Sunday, November 22, 2009

Not ambition enough?

Following yesterday's draw at Anfield in a game widely labelled as laying a marker down for fourth place, it is ourselves rather than Liverpool who have attracted the most criticism.

Or more accurately, Mark Hughes has.

Given the absences from Liverpool's side in addition to their recent travails on the pitch, there appears to be opinion that the approach to the game was not sufficiently attacking enough for a side with lofty ambitions.

Andy Hunter at

Manchester City should seek a placenta cure for their lack of ambition when they next visit the besieged Belgrade home of Mariana Kovacevic. A point at Anfield is no disgrace, as Mark Hughes mentioned once or twice afterwards, and but for the deflection that aided Liverpool's equaliser, his game-plan could have yielded a victory of renewed intent. Even with mitigation, however, this was a glorious opportunity wasted by City.
And Phil McNulty in his piece for BBC sport:

The expensive symbols of their desire to dismantle the Premier League's established order were dotted all over Anfield in a meeting with Liverpool that was custom made to measure the scale of Manchester City's threat this season.

Instead, confronted by a Liverpool team short on confidence and shorn of key personnel before and during the game, City's negativity betrayed a lack of conviction that raises serious questions about their ability to muscle in on the top four.

Of course yesterday was a(nother) frustrating afternoon, an impressive second half performance not rewarded with the three points due to a(nother) defensive lapse.

In isolation though, a point at Anfield is a good return. The difficulty of course is that the draw was our sixth in succession, building up the level of frustration as opportunities to cement a place in the top four slip by.

We were too cautious in the first-half, but this was hardly helped by the disjointed start to the game with the stream of injuries. Whilst the introduction of Tevez was not made until we went a goal down, most sides would have been happy at 1-0 for far longer than the hour mark.

And it is easy to forget that the tactical and personnel change that was made resulted in us taking a 2-1 lead, only for it to be thrown away with some poor defending - not as a result of any lack of ambition.

Fine margins usually separate football matches (unless you're Wigan), and if we hadn't allowed an avoidable equaliser, instead coming away with a win from Anfield would the reports have suggested Hughes had played it exactly right?

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

Agree up to a point Danny but the fact is that once we started attacking Liverpool in earnest after going behind we scored twice and utterly dominated the game. Can't help thinking there is something wrong with our tactics and Hughes has to carry the can for that. I get the feeling that if he was playing blackjack he would constantly be looking to stick on 15. This game, like so many before it, was there for the taking and again we failed to capitalise. I think that a more offensive approach would yield better dividends as the likelihood is that we will score than the opposition more often than not, given the personnel at our disposal. Becoming very concerned with Barry's form - another shocker I thought.

Anonymous said...

Barry seems to be affected by the crowd, in response to the above comment, Villa, Brum, L'Pool he was ineffective.

I too sm dissapointed with the lapses and another draw, we are never going to have a better chance to win at Anfield. What was most fustrating is that it took L'Pool to score to wake us up and start attacking, if we had begun with that response it would have been a comfortable win.

Wigan Blue said...

Can't believe the number of people who see it as a good result. For 30 minutes in the second half we were slicing through their defence like a knife through butter. Scousers are all breathing a great sigh of relief - they can't believe we didn't go for it from the start.

As it is, we've continued our dismal run, and kick-started one of our big rival's fight-backs. And yet everything went according to plan as far as MH is concerned (except that he blamed his defence again, and defended his tactics - again). "Earth calling Mark Hughes..."