Where Has Yaya Toure Gone?


Living on the West Coast, UEFA Champions League matches can be hard to watch.  They begin at 11:45 am, right in the middle of the work day.  When I record a match, I have to avoid all forms of social media and sports related websites at the chance of seeing the score before I can see the match.

I don’t need to hide this from anyone; I am a Manchester City fan.  And no, I am not one of the new bandwagon fans.  I began cheering for the blue side of Manchester back when they were still awful (yes, there are a few of us out there).

With that out of the way, I had to avoid the internet on Tuesday until I got home from work; three hours after the match between Manchester City and AS Roma had already ended.  I was successful and when I turned the TV on to watch the match, I still had no idea of the outcome.  I sat down with one of Manchester City’s biggest fans, my three-month old son, and we began watching.

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  • The match was essentially a must win for City.  Any dropped points at home could prove to be costly in such a difficult group.  By now we all know, the match ended in a 1-1 draw (for details of the match check out the article by Jacob Rude).  An early goal from City forced Roma to play on the front foot for the remainder of the first half, and although they probably should have put four balls in the back of the net, they only managed to score once on a horrendous display of defending and goal keeping by Joe Hart.

    The second half was a bunch of nothing.  At no point did I feel like City was going to break through and walk away with all three points.  In a word, it was disappointing.  But no one was more disappointing than Yaya Toure.

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    The man who has been the backbone of City’s success since 2010 has suddenly disappeared.   On several occasions I found myself asking, “Where is Yaya Toure”? He was rarely on the screen and when he did appear, he was behind all the action.  He looked lazy and disinterested.

    He completed several passes in the middle of the field, but most of them were either horizontal or backwards.  Very few of his passes were completed in an attacking area and almost none of them led to positive chance for City.  He floated around the middle of the field and never looked threatening.

    He took a total of two shots; Both were blocked.  This me eans he failed to create enough space for himself to wrap his foot around the ball and really challenge the keeper.  Last season, Toure finished with 24 goals in all competitions (20 in the EPL which put him in third place).

    So far this season, Toure has a total of one goal, which he scored in the Capital One Cup against Sheffield Wednesday a mid-table team from the Championship.  He has as many goals this season as does Jose Angel Pozo, who has played a total of 30 minutes.

    I don’t know if he is still upset about the whole birthday cake debacle or if he is simply worn out.  Whatever is going on with Toure has been made manifest in his play on the pitch.  This is not the same Yaya Toure we saw as recently as last season.

    Overall, the first two matches of the Champions League have been disappointing for City fans.  Only two of the six group stage matches have been played, but it certainly it is an uphill battle from here.

    As a City fan and as a soccer writer, I don’t believe the Cityzens have any hope for success in either the Champions League or Premier League if Yaya Toure does not recover from whatever he has going on.  My goodness man, it was only a birthday cake!