Manuel Pellegrini made a somewhat surprising choice with his team selection for the game against Chelsea.
With Fernandinho injured for the crunch clash with Chelsea, Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini had a huge decision to make regarding his team selection. Javi Garcia was also unavailable, so who would partner Yaya Toure in the centre of midfield?
Not many expected the answer to be Martin Demichelis, and in many respectives he certainly wasn't the answer. Matija Nastasic returned in defence to partner Vincent Kompany and Demichelis was used as the protection for the back four. However the Argentinian hadn't particularly impressed in defence this season and had often looked susceptible to mistakes. On Monday night against Chelsea he stuck out like a sore thumb in the City side.
A defensive midfielder he is not. Let's compare his performance with David Luiz and Nemanja Matic for the opposition.
They played superbly tonight, controlling the game for Jose Mourinho's side. They were up and down the pitch through the middle, playing great through balls for the attackers, intercepting passages of play, and overall just keeping everything simple and calm.
They have great pace allowing them to marauder from their position whilst the other one covers. Demichelis doesn't have that pace, and didn't seem to have much of an understanding with Yaya Toure. Surely the more obvious choice for Pellegrini would have been to play James Milner in the middle.
Milner has always been someone you can rely on, especially on the big occasions. He has a lot of experience of matches like this, and is a solid, gutsy performer for both club and country. He is also possesses both defensive and attacking qualities, and could have inter-changed with Toure throughout the game. Instead Demichelis sat in front of the back four, but he didn't limit Chelsea's attacks, which were relentless.
Credit goes to Mourinho, he didn't shut up shop like many expected him too, and took the game to City. Chelsea had many chances, and hit the woodwork on three occasions. Their attacks needed to be stifled. Perhaps Jack Rodwell could have acted in this role, however he has had little game time for City since his move from Everton so it would have been tough to throw him in at the deep end, but then again, what's he there for?
If Pellegrini wanted Demichelis in the side then he should have played him in his familiar role of centre-back and pushed captain Kompany into the middle of midfield.
Vincent has played there before for Hamburg and would be great for this type of match. The captain is a great performer and in the middle of the park he could have provided the bite that City lacked. He would have cut out chances, and restricted Chelsea's movement.
image: © imbecillisalad