The senior Citizens tasked with ruddering a youth-infused Manchester City side to a respectable result against Chelsea did little to endear themselves to the club’s incoming manager.
Willy Caballero, Aleksandar Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta, Martin Demichelis and Fernando all started the 5-1 Stamford Bridge hammering alongside the teenage delegation.
Already evidently deemed the members of Manuel Pellegrini’s squad whose freshness for their Champions League round-of-16 clash with Dinamo Kiev was least vital to the cause, the quintet did little to recommend themselves to Josep Guardiola, who takes over at the end of the season.
As goalkeeper, three quarters of the back four and defensive midfielder, the blame for the five goals City shipped can only fall squarely on their shoulders, with the responsibility for organising their younger teammates in the attacking roles also theirs.
Individually there were regrettable showings from Caballero, Demichelis and Fernando in particular.
The Citizens’ second-choice stopper was badly at fault for goals by Gary Cahill and Eden Hazard, with the former’s drilled effort straight at him, while the latter’s tame free kick caught him badly out of position.
Demichelis was all at sea throughout, losing Diego Costa for the first Chelsea goal before giving away a penalty in hapless fashion late in the piece.
Meanwhile, Fernando also played his part in Cahill’s fortuitous strike by skewing a clearance which doubled as a perfect lay off straight to the centre-half.
Full-backs, Zabaleta and Kolarov were shadows of their former selves when the visitors were on the attack and contributors to the confusion in defence, where they were frequently caught badly out of position by the hosts interplay on the flanks.
Given their roles in the Citizens’ Stamford Bridge dismantling, it is difficult to foresee the majority of the senior quintet surviving the summer at the Etihad – particularly with the rise of the Chinese Super League offering their current employers potentially lucrative sell-on options.