Choosing a flop of the week was relatively simple for me. It came down to two contestants — Wojciech Szczesny and Martin Demichelis. I considered Szczesny for a moment, but ultimately Demichelis got the deserved nod for the dubious title.
Manuel Pellegrini surprised many people when he brought on the Argentinean defender from his former club. The perception was that Demichelis was past his peak and he would struggle to familiarize himself with the lightning pace of the Premier League. However, he was fortunate enough to play for a top club that hid his liabilities, as Manchester City played the games in the opposition half for most the season. But the Champions League was a rude awakening and credence for the critics, me being one of them, who were left perplexed by the signing.
Demichelis began the match playing frivolously compared to his teammates. Multiple stray passes into the game led me to believe he would find himself targeted by the Catalan attack, because he seemed so ill-prepared for the pressure that was surely going to come his way. Jesus Navas definitely put Demichelis in a difficult spot by that absurd dive, but going down a goal is ultimately better than being down with a man down. That event left City with an arduous task ahead and a certain slow death, as Barcelona was content with knocking the ball about.
The day after that Champions League encounter, Demichelis found himself on the cover of numerous editorials as the main culprit for the defeat. He was vehemently excoriated by City fans and analyst who foreshadowed this performance months before it transpired. To be fair, with or without Demichelis, Manchester was always going to find it tough against the reigning La Liga Champions. You could probably slide in a formidable center-back like Thiago Silva into the City lineup and the result likely would not have changed, but I should also add that it’s not a foregone conclusion.
Many would expect not to see Demichelis in the lineup for the remaining important fixtures. This could be an opportunity for Micah Richards to prove his value to the new manager. Also with the World Cup this summer in Brazil, Alejandro Sabella should see Pellegrini’s mistake of starting Demichelis as cause for pause if contemplating starting Demichelis for this summer’s tournament.