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Last night's game wasn't pretty from a Man City fan's perspective, we were outclassed and ran off the park by a superior team. There is no shame in admitting this about Dortmund, who many say put in the best away team performance ever seen at the Etihad.
First of all let's get down to business, the highlight's package for those who didn't manage to see the game.
Shaky, strange highlights package I know. We are only allowed to use you tube videos here at Sbnation.
We have to start here, unfortunately. Jack Rodwell came on for for the injured Garcia on 34 minutes and never looked comfortable on this occasion, playing against a quality of opposition he has rarely faced in his young career.
The pace of the game seemed too much, he was hesitant in possession; seemingly unsure what to do with the ball, and scared to death to give it away, This fear led to Rodwell's passing game regressing to his previous Everton-esque levels of caution.
Sideways the ball went, backwards the ball went. If memory serves me right there seemed to be only around 5 occasions that Rodwell passed the ball forwards. This had the knock-on effect of forcing upon Yaya Toure the sole responsibility of holding the midfield together in the face of wave after fleet footed wave of Dortmund counter attacks.
Rodwell is young, promising and does have a very big future in the game. But, boy oh boy does he need more experience and game time.
He needs to have a far higher panic threshold on the ball. He needs to be able to pass effectively and calmly under a pressing game. His game isn't there yet.
The old gang of Toure haters were out in small force on twitter again last night. They pointed to his over 100 attempted passes and only 1 in the oppositions final third as evidence of a poor performance. This accusation missed the point of what job Toure was asked to do last night.
Toure was asked to do a very different job than we sometimes see him undertake against weaker opposition. Last night the Ivorian was asked was asked to hold the midfield together, to play deep and give the ball off to Silva and Nasri once they dropped deep to start attacks. His job was not to be the creator in the final third.
I thought that this was exactly the position we needed to deploy Toure in during the fraught moments of Man City's trip to the Bernabau. As it was, Toure was far more effective playing higher up the field and running at the Madrid defense. In fact, last night, what City really needed was two Toure's, both of them called Yaya, one to play deep and keep the ball and be a calming influence an the other to be the rampaging, physical wrecking ball who destroys the opposition.
Mancini chose to deploy the defensive option for Toure last night, and it didn't work. Even a man so magnificent as Toure-probably the world's best all-round midfielder-can't hold back the tide of opposition attacks when all else is crumbling around him.
I'll defend him also, by saying that Toure seemed to be limping at around 48 minutes on the clock and never looked the same player afterwards. Still, it wasn't his greatest night. Expect him to be deployed higher up the pitch in the away leg v Dortmund.
Not much more can be written that hasn't already been written today. We know he is an excellent keeper, we know he has this type performance in him if called upon. It was a shame we required Joe Hart to remind us that he is probably among the best goalkeepers in the world. The best? Nearly, I would give that title to Neuer of Bayern Munich.
It was a stunning exhibition from Joe, at least up there and potentially surpassing his breakout performance away at Spurs in 2010/11.
Barry, Milner, Tevez and Balotelli. Just four names that didn't feature or in Balotelli's case, only gained ten or so minutes to prove his worth. How much could these players have has an effect upon the run of last night's play is impossible to know. But I have some thought's on this.
I think Mancini got his team horribly wrong against Dortmund.
Man City were over-run in midfield. Could Barry have helped? Barry is one of our better midfielders, a player who appears to be greater than the sum of his apparently limited parts, especially when viewed live and in the flesh. His left foot would have provided balanced to an overworked midfield 2 last night.
Some will say his pace is a problem, but his anticipation, positioning and an ability to keep the flow of possession would have been a vital commodity against Dortmund. As it was, he wasn't quite fit enough, or, he was deemed to be surplus to last night's requirements.
Balotelli and Tevez were both left on the bench last night. Balotelli for tactical reasons and Tevez for a rumoured fitness reason. Both players, in hindsight would have been better attacking options than the ineffective Dzeko. Balotelli may have held the ball up more effectively and Tevez may have set a better work rate and tone with his tireless work rate.
Milner was missing for the 5th consecutive important game. A fall out with the boss? Injury, or a crisis of form may be the reason keeping him out of the line-up. However, his industry, tireless engine and ability to stay wide could of helped the cause last night.
Dortmund, last night, attacked in numbers and generally from wide positions. How were they able to be so effective? Three reasons.
Man City play with very high fullbacks, who are essential to the whole attacking system that Man City employ. The problem with this system is that it can leave huge gaps to be exploited by a strong, quick and technically proficient counter-attacking team.
Man City don't play those types of teams very often, but they did last night and Dortmund exposed the gaps at the back.
Once the ball is turned over by Man City high up the field, these full backs are caught too far up field with only the defensive midfielders and center backs as cover. As seen last night, these players were not enough cover against such potent Dortmund attacks.
If the full backs were part of the problem last night, then Man City's system of off/inverted wingers doesn't help the cause either. Neither Silva nor Nasri will ever be accused of being helpful in defensive situations but both are willing to help out.
The reasons those two players were of little help last night was due to the fact that both players are playing on the wrong wings. these players like to cut inside, cause havoc for the opposition and roam and thus create scoring chances. Again, when man City lost the ball in the opposition's final third not only were the aforementioned full backs too high up the field, but the wingers who occasionally cover for such players were already tucked inside as Man City's attacking system allows and requires them to do. This works in the PL, but not in the CL.
The quality of opposition Man City face in the CL is the reason that this system doesn't work. CL teams have the tactical experience and quality of personnel to cause problems for Man City that the Blues just don't see in PL games.
There is no great reason for Man City's woes in Europe, for me it is quite simple. Man City can only play one way and this method dominates the PL teams, we are too good for them. But in the CL, we are facing better players and excellent managers such as Jurgen Klopp who have the ability to be patient and pick holes in the slightly flawed Man City system.
Is there a solution to the problems City are facing in Europe? Yes, we must play a different style, a more cautious patient style and we will only do this and thus maybe gain better results in Europe once Mancini and his staff realize this: what works wonderfully well in the PL does not and probably will not work in the CL.
Slight tweaks and minor changes to the tactical set-up may yield results, a realization that possession isn't everything and can be conceded to an extent if solidify's the team shape. This process may take longer to implement and bear fruit than can be afforded when talking of this year's CL.
6 points from Ajax is the minimum requirement. That should leave City with 7 points through 4 games, with Dortmund potentially being on 5 points after the home and away fixtures vs Madrid.