By: Joey McCune
A win is a win. Plain and simple. Doesn’t have to be pretty as long as we get three points. And with the way the schedule condenses at the end of the calendar year, we may not see too many pretty games.
The starting XI for the blues Wednesday was as follows:
Maicon Kompany Nastasic Zabaleta
Javi Garcia Barry
Silva Toure Yaya Aguero
On the bench were: Pantilimon, Kolo “Francois” Toure, Kolarov, Milner, Sinclair (I know right?), Tevez, and Dzeko.
As you can see, it was the 4-2-3-1 that was employed for the better part of last season, but it lacked the flair and passing that was ever present during the championship campaign. So after a very lackluster start to this post, let’s see if I can bring the goods in my analysis.
Through ten minutes City looked threatening in attack, but needed to be more in control when we had possession. When going forward there was a lot of interchanging by the front four which seemed to cause some trouble for Wigan. Silva, Kun, and Balo worked some crisp, fancy combinations, but all for naught. Maicon goes down after taking a ball to the throat (make your own Brazilian prostitute jokes; I will not be your jester). The next 35 minutes were ugly. Real ugly. Uglier than the likely divorce that a certain Toure brother will probably be involved in very soon. A car salesman? That’s the best you’ve got?! I digress. During the first half it became very apparent that Javi Garcia is very rusty after being out for so long. He will need more games if he is ever going to really fit in to the team. Matija Nastasic is a gem. At 19, he is playing well above expectations, and much better than that brillo headed buffoon Stefan Savic did. Nasty is one half of the future center back pairing for City, curious to see who will emerge as the other half (Dedryck?). Zaba, as great as he has been for the past 9 months, is just not meant to play on the left. He played well enough, but nothing compared to what he does on the right. Up top Mediocre Mario has to stop dropping out of the box when we are in the attacking third. I can’t count how many times he would drop outside the 18, leave a gaping hole in the box, and giving Yaya and Merlin nowhere to go with the ball. Kun seems to have lost a step since picking up his injury early this season. The last few games he just has not had that turn of pace that we all became so accustomed to last season. Aside from the first 10 minutes, the first half was largely disappointing and we have got to be more confident and controlling in possession. The ball was given up too often due to sloppy passing. Based on the way the first half ended, you could sense that goals were coming, even if unsure who would be the man to do it.
Right, second half then. City start like a house on fire! Real promising stuff for 5 minutes. Even our little Spanish Harry Potter has a whack at goal. What a great sight to see for us City fans that have shouted at him to have a go when the opportunity shows. 52’ and Mario forces me into a profanity laden tirade on how he should’ve buried a back post header from about a yard away. Wonderful build up play from City, absolutely brilliant stuff, and then Mario showed up. He’s got to do better in those situations. Fucking hell he should’ve put that through the twine and into the first row. Enough about the black mamba for now. Seems as though Mancini switched up the tactics slightly at the beginning of the half. Javi sits just in front of Vinnie and Nasty, and just behind Gareth and Yaya. For me, this is where he can play at his best. If you have ever seen him play for Benfica you will know what I’m talking about. A few minutes later Sisqo, I mean Kone sends a header wide of Joe Hart’s goal after Kompany loses him in the box. In the 59th minute James Milner replaces Javi Garcia. Javi lacked fitness, but showed glimpses of what he could bring to the side. With the substitution the players are shuffled around again, now with Barry sitting deep, Yaya and Milner in the middle, and Silva playing as a number 10. During this period of play Wigan’s three at the back system is beginning to show its teeth. The club throws more players forward than City can mark and it is really causing the Blues some problems. After an hour, City are still lacking the killer instinct and everyone is awaiting the arrival of Carlitos or the Bosnian Diamond. It is becoming more and more evident that Balo needs something to boost his confidence as he is not playing at the level that someone with his quality should do. Over at Stamford Bridge there is a Marko Marin sighting as a certain small club from Moscow is locked at nil-nil with Michael Jackson’s favorite club (and I don’t mean Switzerland’s Young Boys). Substitution time. Mancini laughs at your calls for an attacker and throws on the Serbian nightmare, Aleksander Kolarov. What in the name of Mike Summerbee is Roberto thinking?! I’ll tell you what he’s thinking. 3 AT THE BACK FOLKS! ITS HERE TO STAY! Aleks on, Sergio off. Zaba, Vinnie, Nastasic at the back. Barry sits just in front of them. Maicon, Yaya, Milner, and Aleks stretch across the middle of the park, with David Silva just behind Mario. And just when everyone doubts the tinkerman, BOSH! SUPER MARIO SCORES! A missile from 12 yards out off a rebound from his previous shot. Balotelli will not be denied, and the 69th minute the Citizens are finally in the lead. The goal is just what Mario needed to wake him up, and you could sense that more goals were left in the game. Not three minutes later and James Milner hammers one home from the top of the box after the crowd urges him to have a go. Those protein shakes are really helping apparently, because he almost ripped the net with that shot. Brilliant play leading up to the goal. Merlin gets surrounded in the box, drops to an arriving Gareth Barry, who calmly slides the ball to his right, and BANG! GET IN THERE!! 2-0 TO TH MIGHTY BLUES! The 3 at the back system continues to look very promising as the defenders move well together. Up to this point in the second half Yaya Toure has gone all Swayze on us and been a ghost. A few moments later and Maicon leaves us holding our heads after blasting a shot just off target. City have been a totally different side in the second half. It had to happen at some point, and we were all just waiting. Yaya wakes up and makes a trademark bulldozing run through the center of the park and takes a shot that veers wide. During the course of play Milner has gone down injured. “There’s only one James Milner” rings through the DW as the number 7 is replaced by the best car salesman this side of Slough. Kolo Toure enters and I have to clue what the hell our formation is any more. On a side note, that Dutch twat Ron Stam has hair like Mary Lou Retton and it infuriates me. Also, as the game starts to wind down, Maynor Figueroa is none too pleased with the referee, and is preparing to hulk up. Zaba blocks a shot in extra time and it looks like an ankle or knee issue, no bueno. The champions are victorious after three minutes of added time.
David Silva and Gareth Barry were the men of the match in my eyes. Silva seems to be getting back to the player that we all love to watch, and Gareth Barry is once again proving why he continues to beat out younger more athletic players.
A few glaring issues are yet to be dealt with by City. First are set pieces. Offensive or defensive set pieces both are not good enough. I get very scared every time the opposition has a corner. This shouldn’t be the case for a club with players like ours. The zonal marking on defense seems to somewhat be catching on, but offensively it has been atrocious. Corner kicks have to beat the first man. I’m sick of seeing our momentum deflated by an awful corner that is easily cleared. Secondly, we can’t keep depending on our full backs to supply crosses; our attacking players have to be able to whip in a ball that can cause some trouble for the defense. When we play strikers like Balo and Edin, both over 6 feet tall, we have to have people that can provide quality aerial service.
Today Manchester City were victorious over Wigan Athletic at the DW, and remained unbeaten in league play. It wasn’t the greatest game that the Blues have ever played, but it was still 3 points. City supporters have become very forgetful this season. One or two poor showings (AKA draws) and people call for the sacking of Roberto, or players to be dropped. We need to remember where we came from. We need to remember what sort of club City was before the money, and that it is never going to be easy for City. We will never walk over every single team we play. That isn’t how things work for MCFC. If that is how it was we wouldn’t care. Not one of us would’ve wanted last season to end any other way. So, let’s not let a few less than stellar performances cause us to act like certain other supporter’s groups.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the write up. I’ll try to do more if you guys like them. Until next time Blues…
We are City, Super City, from Maine Road.
Thanks for the read and if you like laughing you should follow me on twitter @jtmccune !!