Sunday, April 12, 2009

Man City loses 3-1 to Fulham

With a clear-cut opportunity to make a run for a Europa League berth, Mark Hughes decided to prioritize next Thursdays UEFA Cup clash against Hamburg and rest a number of his typical starting eleven. The calculated risk was a roll of the dice that did not work out as Fulham trampled City 3-1 at Eastlands that left many supporters calling for the managers job.

Already without the services of Craig Bellamy, Benjani Mwaruwari, Vincent Kompany and Shaun Wright-Phillips, the manager elected to keep Robinho out of the starting eleven. Equally, while this seems to be little historical concern of City, Valeri Bojinov and Martin Petrov were pressed into action and while both have done well in the recovery from injury, they need considerable more time or risk significant injury.

That aside City took the lead on an absolute dreadful piece of defending. As Stephen Ireland took control the ball deep within his own end he was left unchallenged by Fulham's defenders who provided him roughly ten metres cushion for much of his run before sending the ball over 'keeper Mark Schwarzer from the edge of the area. Whilst the goal certainly was noteworthy, it was a deplorable example of defending and will likely have Roy Hodgson incensed. The highlight of the opening half came seventeen minutes later as referee Mark Halsey thankfully whistled for the ordeal to go the break. With Fulham's horrible display of defending behind them, Man City raised the bid with a series of their own pathetic miscues. Five minutes into the half Pablo Zabaleta provided Clint Dempsey the ball, only to be sent to the back of the net. Not to be outdone nine minutes later Dickson Etuhu provided Fulham the lead as he drove the ball in from eighteen metres with once again City's defenders deciding to the take Easter Sunday off and simply being unable to properly clear a ball. With the striking trio of Ched Evans, Robinho and Daniel Sturridge on the pitch, City went searching for the leveler but vision was lacking and the output was minimal. Finally with a minute remaining Clint Dempsey added the third from Bobby Zamora's provision to bring the match and City's foul performance to a 3-1 conclusion.