depth of squad to make massive changes and still put out a team that will dominate.

Pellegrini found out last season that in England, a cup tie against a team from the division below is not a gimme, as his first venture in the FA Cup came to an abrupt end at the hands of Championship club Wigan.

It will not have escaped his memory that the Latics had been dismissed 5-0 in the League Cup a few months earlier, yet still turned up at the Etihad bright, sharp and hungry for a giant- killing.

Wednesday, who shipped seven secondhalf goals after a bold first- half display in the League Cup meeting in September, were exactly the same.

And Pellegrini's team was a hotch-potch affair. They had Dedryck Boyata stepping in to form an unfamiliar partnership with Eliaquim Mangala, and full-backs Aleks Kolarov and Bacary Sagna, neither of whom have covered themselves in glory this season.

And without the twinkling talents of Silva and Nasri in the starting line-up, the pressure on the Wednesday defence was minimal.

To top it all, Pellegrini chose Stevan Jovetic as a lone striker, when he clearly does not like the role. He spent much of the first half dropping deep, looking for the ball and then unsuccessfully trying to one-two his way through a resolute and crowded defence.

With Jesus Navas using his pace wastefully on one side, and Milner lacking guile and control on the other, the Blues were all over the place in the opening 45 minutes. Yaya Toure is usually the go-to man, but he often appears unmotivated in games like these.

He is a brilliant biggame player, but can go on auto-pilot in matches City are expected to win.

It did not take Wednesday long to sense that City were operating way below their best, and to realise that not only were they containable, but also beatable. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.