The 09-10 season started with much fanfare for Manchester City as they won five of their initial six Premier League matches. But now it seems that Hugh’s men have lost their way somewhere in between having been pushed eight points adrift league leaders Chelsea.
Draws in last five matches (Aston Villa, Wigan, Fulham, Birmingham and Burnley) have raised serious questions over City’s ability to break into the coveted Big 4.
So where is City lacking? It’s certainly not talent because they have an immaculate squad. Going by the magnitude of cash they have spent this transfer window it will be only foolish to say that they are deficient in quality. The spending spree has resulted in a squad that has left other manager envying. So where exactly are they going wrong?
Defence, to start with has looked wobbly as ever. Agreed that City do boasts of some of the big names in their defending ranks but they seem to lack co-ordination. Micah Richards for example has deteriorated so much that he hardly deserves the tag of a Premier League player. No wonder he is nowhere near the radar of Fabio Capello.
Wayne Bridge too hasn’t lived upto his £10 million tag since his arrival from Chelsea. His horrible man-marking costed City the second against Burnley. Bridge was supposed to patrol the left back area but was left in no man’s land as ball fell to Chris Eagles whose crisp cross was met by Fletcher who timed his run to perfection.
City’s porous backline has been exposed numerous times by teams whose payroll is no match to theirs. A backline which was once rock solid by presence of a certain Richard Dunne. What say Sparky?
Midfield too looks fairly unsettled. City spent millions on Gareth Barry but visibly Barry looks very much out-of-the-place in Hugh’s midfield than in Capello’s or even for that matter Martin O’Neill’s midfield. The link-up play and creativity looks ever so absent with City relying too much on long balls and counter attacks to build any kind of forward surge.
Add to this the recently cropped up speculations about Robinho. The player whose move to Eastlands caught entire footballing world’s attention is seeking a move away to the Barcelona. This certainly won’t leave a good taste in Mark Hugh’s mouth. If ever this move materializes then all that jibes about attracting world class players to the blue half of Manchester will only fizz off.
All I can say right now is that Hugh clearly has some important decisions to make and that too fast! He has to somehow save his side’s crippling campaign.
For if not getting sacked isn’t that distant a possibility for the former Blackburn boss.