As a columnist, it’s not often that I’m left without words yet I am still struggling with how to start digesting last weekend’s 5-4 defeat by Liverpool.
What is easy is to analyse is where the game was lost. When you score four goals and come away with nothing, questions need to be asked defensively.
I can understand Alex Neil giving Timm Klose time to settle in but — despite his post-match attempt of a justification — Neil got it spectacularly wrong dropping Ryan Bennett and moving Russell Martin into the middle.
Admittedly we’d conceded six goals in the previous two games, but Bennett’s pairing with Sebastien Bassong had yielded just two in the previous five home league matches (including three clean sheets).
However, more interesting was Steven Naismith’s comments about a lack of communication, made after City conceded two goals minutes after scoring.
Leadership was a problem discussed as we were relegated in 2014 and again during last season’s poor form. With the core of the team largely the same, do we have to question whether a mental vulnerability still hangs over the club?
Granted leaders such as Alex Tettey and Gary O’Neil were missing, but City have still failed to win when falling behind this season — a record that stretches to the last 32 times we have fallen behind in the Premier League (November 2013 and a 3-1 victory versus West Ham).
Naismith’s performance was a cause for optimism and with his battling qualities, he could be that leader we so require.
Wes Hoolahan often gets criticised for being a ‘luxury player’ — a label which is nonsense. He has been directly involved in 10 of City’s 28 goals (3 goals, 7 assists), a total of 35.7 per cent. Pretty important, I would say.