The agonising defeat to Bayern Munich will be tough to take for Manchester City fans but Yaya Toure’s reaction to the defeat will infuriate fans further. Just moments after the referee blew the final whistle; Yaya Toure was pictured having a laugh and a joke with Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola. Toure has played under Guardiola when at Barcelona together but the message sent by Toure was not a positive one.
This time last year Toure was at the peak of his powers, scoring set plays, bundles amount of energy and a driving force in the Manchester City side. The same cannot be said about Toure’s performances so far this season; there haven’t been many trademark driving runs and his ability to have huge influences on games so far have been non-existent. The game against Bayern Munich was an opportunity for Toure to reinforce the ability he possesses on the big stage.
Bayern were missing the likes of Schweinsteiger, Martinez and Thiago in the central midfield area. With such a wealth of talent unavailable for Bayern, many experts felt that Toure would seize the opportunity and take the game by the scruff of the neck. However Toure never really stood up to the challenge and for the majority of the game looked sluggish and disinterested. These average performances by Toure are starting to become a regular occurrence especially in the Champions League. For Olympiakos, Barcelona and City, Toure’s overall tally stands at six in 51 appearances, which isn’t good enough for a performer of his talent. In 11 Champions League matches for City against heavyweight opposition such as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Dortmund and Bayern, Toure has only one goal to his name, against the Munich giants in City’s 2-0 win in December 2011.
The predicament for Pellegrini now is how do I get the best out of Toure? Is Pellegrini bold enough to drop Yaya Toure, or could dropping him only make his contribution to the cause drop significantly. After racking up 24 goals for Manchester City last season, Toure is a vital part of City’s side and his goals last year were pivotal in City reclaiming the Premier League title. With a big game against Chelsea at the weekend, City need Toure to return to his mercurial best, the big question is will he. When Toure is on song and is mentally prepared, he is unplayable however when he has an off day City at times are carrying a passenger.
After the end of season cake shenanigans and his reported unhappiness, many City fans were worried that Toure was using his unhappiness as a ploy to get a new lucrative contract offer; he is already the club’s highest earner on around £220,000 a week. City will hope that Toure gets back to his best sooner than later.
Another potential worry for City fans surrounding Toure is his possible involvement in the upcoming African Cup of Nations. Come January the fixtures come thick and fast with City often fighting on many fronts, but City have often had to play a lot of tough matches without their star performer. Toure an Ivory Coast international, has often got to the latter stages with Ivory Coast in the competition, still yet to win the competition, Toure has previously come back to City exhausted and mentally depleted.
Even on the domestic front, there have been limited signs of the performer of last year’s memorable season, scoring 24 goals in 49 appearances for City; Toure was Manchester City’s star man. Four games into the new Premier League season and there have been no goals and there is a growing sense that Toure is currently walking through games. The same poor performances were a constant feature two campaigns ago when his failure to consistently perform was a major factor in City’s miserable title defence under former manager Roberto Mancini.
With a Champions League winners medal on his Barcelona résumé from the star studied 2009 side, could Yaya Toure be struggling to motivate himself, is he searching for another challenge? At the age of 31, could his physical box to box game be finally starting to take its toll on his body? There is no questioning Yaya’s ability and he could quite easily go and single handily win the game against Chelsea on his own. On the other hand, if Toure’s attitude and commitment to the cause continues to be questioned than the hierarchy at City may have to make a very brave decision.