…life sort of got in the way again last night and again earlier today.
From a shrug of the shoulders to almost frantic screams of “crisis!” - I heard it all in one post-match radio ‘phone in’.
It doesn’t surprise me any more to listen to the over-reaction of so many footy fans following a defeat; even one after such a meaningless game as the one last Sunday afternoon at Wembley. Doesn’t surprise me but still disappoints me when I hear it from some seasoned Blues.
One fella phoned Radio Manchester and first announced that he’d been following City for 48 (it could even have been 58) years…and then went on to say what a bad result it was and that it doesn’t bode well for the season ahead etc.
Eight major players missing and we are to judge the season ahead on that?! Jeeeze…
Thankfully a few Blues had more of a balanced and realistic view and one added,
Similarly others added that this will all be forgotten in a few weeks if / when Pellegrini’s choices on Sunday pay dividend and we get off to a ‘flyer’ in the Premier League.
Yeah of course there were some negatives but certainly nothing to get in a flap about.
- Dedryck Boyata. The lad has never convinced me and although brief appearances last season saw him mostly fill in a right back; the lad is far too full of errors and just doesn’t look like a comfortable defender whatsoever. I was shocked to the core when he got a new, 2-year contract; something that screams, “Home-grown decision” and nothing else. He was – and is – poor. As one post-match caller stated, “Even Bolton Wanderers sent him home [from loan] on the bus…”
- Samir Nasri. He called the Arsenal fans stupid (and rightly so for their persistent berating of him for daring to move to a club that had a far better chance of winning trophies) but, in my opinion, his interview and comments was ill-timed. He was ALWAYS gonna get ‘the boos’ from the North Londoners but he stoked the fire…and it backfired. He had a below-par performance and (I hope temporarily anyway) if affected his corner taking. They weren't quite as appalling bad as Joey Barton’s (remember them?) but every single one he ‘threw in’ were low and flat. Poor game over all and rightly replaced at half time.
- Edin Dzeko. I can’t believe I’m having to start so early on this enigma once again after finishing the season in fine form. Even Pellegrini appear frustrated with the largely immobile one. After his little by-line “chat” with his manager he made one, powerful and, for him, quite pacy and strong run down the left; something that’s not his forte and he did really well. But in the centre of the opposition’s defence…his place of work…he did often cut another frustrating figure for large parts. And this is the man on the brink of signing a new, 5-year contract…
- And finally…the manager. The first 3 minor criticisms are all pretty ‘much of a muchness’ really. I don’t think we’ll see Dedryck pull on a City shirt this season apart from, perhaps, a League Cup game or unless we are really, REALLY desperate. As for Samir; well he’ll have far more good games than he will average ones I’m certain. And Edin will, I’m sure, continue to frustrate but will still finish on around 20 goals; carrying on his trait of scoring at vital times in vital games. But Manuel sometimes worries me with his rigidity. I’m not a football manager and have never even considered taking a coaching badge. But, having seen what Arsene Whinger bought and didn’t buy before the Community Shield even I had a good idea that he would play 4-5-1 come 4-6-0; with a marauding, largely attacking midfielders bombing forward in waves. I also know Yaya’s strengths and know that his weaknesses include his lack of quick-turn mobility…and that he gets frustrated when outnumbered by the oppo. I also have a memory and, therefore, know that, a-la Bayern Munich, if we try to go against a 4-5-1 / 4-6-0 with a 4-4-2 – especially one that has another largely-motionless figure in ‘the 11’ (Dzeko if you needed to ask) – we get completely overrun and crumble under incessant counter attacks; where our strikers are left to observe the game pass them by from afar. And that’s just what happened last Sunday. What’s slightly worrying is that having NOT apparently foreseen this, our ‘Engineer’ was then far too slow to do anything about it and should, in my opinion, have gone ‘like for like’ before changing personnel. He should, for example, have brought the far-more-mobile Stevan Jovetic into central midfield or out wide-left; allowing Samir to come inside to help stem the tide and bolster midfield. Please learn some foresight and flexibility for the season ahead Mr Pellegrini, hey?
- A quick 5th one. Having paid so much and given their precious time the day before a ‘school night’ the City fans should have been rewarded with a far better performance from the those chosen to wear the City shirt in a fairly big, ‘curtain raiser’ of a game. Shame on them really…
- Despite only getting 6/10 from the M.E.N. I thought Gael Clichy had another decent game on the opposite side of his natural defending position. Especially considering the persistent waves of Arsenal attacks. It’s good to see him ‘back’.
- Matija Nastasic. I thought the Serbian looked, once more, is usual solid and calm self. A good 7/10 performance that should be read as 8/10 when considering the afore mentioned tactical error and that he had the young Boyata next to him. Talk of moving him on is absolutely baffling to me…and that won’t be the last time you’ll hear that from me…
- Fernando looks really up to the challenge. As much as it can be a joy to watch Sergio Aguero glide his way through opposition defences to score a screamer, it is wonderful to watch a player who utterly thrives on tacking the opposition and getting the ball back. I did mention this before we signed him; I am a little nervous of his tendency at times to ‘two foot’ the ball away from his target but as long as he times them right then he should be okay. Seemed to tire a little and stop chasing after a while but that is MORE than understandable when you consider the position his manager put him (and Yaya) in with his tactical naivety.
- For Navas read, “Navas unleashed”. Whether he’s getting his frustrations out after missing out on the World Cup at the last minute through injury or whether the player famous for being travel / homesick is now REALLY settled in Manchester / England I just don’t know. What I do know is that he’s looking like he’s found the handbrake and has finally released it. One particular telling run occurred in the second half following a lovely bit of misleading skill; where he left his pursuer trailing before dinking in a lovely cross that almost lead to a City goal. If he’s also added better crossing to his revitalised armoury then what a new weapon we have as well as…
- …Steven Jovetic! Most of us said it; get this fella fit and firing and it’ll be like a new signing this season. Simply put, “he is” and “it is”. Decent speed, lively skill & trickery, very determined and hungry for goals. What more could you want?
- David Silva. Whether on from the start or coming off the bench this little magician changes the whole aspect of our team and, very often, the game. We needed him desperately on Sunday and although we didn’t score, he gave Arsenal food for thought and they ‘fell back’ for large parts of the second half. What a pocket-sized maestro we have in the Spaniard – If only we could get Isco to work with him in the seasons ahead and, with age on his side, eventually continue in that role for City for many, many years to come…
You may notice a lack of negative or positive comments regarding Willy Caballero. Well to be honest I thought there was a bit of unnecessary, negative frenzy surrounding the Argentinean keeper (from all corners - including City fans).
Was he at fault for the Giroud goal? Erm…ffffff…perhaps a very little bit. I SUPPOSE it wasn’t exactly a ‘top corner’ goal. But it was a hell of an unexpected and fantastic strike and I think any criticism of Willy takes the gloss off a fine strike from the Arsenal player to be honest.
As for Michael – pipsqueak voice – Owen (I’m DEFINITELY watching BT Sport games with the sound turned down in future) and his repeated slating of our keeper for delaying in coming out to close-down Sanchez in the first half when Caballero made a perfectly-timed tackle with his legs to prevent a goal well, huh, there you have it…
Disaster? Huh…FAR from it.
Concerns for this coming Sunday; a Sunday fixture that DOES count? Well nothing other than the defence really; particularly the centre of it. Just how close to match fitness ‘the late arrivals’ are we will never know until the last hour before the game I’m sure. Pellegrini likes to keep things very close to his chest and so I doubt we’ll even find out who’ll be available for selection during the pre-match press conference on Thursday / Friday.
And that’s fine – keep both us AND nasty Pardew guessing until the very end I say. I just hope we don’t have to play Boyata…
Bits ‘n’ bobs…
Why no John Guidetti on the bench at Wembley? “I don’t know” is the simple answer…other than he has been linked, again, with a return to Feyenoord; possibly on a permanent deal (with Juventus monitoring the situation). With Sergio being ‘fragile’ as he is; that would leave us very thin ‘up top’ in my opinion. Devante Cole and / or Jordy Hiwula to step up?
Micah in limbo? Well it’s all gone very quiet for the lad…
Garcia to Zenit? Well unless I missed him I didn’t see him with the ‘suited up’ players in the stands at Wembley. In talks perhaps?
Sinclair to stay? It sort of wouldn’t surprise me with the home-grown rule and the fact that he’s not done too badly at all in pre-season.
David Silva signs a new contract!
The man from
Porto – he sign!
Here’s a picture of Eliaquim Mangala NOT in a
kit or suit jacket just to prove it…