This season, and ever: Manchester City, with only 3 points from six matches in the “group of death” delivered the worst performance by an English team in the history of the group stage in the Champions League.
This season, once again, they won’t be the only team, probably, not to make it out of the group. Last season, in somewhat of another group of death, it was excusable. Champions in England, but a first run in the UCL, even for a bunch of players who most of them have been in the competition before, is always harsh.
But they were much more competitive last year than this one: Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal. City finished third in that group with 10 points, missing the qualification by only one point. They didn’t look as bad as they did last year. To help them feel comfortable in their exit, Manchester United messed up an easy group, and both teams went on to the Europa League.
This year? Chelsea are likely to be their partners. The European champions are third in their group behind Juventus and Shakhtar; Chelsea are two points behind Juve, who play in Donetsk with a chance to claim the top spot in the group from the Ukrainians (Brazilian is more like it actually). Still, no one will be surprised if a draw is “agreed” upon between the two group leaders, while Chelsea’s match vs the Danish champions won’t have any meaning.
City did much worse, finishing fourth in their group. Not just fourth, but they failed to win a single match, even drawing at home with Ajax. They lost all of their away matches, and looked especially bad in their two encounters with Dortmund. Joe Hart is probably the only player who has something to feel good about from their nightmarish campaign.
We have let ourselves down. We need to be winning. I think Borussia and Real Madrid have done fantastic but we should be fighting until the last day to be in the competition and we weren’t. We should have been in their position and we weren’t. We’ve only got ourselves to blame.
Whether it says something about the players and the quality of the squad, or maybe about their manager, Roberto Mancini, it doesn’t really matter. Not making it out of the group of death can be excusable, but it depends on how you go down. City brought no pride to the league they’re coming from and most of all themselves by not being even remotely close to playing a factor in this group.