Comment: Only City...

Last updated : 13 January 2005 By Marc Higginson
It is harsh to criticise Richard Dunne for his mistake yesterday because he has been one of our best players over the last 18 months but he was too generous with his Christmas presents this year!

And the game should have been sewn up well before Robert ‘Shrek’ Earnshaw chased down a punt forward that was in hope rather than expectation.

It is inconceivable that we can play bottom of the league at home, 2 days after they were stuffed 5-0 at home by Liverpool, see them reduced to 10 men, and have 10 shots on target to their none and yet still clinch a point!

I think the problems lie in midfield. The defence has looked reasonably solid all season, the attack has looked sharp enough to capitalise on any chances that fall their way but the midfield is about as productive as a day out at Old Trafford when it comes to creating chances.

Paul Bosvelt has been superb in front of the defence all season but the other 3, more attacking, midfielders have been misfiring in the last 4 or 5 games. Shaun Wright-Phillips is wasted in the middle and should be left to flying down the wing and leaving full backs contemplating a change of career while Antoine Sibierski couldn’t beat an egg, never mind a full-back and isn’t our answer on the left flank.

Joey Barton is important to us when he isn’t auditioning for a role in the next Hamlet adverts but his passing needs plenty of work. We are short of a left winger and a creative midfielder who can break down the teams that come to Eastlands looking for a point. We had that in Berkovic and Benarbia but we now need to look into the future and not the past.

Another problem we have is our lack of height. There is only Sibierski in our front 6 who can consistently win the ball in the air and this leaves us with very few options at corners and free-kicks. It's no wonder that Fowler’s goal at Everton was our first headed strike of the season!

One player who wouldn’t cost the Earth but would cure our left-sided problems is QPR winger Lee Cook. He is an out-and-out winger in the Peter Beagrie mould that would take away some of the pressure from Shaun.

Overall though, it is easy to be critical and there are many positives at the club as we approach the New Year. A trip to Cardiff in May for starters!!

Finally, I hate talking about Salford’s finest, but how did Rooney not get sent off for forcing his hand into Tal Ben Haim’s face? The rules are there for all to see, yet Fergie still defends him. In the words of Chris Kamara…‘Unbelievable’. (Ed-Rooney has been charged with violent conduct today though, and can expect at least a 3-match seems there is some justice, after all.)