Wednesday, November 10, 2010

MC + MU = zzzzzzzzz

Man City 0-0 Man United

It would take a horrid little team to have me almost wishing to see Manchester United score yet another late winner. Roberto Mancini has crafted such a team.

I used to resent Mourinho's Chelsea on the basis that a team built on hundreds of millions of pounds in transfers should be hugely entertaining rather than just functional and effective. But this City side makes that Chelsea side look like Barcelona. And they aren't even proving particularly effective.

Their whole game plan seems based on the idea that the opposition will overcommit. United were a bit too clever or cautious to do that, and the game was murdered as a spectacle.

There is an idea expressed in the Guardian by Jonathan Wilson recently ( that Mancini is effectively deploying a strategy that was prevalent in Italy about a decade ago- having seven mainly defensive players, and three attack-minded ones. People say he conforms to an Italian stereotype but at least Juve at the turn of the century had Zidane in the playmaker role. Where is City's playmaker?

To be fair, while City did ostensibly field seven defence-minded players against United, Yaya Toure was clearly given license to get forward to support Tevez. Despite some buccaneering runs, he seems ill-suited to that role. It doesn't help that Gareth Barry and Nigel De Jong provide passing that's about as incisive as Jamie Redknapp's punditry.

With David Silva still apparently acclimatising to the unique rigours of the English game, you would expect Mancini to allow Adam Johnson the opportunity to provide the creativity City so desperately need; instead, James Milner invariably starts and looks busy while doing very little at all.

They're a miserable little team. Their best player is Tevez and even he is more a gifted workhorse than a superstar. They run all night and work hard but they make the creative side of the game look so laborious. Fuck off Manchester City.

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