Manchester City this week continued their poor form in the Champions League, leading to further questions over just what the reason could be behind their difference in performance in the Premier League, compared to in Europe.
Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with CSKA Moscow saw Pellegrini’s men take a comfortable two goal lead, and look in total control. But the Russian’s came back into the game and managed to equalise in injury time at the end of the game. The failure to see off games when they get the opportunity is nothing new to City, and the latest draw comes on the back of what is now years of under-achieving.
Almost inexplicably, the Citizens have now gone five Champions League matches without victory – two of those clashes were last season against Barcelona (defeats both home and away), while a loss to Bayern this year in the opening group match, and a home draw with Roma, were not results that befit Champions League trophy contenders.
The bad form goes further back even – at home – so long a fortress in the Premier League, Man City have won only two games from the last eight, winning only against CSKA Moscow and Victoria Plzen.
But what could be the reason behind such poor form in Europe, on a consistent basis, and their title challenge domestically each year? Players like Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and Vincent Kompany compete successfully at international level, and have experience in Europe’s top competition – It would be hard to see them being a weak link if they moved to Bayern or Real Madrid, yet together, it is not working for City.
Whatever the reason for their Champions League no-shows, it’s do or die time again in Group E – Man City are in third place, two points behind Roma, but with the Giallorossi taking a thumping at home to Bayern on Tuesday, City will need to get three points over CSKA, and then get an important win at the Olimpico in Rome.