Sunday, 5 December 2010

A 1-0 destruction

If one team could ever destroy another 1-0, then City’s one to nothing victory over Bolton yesterday was surely a classic example. Bolton have impressed of late and to their credit they came to play football, but for large parts of the game they were crushed and were lucky to escape with only conceding the one goal. The result betrayed City's true performance.

Almost stalemate from the jaws of victory

Despite City’s dominance, Joe Hart almost threw it all away in the second half when he let a cross slip through his gloves, only for the ever reliable Vincent Kompany to clear the ball off the line and save all our blushes. But in truth that incident represented the sharp end of the Bolton threat.

City’s dominant forward diamond

Another home draw would have been difficult to stomach. We were much more dominant here than we were against Blackburn or Birmingham. That Bolton actually tried to play football probably went to their detriment, as it opened up spaces at the back for our forward diamond of Tevez, Balotelli, Silva and Yaya skilfully to exploit.

And exploit it they did – from the off in fact – when a lovely through ball from Yaya Toure placed Carlos Tevez through to finish cleanly. At the time I thought we were in for a hatful, but it was not be – more because of our poor finishing rather than Bolton’s defending.

Time and again we broke through Bolton’s backline. In behind, approaching the box, round the back from wide positions – any which way but loose. Mario Balotelli struck the post, David Silva struck the bar, as City searched for the goal to kill off Coyle’s men. Our front four were all impressive, but playing just behind the front three Yaya Toure had his best game in a Blue shirt. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – he is the joker in the pack as far as our so called ‘defensive midfield’ goes. The dog work is done by De Jong and Barry, whilst Yaya is given license to power forward. His dribbling skills, combined with his power, make him formidable from central attacking positions.

Mancini’s eleven

I have been disappointed of late to hear of fans complaining about Roberto Mancini at the helm. Its true that we haven’t been the best side to watch of late, but I really must ask what more do fans want? As the table stands we are three points off 1st position. Everyone is dropping points and we will be no different, no matter how much our team costs. We have excellent players at the club now, of course that much is clear, but so do Arsenal, United, Chelsea and Spurs – more to the point these teams are much more settled than ours.

Fans harp on about all the money we have spent and the astronomical wages that we pay, and about not getting a just return for this investment. Just because we pay £25m for a player and pay him over £150,000 a week doesn’t make him 15%-20% better. He is still the same – albeit very good - player who like any other needs time to gel and settle in the team.

And besides, no-one can complain that we played boring football at Eastlands yesterday. This was the strongest City line up that I think Mancini can field. Hart, Kolarov, Kompany, Toure, Zabaleta, Barry, De Jong, Yaya, Balotelli, Tevez, Silva. More to the point, this team very much has Mancini’s stamp on it – especially in an attacking sense. And we were all over Bolton yesterday. Surely that confirms some doubts about us in a tactical sense.

Booing Mancini’s decisions – like fans did against Birmingham – is small minded and fails to see the bigger picture of which stability is the key ingredient. Honestly, I would’ve thought that City fans above all others would understand this. Just take a look at the last 17 years for starters: something like 11 managers and zero success.

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