That’s the most painful but apt word to describe the performance of our Men In Red.
Roy Hodgson faced a situation where he couldn’t play Mascherano because the latter chose to see through his transfer negotiations and no longer want to get involved in the Red Shirt anymore.
So Roy put out an adventurous 4-4-2 formation with Torres & Ngog upfront while Lucas and Gerrard manned the midfield with Kuyt and Jovanovic at the wings. Johnson, Skrtel, Carragher and Agger completed the back four with Reina in goal.
There was so much enthusiasim despite Mascherano’s absence. But we were soon to feel the effect when the crowded but hard-working Man City midfield neutralized everything we did. There was so little supply to Ngog & Torres. And whatever ball lifted over the midfield cover was expertly dealt by Kolo Toure who really had Ngog in his pocket.
Soon Man City were to turn on their class and Adam Johnson at right wing was to give Agger a torrid time. And it was from this side that Man City’s first goal was fashioned… a simple tap in for an unmarked Barry after some loose marking by us.
What followed was a horror show as we struggled to string our passes. Easily intercepted and well initiated plays by Tevez who excelled in his role as the lone target man soon sent us on the back foot. It was a wonder we did not concede further. All we could offer were tame shots that hardly troubled Joe Hart.
0-1 down at the break, but we did pounce on the Man City goal when play resumed and exerted pressure unseen in the first half. Torres had a shot that whizzed past the post.
As we rued the missed opportunity to equalize… we were soon punished at a corner kick. A header well won by Richards directed towards Tevez right in front of Reina. No chance for our keeper.. 0-2 down to Man City.
In what would be a pivotal moment to follow.. Gerrard had his shot hit the post.. bounce of the keeper.. pounced on by Kuyt who passed to Jova. The Serb then laid it on a platter for Ngog whose shot was parried by Hart.. then Torres followed up on the rebound but could only see his shot saved by the undoubted England No 1 !!
The gloom was further dampened when Skrtel conceded a penalty, which was converted by Tevez. 0-3 down and it was just a matter of keeping things respactable for us.
Babel entered for a subdued Torres who was best protected with the raging rain pouring down. Our Dutchman even had a shot, again saved by the England No 1 !! Pacheco was to even get a cameo in place of Jova in the dying minutes…
So a bad 0-3 loss it ended.. again, indicating much work for Roy and his team..
At least we have good chance to redeem ourselves in 3 days in a classic European tie in Turkey… Don’t give up on our Red Men yet.. It’s just a moment to lick our wounds and get on with the next game… the season is still young.