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Discussion Starter #1
A rescheduled match due to their inability to keep a pitch from freezing despite being in the 21st century. SWP is ridiculously suspended for 3 games, and Dunne is still missing. They have Paul Hart in charge FFS and leak goals like a seive. We should by all rights win this one before a trickey European tie. Hopefully after his midweek performance on the right for Brazil Elano will come in for SWP.

-----------------Given
Richards---Onuoha---Kompany---Bridge
----------Zabaleta---De Jong
Elano-----------Ireland-------Robinho
---------------Bellamy

Subs: Hart, Garrido, Fernandes, Weiss, Vassell, Caicedo, Evans.
 

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I'd swap Ireland and Elano round. I think Elano is at his best in the centre, and he can link up with Robinho more. I also think that Ireland's pace will be of more use on the right. Hopefully this will be the game that turns around our away form. I don't understand it at all. We seem to have the players to play a perfect game away from home, but we're completely useless.
 

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Given pompey turmoil I predict an easy City win.

Now, an easy question comes into my mind: Elano was outstanding for you last season and also had a good start this year so i don't know why he is not a lock into the starting XI.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Because Hughes uses him wrong. He tried turning him into Tugay when he doesn't excel playing deep. He's suffered because of Ireland's form really as they both can't play in this formation.

Also did you know we've not won since August away from home? That's ridiculous.
 

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I really like that starting XI. I'm looking forward to watch City tomorrow. These Elano-Ireland-Robinho partnering Bellamy, look amazing. Now I feel you may need a greater striker for the upcoming years.
Also, how is de Jong doing? Has he added the much needed stability to the squad? DM is a crucial position (talk me 'bout it :rollani:) for any team.


I feel sorry for Pompey. I really liked them last season and even more when Adams was in charge during this season, but losing so many key players is just too dangerous and now they are suffering an awful form.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
De Jong has been steady rather than spectacular. He's allowed Kompany to move to centre-back and we haven't missed his presence there due to De Jong doing a similar job.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
****'s sake. I should be used to this as a City fan, but it's like we're a benevolent society. I'm honestly surprised we didn't lose to Middlesbrough last week, as whenever a team is in poor form we step forward to give them a much needed win. See West Brom, Stoke and now Portsmouth. If we have serious aspirations to even get into the UEFA Cup these are the games we should win. Everton and Aston Villa would not have lost this match, and that's where the difference is. We have not won away from home since August, save that marvellous UEFA Cup win against Schalke where we thought we'd kickstarted our season, and for a manager renowned for grinding out results in difficult games, that is a pathetic performance.

I seriously don't know how Hughes can continue to be backed by Mansour and al-Mubarek. I know they want to appear coy and patient rather than be the new Jesus Gil, but under Hughes we have gone backwards. If Sven is available we should get him back. He'd work wonders with this squad, and never should have been sacked. Hughes cannot cut it at a big club. I know people will say be patient and so on, but I cannot think of one game where we've managed to grind out a result against tenacious and difficult opponents. Our home form is the only thing keeping us competitive in this league, and I cannot see away performances improving with trips to Old Trafford, the Emirates and Anfield. In games we fallen behind we have clawed back a pitiful 2 points. It is not hard to see where our problems lie. Too many stupid goals conceded, which we have attempted to address with the signings of Bridge (at fault for 3 goals already since signing) and Given, but having the players there isn't the only issue. Dunne, Richards and Hart were part of one of the best defences in the Premiership last season, and yet with the same core of players (swapping Corluka for a just as good Zabaleta and an improvement on Hamann in Kompany) we look much worse at the back. The organisation isn't there, and frankly the responsibility must fall at the manager's feet.

The other problem is breaking teams down. Last season Elano was our best player. This season he's been phased out despite being the most creative midfielder we have. If we cannot break teams down, why is he not even playing? All too often Hughes has been too cautious after falling behind. De Jong or Zabaleta should have come off at half time against 10 man Stoke, but it took until the 70th minute to make an attacking substitution. Until he realises we need to go for the jugular immediately we will be a soft touch against sides who defend well.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
tino, Logan was average really. Nothing outstanding but hardly at fault for any goals. He didn't look out of his depth. I'd personally have played Fernandes in midfield though and moved Zabaleta to right back, as Logan is even more attack minded than Zab
 

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Thanks for the info TGO and top post ^^

I appreciate the owners willingness to be "patient" and not sack the manager after a couple losses...but this is getting ridiculous. Not only are we not winning the games we should, but we're not even looking like a team who will do so in the future. The tactics are all wrong and I wouldn't even know where to begin to figure out what Hughes is trying to do.
 

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The irritating thing for me is our sudden inability to break teams down. We absolutely ripped teams to pieces in the first half of the season, and while it was exciting, I was saying back then that we really should sacrifice that attacking flair for a more defensive style, which is hard to break down, even if it meant fairly boring football until next season. That way, each player knows his defensive responsibilities before he's allowed to go off on one. It's what Jose did at Chelsea and Rafa did at Liverpool (and even Moyes and O'Neill have done) with great success. Actually, Sven did that last season. We were a counter-attacking side last year. We seem to have sacrificed the attacking football, but have still completely failed to organise the back 4.

I've got to agree with you TGO, it has to be the manager's responsibility. Set pieces have been a problem all year. The defence has constantly looked exposed, in part because the players in front of them aren't able to play possession football yet and lose it a lot, but more importantly, because they don't seem to know where they should be when they do lose it. On paper, we have one of the best back lines in the league, and one of the best DMs I've seen covering them (I think De Jong looks excellent btw). There aren't many of our players I would swap for someone else outside of the top 4. But it's telling that probably the best young defender in England is completely lacking in confidence, and has failed to be selected for the England squad. And it's more confusing that anything else. Nobody can deny that pretty much every signing Hughes has made has been excellent. And nobody can deny that his Blackburn side was one of the most difficult to score against in the league. If it wasn't for these two facts, I would've completely lost faith in his ability to turn things round before the end of the season. Maybe it was because of the limitations of the attacking players he had at Blackburn (no offence), that he was forced to build from the back. At Man City, he's come in to a team with loads of flair and attacking talent, and he's failed to put the structure and discipline of the team in place first. Even if it means shouting at Robinho for not being in the right position to defend at a particular time.

We have the players to defend well, so it's up to Hughes to sort if out. We should be a perfect counter-attacking team. Better than Villa in fact. So let's use these difficult away games to organise the team defensively, and hit them on the break with the pace of Bellamy, Robinho, SWP and Ireland, along with Elano's long passes. But first you've got the defend the set piece that gives you the counter-attacking opportunity. They're all Hughes' players now, so there is absolutely no excuse between now and the end of the season.
 
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