Tag Archives: Man City

Manchester City

Mark Hughes has done a wonderful job at Manchester City. People will argue that if they had all that money then they could do as goon of a job but they would be very much mistaken.

Firstly, Hughes has gone an entirely different route to Erikkson when he had Thaksin Shinawatra’s money. Sven bought good players (Elano, Petrov, Giovanni (although he was useless at Man City), Jo (see Giovanni) but none had played in the Premiership before. The start was always going to be good but tough games came up and the players became unstuck.  Hughes has purchased players that have all played in the Premier League and in some cases won the title. Only Robinio (not Hughes’ signing I suggest) doesn’t fit the bill.

City are playing well great going forward and a bit culpable at the back, but that will come with time. A victory against Arsenal is a launching pad for a title challenge. I will suggest, however, that there most important game of the season, next week at Utd, will define their season.

Win it and they’ll not come anywhere near winning the league. Lose it and they have a chance. Yes, that’s right. If they win then they will feel unbeatable – 5 wins out of 5 and two against teams people said they could not beat. However, this is the feeling that will derail their season when they go on the inevitable run of bad form. Individual players will start to feel like individuals and not part of a team. This will hamper any chance of success.

As Chelsea have proved this season it is important to fight to the final whistle and City players will take on individual chances in those final minutes if chasing the game rather than pass to a better placed teammate. An elaborate theory I know but it’s what did for Hull last year. They thought they were invincible and crumbled after a few tough games. If you feel you are better than your teammates then you will become selfish and City have the players to get to each other.

If City lose to Utd then it will be an expected defeat, albeit not a nice one but an expected one. The next game will then be one that they must win to get back on track, this will force the team to become a team more than a victory will.

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Lescott and Toure – together at last

This blog has discussed Birmingham’s forward line: how Alec McLeish needs to settle on a partnership and let them get to know one another. Centre backs are a different bread altogether and picking the two best players will not guarantee good or consistent performances.

 

Central defenders take their position from each other and in every successful partnership there is a leader. When the team has the ball the leader at the back controls the position of the second centre back and, in turn, the full backs and central midfield.

 

Without the ball the leading centre back directs the defending; when to step up, who will cover who etc. The most important aspect of a central defensive partnership is that there is one leader. There needs to be an authoritative voice and someone to take responsibility for the teams defending.

 

Currently Terry leads Chelsea, Carragher leads Liverpool, Ferdinand leads Man Utd and Gallas leads Arsenal. When Ferdinand was injured Vidic lead Evens and the defence was just as strong. However, after the torrid time Torres gave Vidic the partnership crumbled because Vidic lost his authoritative voice.

 

A central defensive partnership, if wanting to be successful, needs to have one ‘aggressive’ player and one ‘passive’ player. Having the same type in a line up will lead to frailty; either someone not taking the direction given by another or neither proving the aforementioned direction.

 

Kolo Toure has a previous history when taking a role within the partnership. From his Arsenal days he appears to fluctuate between ‘passive’ and ‘aggressive’. He was ‘passive’ during his time with Sol Campbell (‘aggressive’ / successful) and with Pascal Cycan and Senderos (‘passive’ / failure) but ‘aggressive’ with Gallas (‘aggressive’ / failure).

 

In the 2008 / 2009 season Joleon Lescott played alongside Phil Jagielka at Everton. Jagielka was new(ish) to the position so took his lead from Lescott. It is arguable as to who performed better but certainly Lescott was the organiser at the back.

 

At Man City the partnership, being new, with have no leader in terms of who is the most senior at the club. Both players have experience in the Premier League and are capped at international level. Toure is older than Lescott, has played more and won more but Lescott is English and more expensive by double the amount.

 

Whether nationality will play a part as to who dominates will be interesting as the rest of the first choice back four are English (Richards and Bridge). Either way, one of Lescott or Toure will need to take direction from the other. It is easy in most cases to ascertain which one of the two centre backs that will be but in this case there is not a natural leader. Two ‘passives’ or two ‘aggressives’ do not work together and it will result in Shay Given being a busy man.

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