Wednesday’s smash and grab 2-1 victory away at Borussia Monchengladbach epitomised City’s Champions League story. Manuel Pellegrinni’s men were disjointed and looked vulnerable as the German Bundesliga side took the game to them, with Joe Hart making several crucial saves including a first half Raffael penalty.
The German side, who are currently fifth bottom in the Bundesliga, finally went ahead on 54 minutes when Lars Stindl side footed home, but Nicolas Otamendi’s volley pulled City level and the Manchester club stole all three points when Sergio Aguero won and converted a 89th minute penalty.
City’s Champions League history reads no better than last night’s performance. In their four previous Champions League seasons they have only made it through the group stages twice (2013-14 & 2014/15 season) and were then comfortably beaten, on both occasions, by Spanish giants Barcelona in the round of 16.
The 2011-12 Champions League season saw City finish third in a group that contained Bayern Munich, Italians Napoli and Spanish outfit Villareal. The following (2012-13) season was no better for the Manchester giants in Europe as they failed to register a single win and finished rock bottom behind Borussia Dortmund, Spanish Giants Real Madrid and Ajax, of the Netherlands, in group D.
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City currently occupy third place in group D of this season’s competition, three points off leaders Juventus, with last night’s victory against Monchengladbach and a 2-1 home defeat against Italian Champions Juventus to their name and Seville their next opponents.
But with their first two performances being under par, questions are yet again being asked about City’s European chances. So why do City have such a poor Champions League history? Why do they underperform in Europe with a squad brimming with world class talent?
City are now in their fifth consecutive Champions League campaign and can, therefore, have no excuses or claims of inexperience hampering their performance. They have had more than enough time to adjust to the demands of European football and the pressures it will provide.
I question whether City rely too much on their backbone of Joe Hart, captain Vincent Kompany, midfield genius David Silva and last night’s match winner Sergio Aguero. Hart has often kept them in games this season, including last night’s man of the match performance, and their defensive unit appears vulnerable without the leadership and organisation of the injured Kompany.
Silva is a match winner on his day but, when he is not at his attacking best, do City really penetrate the opposition? Aguero has an unfortunate knack of picking up injuries that usually rule him out for at least a month per season; City then have to rely on Wilfried Bony who has only two goals to his name and looks overpriced at £25million.
The two big money signings of Raheem Sterling and Kevin De Bruyne not only strengthened further an already world class squad, but it sent another statement of intent to the world of football. With City looking to regain the Premier League title and stamp their authority in Europe, it is time for their crop to come of age and finally make some head way in Europe’s elite club competition.
After all, there are now no more excuses for City, or Pellegrini.
— Titanbet (@TitanBet) September 30, 2015