Manchester City crashed out of the Champions League, losing 3-1 on aggregate to Barcelona.
The 90 minutes in the second-leg tonight was a weird affair. Despite City needing an obtainable two goals, Manuel Pellegrini’s side never really got out of first gear and you could almost sense that they didn’t believe they could overcome the footballing superstars of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez – to name just three.
Ivan Rakitic’s well-taken lob – wonderfully set-up by Messi – was enough to kill off City and ensure that no second-leg fightback would materialise from the defending Premier League champions.
Man City’s defeat tonight means it is just three wins in all competitions from the last 11 games for the Citizens.
With just the Premier League title to play for now – even that might be unachievable given that Chelsea have a game in hand – Pellegrini must rally his boys and salvage a season that promised so much more.
Anyway, here is what we’ve learnt from tonight’s clash.
The Manchester City shot-stopper continues to divide opinion over whether he is, in the words of Harry Redknapp, “top, top quality”. However, after his huge penalty save from none other than Lionel Messi in the first-leg, the England international put in another impressive performance at the Nou Camp.
Hart continued to make himself big and thwart the likes of Messi, Suarez and Neymar time and time again over the course of the 90 minutes. One of the few City players – perhaps the only(?) – who can hold his head high.
From the big midfielder’s birthday cake strop to Man City struggling to cope without him during his time away with Ivory Coast at the African Cup of Nations, you just don’t know which Yaya Toure you will get. And, you know what? Enough is enough. City need a reliable player in the middle of the park, sure, there may not be someone as talented and as imperious as the former Barcelona man but his up and down performances are hindering Manuel Pellegrini’s team. Time to sell and freshen things up.
Manchester City’s inevitable exit tonight at the hands of Barcelona compounded a miserable Champions League campaign for all four Premier League clubs involved.
Liverpool were embarrassed in the group stages, whilst Chelsea crashed out to 10-men and Arsenal lost arguably the easiest tie of the lot.
What is wrong with a league that has given us treble winners, invincibles and some of football’s greatest moments ever?