Sunday, December 21, 2008

West Brom 2 Manchester City 1

West Brom 2 Manchester City 1

Sunday December 21, 2008, 1.30pm
The Hawthorns - Att: 25, 010

Unsurprisingly, the message boards have been on fire following today's defeat and Mark Hughes has now been installed as the favourite (odds on to boot) to be the next Premier League manager to lose his job. Hughes however has stated that he expects to stay and has been given the green light as regards squad additions in January, which would suggest he will see the season out at least.

The difficulty now though is that with Paul Ince fired, the media speculation will all be about Hughes and it is inconceivable that this is not going to affect the team - particularly if reports regarding the splits within the squad are to be believed.

The 4-4-2 line-up that Hughes opted for today was perhaps him returning more to his trusted principles, and it did give us a more compact and tidy look yet we still lacked a really cutting edge and with a defensive central midfield of Gelson and Kompany, our creativity and spark always came from out wide and this was nullified by a lack of presence in the box.

Whilst Vassell and Benjani turned in performances that were amongst their better ones, it was more industry than anything else and the introduction of Caicedo at least saw a forward with some purpose and direction.

Hughes bemoaned individual errors once again, and Richards and Dunne's lack of consistency is a real issue now. Either a central defender of real quality needs to be added, or at least the hope is Diarra's arrival will allow Kompany to move into defence.

After getting a late equaliser, to lose so in that manner was so disappointing. Neither side probably did enough to deserve to win the game but given the lack of confidence and form that West Brom had coming into the game, to drop all three points against them does not auger well ahead of a potentially tricky pair of games to round out the year.

Most of the talk will now of course be regarding Hughes's future and there is no doubt he is under pressure, but lest we forget it hasn't just been this season that we have performed miserably - 2008 as a whole has been our annus horribulus.

The difficulty in sacking Hughes is that once again we will back to square one, hunting for a new manager, who will want his own staff, players and style - all of which will take time. This does not however mean he stay in the job solely for those reasons. The adage of being too good to go down is often used, but the way the league is shaping up this season means we can easily climb the table (a win today would have seen us move up to twelfth).

The danger we do have though is if our recent form is as a result of the cracks in the foundations of the Hughes regime, these could get bigger and bigger until the season is well and truly in a great deal of trouble.

Hughes is still the right man, but the questions are growing by the game.

Some quick thoughts
  • With talk of factions within the squad, and an abject display in Santander, has Elano played his last game at the club (under Hughes at least)?
  • How miraculous was Benjani's recoveryfor the game given he was expected to miss the remainder of this year?
  • The Observer suggests that Gigi Buffon will arrive in January, on a weekly wage of £225,000 per week.
  • Hughes's BBC interview does suggest he will be bringing 'immediate impact' players.

vote it up!


Anonymous said...

goalkeeper is the least of the squads worries at the moment now I'm afraid. The entire defense sans right back needs replacing

Anonymous said...

Its a joke hughes has to go i am not 1 to call for managers heads and its obvious are team needs to be made stronger in certain places but the players he has got there he is not motivatin u look at him in the sideline he looks lost and most importantly our team is not doin basics right like keepin there shape or knowin what goal side is, im sorry for me he has to go and there is players that have to go too that rnt good enough and dont care enough, i feel sorry for players like zabaleta and kompany who are playin well its a joke. Mr cook im very sorry but the typical city tag you are keen to shed us of sadly lives on we will probably end up being the richest club in the world in the championship as would be TYPICAL city we will have to wait and see come on you blues CTID.