Was Tevez both the sollution and the problem for Mancini?

Posted by on 15 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

It transpires on thursdays news wires that during the insipid City team performance at Anfield earlier this week, we lost our talisman for the season Carlos Tevez.
In fact judging by the amount of time Tevez will be absent from a City first team with his hamstring injury, it could be the last we ever see him wear the blue thirty two.
There’s little doubt Tevez has been an instrumental player for us this season and who could argue with his goal tally to date, it could be argued that his solo player contribution may help City enter the azimuth of club football, the champions league at the end of this season.
All this assumes we don’t adopt the old City tradition of self imploding as we did last season at the last hurdle, gifting spurs the place we desperately craved.
So providing we don’t single handedly spoil our chances in the absence of Tevez, and we actually manage to attain that much needed place, then it could be a case of job done on the part of Mancini.

Looking back to the start of the season, Mancini could have chosen from the outset of this season to set City up without Tevez playing the leading role, but its also possible that Mancini thought it would have been too big a gamble not to fully utilise a player in such excellent form, as the thought of finishing mid table at the seasons end would not have been thinkable, therefore opting not to rebuild the team from scratch.
It was pretty clear from the early stages of this premier league season that Tevez became an instant fix for Mancini.
The major mistake Mancini made this season in my opinion has been his over reliance in Tevez, which i feel has put a lot of strain on the player and his relationship between the club, manager, agent and supporters.
I also feel that using Tevez in the way Mancini has may have actually contributed to making some of our recent high profile imports look like poor purchases, just by the very nature of his playing style which usually excludes any interchange to his team mates, his style certainly fragments and smothers our progress as a forward moving one touch football team, and therefore feel he has hampered our playing style as a team unit no end, thats certainly how it appears to me, and in my opinion playing the Tevez option for such long spells of this season was an ill thought out plan which i feel is about to come back and haunt Mancini.

The reason Mancini stuck with Tevez as a solution to all our problems for so long raises more questions than it answers, as hapless as Mancini’s tactics and results may have looked with increasing frequency over the past few months to both City supporters and footballing pundits alike, its probably fair to say he hasn’t had the freedom to try a more radical approach and to do things in his own way, as the impending high probability of not qualifying for the champions league has loomed over him like the sword of damocles most of this year, and has surely got to be orchestrating some kind of destructive dynamic on Mancini’s clear thinking, which again raises the question of unrealistic time frames and targets with the high expectations that rich owners set for their chosen coach.
Make no mistake about it, the choice of instant success or pack your bags seems to be the mandate set in stone by billionaire owners and supporters alike, and it makes for a pretty toxic cocktail.
I personally believe that deep down Mancini is a top level manager, and he is the best City manager we have appointed in a long time, but at city he simply hasn’t had the time nor the freedom to exercise all the options and do things his way, the same could be argued for Hughes, although he appeared to get himself into self spiralling perpetual disaster in much the same way, which is already well documented.

Its probably fair to say that Mancini had many luxuries at Inter Milan that he could ill afford at City, the Milan squad for example was in pretty good shape when he arrived there from Lazio in 2004.
It would take even the most cynical of supporters to discount his past success there and not believe it feasible that he could be a success at City given time.
Time that if he were allowed a few years to settle into the role here, he would most likely deliver success to the club, and probably sustained success at that.
However our owners have not the patience nor the time to offer Mancini that safety net due to a number of outside pressures imposed over the next few seasons by FIFA themselves, and an ever demanding fan base who are more hungry than ever to end a trophy drought which has hung over them and been laughed upon from their gaudy neighbours over in the borough of trafford.

So what i conclude could be deemed as an over simplistic summation, but I don’t think Mancini has suddenly become a poor manager in the past few months here, i think he’s probably struggling to try to get everything to gel while staring the obvious pressure of results, player behaviour and injuries coupled with owner and supporter expectation in the face, which has all been thrust upon his shoulders with the added burden of three decades of empty honours.
When Mancini first arrived he looked confident and full of energy, carrying the hopes and dreams of a club with him, when the new season started and he had to do things a certain way i think it was plainly obvious he was going to struggle with the burden of to do list he inherited, and made all the more difficult with the added conundrum of how he was going to manage attaining the haloed premier league fourth place with his expensively assembled squad of individuals within one single season at the helm.
So it now looks more apparent to many that it wasn’t long into the new season when Mancini realised that without the over reliance on settled key players would we have a cat in hells chance of getting fourth place at all.
The majority of the players Mancini brought in haven’t settled in quickly enough to be effective, probably because Mancini never had the time to let them settle in, as he favoured running the whole game around Tevez, and with constant flow of fixtures plus internationals with no winter break, proving yet again that English football is indeed a different animal in many ways to that of the Italian game.

Sadly as Mancini struggles to get everything right at this stage of the season, the uncertainty has begun to reflect on player confidence, and its never more apparent than with a striker, poor Edin Dzeko for example, a player of incredible quality who looks a forlorn figure on the pitch at the moment, he looks around the pitch wondering where the next ball is going to come from, as the service has been so poor and fragmented.
For the Liverpool game the team setup was an obvious tactical error on Mancini’s part before the game had even began, it looked more like a sign of desperation as Mancini appeared not to know what to do and as his tactical frailties began to open up the City defence the goals began to flood in, it was clearly beyond the point of no return before the first half had ended.
With such a huge match as the Wembley semi final with United fast approaching, and having already been ditched out of two cups, the panic seemed to have set in there and there on that cold Monday night in Merseyside.

Unfortunately this is all part and parcel of what happens when you want something too quickly, and as we have often seen in the past it seldom works out straight away.
Mancini knows his job is on the line, and sadly with a co-pilot like platt as part of the back room support he’s not going to be much help when it comes to the crunch.
But i live in hope and im sure im not on my own when i say im praying for a miracle on Saturday.

As Mancini has said more than once this season, “football can be strange”…

 

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BlueOnBlue

A Blue Wembley

Posted by on 14 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

Saturday comes, the journey starts,
Blues they travel from miles apart,
North, South, East or West,
Every Blue must give their best.

Every Blue has made their choice,
Now back it up by using your voice,
We’ve backed the team times before,
But when the whistle blows, its full on war.

All our players will play with pride,
They’ll play even better with us on side,
If Mancini goes with the right game plan,
Thousands of Blues will do the Poznan.

So from this very minute get behind your team,
Life’s to short, this is our dream,
Put aside the slagging and the tattle,
WE ARE CITY, PRIDE IN BATTLE!

By Ricster

Carlos Tevez – Will he Stay, or will he Go?

Posted by on 14 Apr 2011 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

I have been commenting on this subject for some time and as we head towards the end of the season it is probably worthwhile resurrecting the debate.

Personally, I have always believed that he will go in the summer of 2011 for a number of reasons:

• His personal life and in particular being away from his children, although I accept in more recent times they have been spending some time in Manchester but I see this as a short term fix.
• I don’t think he is entirely happy with the situation at City and whilst he was given the Captain’s armband, I think we have a much better Captain waiting in the wings to take over and that would be Vincent Kompany.
• Carlos has been good for City and will be long remembered for the right reasons but perhaps it’s time to cash in whilst his value is high and let’s face it, his agent doesn’t do him any favours either.

There may also be other factors to take into consideration and one of these which may be crucial to the whole debate is Roberto Mancini.

Will Roberto Mancini be at Manchester City at the start of next season?

This is a bit of an unknown at the moment but there are suggestions that he may move on and make way for someone else and the rumour mill will be in overdrive depending on how the rest of this season pans out.

Qualifying for Champions League is a ‘must’ this season and Roberto Mancini’s survival may depend on our league position.
He may already be on thin ice as recent results and in particular performances have not entirely gone to plan and admitting that you made a mistake is one thing, but mistakes and results go hand in hand and we may yet see another manager in place for the start of next season.

If Mancini is still at City for the start of next season, then I feel that Tevez will go, if Mancini is not at City then Tevez may stay, but I feel this is unlikely.

There are I believe still underlying problems with Roberto Mancini and his staff and I don’t see these being resolved in the period of time available.

Perhaps Saturday 16th April at approximately 7.10 p.m. will be the defining moment for Manchester City F.C. and Roberto Mancini.

Unfortunately, Carlos Tevez will not have any physical input on the result on the pitch, but he may have some influence off the pitch on his future and that of others around him.

Forgotten Heroes Series Part 1 – David White

Posted by on 31 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

David White – 1985 – 1993

First of all I have to explain my reasons for selecting David White as my first blog in this series. Well it is pretty simple really, he was my first ever City hero. With myself being born in the early 80s David was naturally my first favourite player due to his incredible ability to entertain, take players on and most importantly score goals. I remember him fondly charging up and down that right wing instilling fear into opposition full backs. I am now going to take a little time to have a detailed look at David White and his City career.

 

David was born in my hometown of Urmston, Manchester on 30th October 1967 and joined City’s so called “golden generation” youth setup when he reached the age of 18. David caught the eye of City scouts whilst playing for Salford Boys and the rest was history. David went on to make his full debut in a 1 – 0 defeat to Luton Town on Saturday 27th September 1986 at the age of 18 years old. After his debut White went on to play every single game bar 1 up until 1988 mainly down the right wing but was occasionally used as a striker.

Whites darkest days at City were to be experienced during the season of 1986-87 when City were relegated from the top division and during the following season with White scoring 13 goals City still failed to attain promotion to the First Division. The 1988-89 season was to bring more luck for White as he scored 6 goals to help City on their way to finish as runners up in Division 2 and securing promotion back to the top league in English football. David was to continue his fine goal scoring form from the right wing scoring 8 goals in 89/90 and 16 goals in 90/91. During this time White had the pleasure of linking up with the likes of Quinn, Lake, Hinchcliffe and Stewart. However the most notable on pitch relationship came between himself and Niall Quinn with White often being the provider of killer crosses for Quinn to put his large frame on the end of.

In the season of 1992/93 came the formation of the Premier League and City were to have a very successful season under the guidance of Peter Reid and finish 5th. During this season David cemented his growing reputation in English football by scoring a personal best 18 goals and subsequently was rewarded with his full international debut for England against Spain. Unfortunately for David his debut didn’t go as expected and he taken an onslaught from the British media post match and subsequently his form taken a nose dive with Davids confidence shattered.

Due to mismanagement at City under the Peter Swales era City were strapped for cash and ended up selling David to Leeds United. This was the end of his fabulous City career after making 343 appearances and scoring 96 goals. Things didn’t go well for David at Leeds and spent much of the time injured, he later went on to play for Sheffield United before retiring from football in 1997.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank David for his time at City as for me he was a truly magnificent player who always left you on the edge of your seat. My fondest memory of him came in the 10 – 1 destruction of Huddesfeild Town on 7th November 1987 scoring a hat trick and making many assists. I think it is safe to say that is a day that many a City fan will remember fondly and will engrave in our memory fine moments that David White experienced in a City shirt.

 

Blue Tones

Is This Progress?

Posted by on 28 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

I decided to compare last season with this season and whilst there have been some indifferent results, I feel that we have made progress.

After five games in the 2009/10 season we were in 4th place and then dropped down the table and stayed out of the Champions league positions until games 32 and 33 when we held fourth place.
And the rest as they say is ‘history’ as a poor display gave Spurs the final Champions League place.

After five games in the 2010/11 season we were in 4th place and have stayed in the top 4 since so that is 25 games in the Champions League places.

After 30 games we have the same number of points at this stage of the season as last (53) but as we all know, there have been some unexpected results this season particularly from the teams coming up from the Championship.
The winners of the league this year will probably win it with the lowest points score in a decade which in 2001 was 80 points when Man Utd won the title.

So have we made progress? Bearing in mind the amount of money that has been spent on assembling this squad then perhaps not, but in regards to the league position we definitely have.
I can’t remember the last time that we were in the top 4 of the Premier League (Division 1) for a run of 25 games and there is no reason why we shouldn’t still be in the top four at the end of the season.

We should perhaps note that Roberto Mancini has not had the opportunity to play his first choice eleven on a regular basis, and I’m not sure that he knows what his best starting eleven is!

Look on the positive side, in the last ten years we have been worried about relegation and have lost the battle when ‘we were too good to go down’ or we have seen mid-table mediocrity with nothing to play for.

This year like last, we are heading towards the end of the season with Champions League Football a distinct possibility in 2011/12 and with it perhaps new faces coming into the club as the project moves up a gear.

However, ‘typical City’ do have a habit of shooting themselves in the foot so the next eight games are going to be very stressful indeed.

Keep the faith, there is a blue moon rising.

The Chelsea Fallout

Posted by on 21 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

The result at Stamford Bridge was disappointing but it was far from a humiliating defeat, yet whilst I browse the forums this morning this game seems to have been the straw that broke the camels back for many fans. I have seen some interesting comments on various forums this morning and I must say that I struggle to disagree with alot that has been said. The following post of mancityfanst.net I though was particularly thought provoking.

 

This is a quote from a poster named KinkyKinkladze

 

“I’ve seen us regress in playing style since Mancini came in, and for what, a similar points projection to what Hughes was taking us on. Mancini was meant to be somebody who could bring us on to the next level, take us somewhere we had always dreamed about. Yet here we are, struggling to put performances in against lesser teams and then bottling it every time we play one of the supposed big clubs. And the only difference I can see between us now and through our previous manager is that we’re ****ing horrible to watch now yet still stumble on flattering to deceive and with a stronger bed of players.

Somebody said it perfectly in another thread and it’s something that has been bugging me for the best part of a year, since the run in disappointment to last season – watching us is a chore now. I no longer wake up thinking “awesome, we’ve got a game today, can we catch up with those ahead of us”. Now I get anxious every time we have a game, now I spend more time worrying about what those below us are going to do. It reminds me of the days of hoping Coventry or Soton won’t win so we can stay above the relegation zone. Mancini has brought me a fear of losing that he has brought to the club as a whole.

I don’t see anything working for us. We’re tighter at the back and that is something I’ll give Mancini some credit for. But we’re fucking dross to watch now, yet with a group of players that logistically should be good enough to take on the best around.

You’ll all bite my head off for this. But I’ve never felt this depressed about watching City. Ever. Not even when Phil Neal was taking the piss.

I should be ecstatic about our day out at Wembley. But because of Mancini and the way he has us playing, I am fearful of what will happen. My gut instinct tells me we’ll turn up and do fuck all for 80 minutes and then lose to a sloppy goal or two. And only then will he decide to go for it. This should be the greatest day in my generation’s history (after 99), and instead the thought of that upcoming game fills me with nothing but trepidation and fear. I remember when supporting City was fun and no matter who we were up against, I knew we would always have a chance of doing something against the opposition. I don’t have the feeling now, and I haven’t since the moment Mancini stepped foot inside the club.

Excuse the badly written post, I’ve had a couple of sherbets to settle the anger so my thoughts are all over the place. But I really cannot take any more of this clown’s input. He’s destroying my club.”

 

 

To be fair KinkyKladze seems to raise some very good points, like for like this seasons points tally is no better than last years yet we have invested a considerable sum in playing staff over the last 12 months. In fact it could be argued that our best performers this year have been indeed players bought by Mark Hughes rather than by Mancini. I would say that the mainstay of our squad consists of Kompany, De Jong, Silva and Tevez however only one of those was signed by Mancini himself. The brand of football on show is indeed also not as palatable as under the previous manager, it seems that even though we have one of the most expensively assembled forward lines the Premiership has ever seen that we still seem happy to play with a 5 man midfield with one up top even when playing the likes of W.B.A. or Sunderland. What is more disappointing for me is that when we play the traditional top 4 teams that we seem happy to setup for a draw in the hope of nicking all 3 points by a counter attack but despite our inability to see this through minus a bit of luck at Arsenal Mancini still thinks that this is the best policy. I am convinced that had we gone for the jugular in the games we have played for a draw then we would have picked up more points than we have along the way, yes we might have taken a few heavy defeats but at least we would have tried. Lets look at the results Vs our 4 main rivals so far. :-

 

14 Aug 2010 – Spurs Vs City 0 – 0

25 Sep 2010 – City Vs Chelsea 1 – 0

24 Oct 2010 – City Vs Arsenal 0 – 3

10 Nov 2010- City Vs Man Utd 0 – 0

05 Jan 2011 – Arsenal Vs City 0 – 0

12 Feb 2011 – Man Utd Vs City 2 – 1

20 Mar 2011 – Chelsea Vs City 2 – 0

 

As can be seen so far we have only picked up 6 points out of a possible 21 against the sides we should be competing with. For me this is unacceptable if we believe that we have a realistic chance of challenging the top 4, would we really have lost any more points than we already have by trying to win? My opinion is that we wouldn’t in fact I believe that we would have gained more. Mancini could in my opinion be forgiven for playing dull football had we been picking up the points but we haven’t, therefore why put the fans through unpalatable football if we are not actually achieving what we set out to do? Only Mancini has the answer to that one.

Next is a quote from our very own Blue On Blue

 

“So Mancini went out for a draw AGAIN..
and we got done over, well that was a big surprise !

Were out of the Europa,
4th place is now looking more unlikely by the week
and were probably going to get embarrassed at Wembley..

Not looking too good is it, the biggest problem for me is if we don’t get 4th we wont be in Europe and that means we’d be less likely to get Mourinho, we need 4th more than we need anything at the moment.

As for Dzeko he’s a fantastic player, he just being badly managed like the rest of the players.
He can only deal with what he is provided with, problem is he is given the ball so seldom, he’s got to the point where he’s in shock when he actually gets it !
He’s literally having the confidence kicked out of him.

Sorry to point out the obvious but you don’t become the highest scorer in the Bundesliga because your a load of rubbish.
The Bundesliga is the closest league in Europe to the Prem, so i don’t buy the argument that their football is of lesser quality either.

Dreadfully disappointing.”

 

Again I believe a very good point has been raised about Mancini with his use of Edin Dzeko. Mancini doesn’t really have any excuses here as it was his signing yet thus far Mancini has failed to play Edin in his strongest position. Correct me if I am wrong but so far Edin has only ever played as a lone striker or has been pushed out wide whilst the team plays with no natural width. For me this goes against every natural strength Edin has, no he should not be playing with his back to goal and no he should not be being used for link up play. This guy has scored goal after goal in the German league through playing off wide support and being in the position to face the goal. City fans seem to be getting  a little inpatient with Edin yet I think that is a little unfair. If we played with two up front and some natural width on the midfield then I believe Edin would start scoring for fun, it is obvious the man would benefit from crossed balls into the box and he has a poachers instinct about him, he needs defenders on the back foot rather than trying to create space for others. For me Mancini has shown a complete lack of understanding of how Edin likes to play either that or he is too stubborn to change his system to suit his own players better.

We are now at a cross roads, we could finish in the top 4 walk away with Champions League qualification and potentially win the FA Cup; that would be a fantastic season. However on the other hand if we keep playing like we do we could end up slipping out of the top 4 and being knocked out by our neighbours; disaster. I just hope we can now turn a corner and come through with the former rather than the latter.

That’s all for today from a deflated blue, in the words of D:Ream – “Things can only get better” :-)

 

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Blue Tones

Tempo, Tempo, Tempo

Posted by on 19 Mar 2011 | Tagged as: MCFC

We are 3/4’s of the way through the season so players should be starting to understand each other, but no surprises we’re still passing the ball around at a snail’s pace. It has made City predictable, easy to defend against and lethargic.

It’s the Serie A, Italian way. Everyone goes on about how great the Italian league is defensively. Is it bollocks. The reason you don’t get many goals is because it takes 15 minutes to start an attack to finishing it.

I’ve defended Mancini to the hilt, and given him support, but there doesn’t seem to be a solution. When I think next week, next week we’ll see an increase in tempo. But next week comes and goes and I’m left baffled.

We have aspirations of being a Barca, but while we do set up in a very similar style to Barca, we are nothing short of a poor man’s copycat, a pub team based on Barcelona if you like, and that’s all down to the boring brand of football we are being served up.

No wonder Serie A just dropped to the 4th league in Europe, anyone who watches Serie A will realise just how painful watching this league is. It’s where skilful players go for an easy time of it and a nice little payday. Take Ibra, Robinho, Eto’o, and Dinho as examples. An average league with average players, who are allowed to look good because of the time given to them.

We’re not in Serie A, and while Serie A continues to fall behind the modern day revolution of football, City and the way they are playing will join them.

Evolve Roberto, increase the tempo, and turn it up a notch or 3, because the way you have us playing will win us nothing in the future, no matter how much money you spend.

 

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Ricster