It wasn’t that long ago that the Etihad Stadium was as close to a fortress as there was in England, where a match almost guaranteed a pair of goals from Manchester City and misery for the opposition.
And it’s been less than a year since City manager Manuel Pellegrini was talking up the possibilities of a quadruple — titles in the UEFA Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup — before walking away with just the PL trophy.
Fast forward to Sunday, and the Etihad has played host to a pair of City losses. The first, a 2-0 decision to Arsenal, sent City five points back of Chelsea in a quest for back-to-back English titles.
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The second, Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Middlesbrough, has City’s max haul this season at a single pair of the aforemtioned trophies: the UEFA Champions League and the PL’s top honor.
And Pellegrini is troubled. From mcfc.com:
“It’s a strange game to analyze. There were two games in one. I am concerned, not because of Chelsea but because we didn’t score in our last two home games.
“We conceded two goals in four of our last five home games. We need to recover our performances, both attacking and defending.”
And how. When it comes to the UEFA Champions League’s Round of 16, City hosts Barcelona on Feb. 24 in a huge home leg before heading to the Camp Nou. While City travels to Chelsea for Saturday’s huge PL match, the Citizens only have a pair of home matches — Newcastle and Hull — before the Barca match.
After Saturday, one piece of hardware could be 8 points away with 15 matches to play. If City’s not sorted on home form within a month, it could be a trophy-free 2015.