Manuel Pellegrini got his tactics horribly wrong against Chelsea in yesterday's big match and as a consequence it left his side horribly exposed, especially on the left hand side, incidentally where Branislav Ivanovic slammed in the only goal of the game.
Without a doubt Aleksandar Kolarov was at fault for leaving his position so vacant, something he did repeatedly throughout the match. However, I believe Pellegrini was correct in picking Kolarov, he offers an attacking prowess and air of unpredictability City lacked without Sergio Aguero. But to leave him unprotected was foolish, a mistake that costed City dearly.
The fact Pellegrini chose Demichelis over the likes of Jack Rodwell and James Milner to replace the injured Fernandinho as a defensive midfielder, shows that he knew solidifying the defence was of paramount importance.
Nevertheless, playing Demichelis as one of only two central midfielders was a recipe for disaster. With Yaya Toure playing so advanced, and with Demichelis playing so deep City essentially formed a back five, whenever City lost the ball there were acres of space for Chelsea to engulf. They did this with aplomb, as evidenced by Eden Hazard who successfully pulled off an immeasurable tally of 11 dribbles; Nemanja Matic who ran the show in the middle successfully pulled off 3 dribbles.
Another reason why Man City needed an extra body was to link up the attack. Most teams play with a 3 man midfield to overcome the fact playing with two can leave you a man down in the build up play. City have been able to overcome this because they play with two playmakers on the wing: David Silva and Samir Nasri, ensuring they keep the ball just as well as a three man midfield can; but also because in Fernandinho and Yaya Toure, they boast two of the most all round midfielders the world has to offer and they are able to combine all their strengths: pace, stamina, power, tackling, passing, creativity and shooting, in a manner that allows them to dominate the middle.
Against Chelsea, two out of the four were missing. Their replacements, whilst good, force them to play another way. Whilst Navas had a good game, Demichelis slowed down the City attack because his attacking talents were not up to par.
However, as denoted from the 7 tackles he made, he served a purpose in the game, he just needed another body in the middle - preferably James Milner.
The player who should have been scarified for Milner is Alvaro Negredo. I am a big fan of the powerful forward, he is without a doubt a big reason why City are where they are this season, but he was just recovering from an injury and the fact he was taken off after a poor showing says it all. He lasted less than 60 minutes and in that time produced only 2 shots.
A player I remain more skeptical of is Dzeko. In yet another big match he has looked ponderous and unable to stay on the same wavelength as his team mates - his passing accuracy of 63% was by far the worst out of any outfield player. If he cannot buck up his ideas, he may be a transfer casualty in the summer if Stevan Jovetic can stay fit enough to displace Dzeko even further from the starting line up.