Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Thursday March 6 2008
A month ago on sunday a tidal wave of Euro-optimism engulfed Sportcity. Two pisspoor home results later, it's clear City have to start playing on a different wavelength if we are to qualify for Europe...
Svennis was right when he stated recently that City's system had been sussed out by our Premier League rivals. However, I would dispute with him that this has been a recent development. I suggest it started just before the turn of the year. And it's precisely that reason, and our team's subsequent inability to smoothly change the system mid game, why we head into the last 10 games of the season with something of a mountain to climb.
Of course, if we would have been offered this position last summer we would have been absolutely delighted and it would be foolish to overly criticise the club's management who have transformed our team's fortunes and built solid youth based foundations for the future. But frustration over an overly cautious system and approach, particularly at home is thoroughly justified.
I was a big critic of Stuart Pearce playing a lone striker at home and Sven's failure to shake things up last weekend for Wigan Athletic echoed those unimaginative days.
83% of our site visitors agree we have stagnated.
The European style lone striker with 'one in the hole' system is really only fully effective if you have the players firing and creating on all cylinders to pull it off. That's not been the case for a while with City and the system's failings were brutally exposed against combative sides like Everton and Wigan.
Certainly the old 4-4-2 system is rarely seen in modern top flight football but there is a clear need now for City to mix things up if the squad are to get a deserved reward for all this season's hard work. Of the current top ten sides, only West Ham have scored less goals than us so the need to create more chances is paramount.
I'm going to throw some solutions and ideas into the air now with one eye on the future. Who knows, a bolder City might catch a few teams off guard before this season is done.
I think the powerful looking Caicedo warrants a start now and I would immediately start him in the Petrov role at Reading. Wide on the right in a Beckham style role, I would play Elano. I would then push in a second striker to play alongside and off Benjani. Castillo, Sturridge and eventually Bojinov would get my vote.
In the engine room, I'd settle with Hamman or Gelson breaking up play and Johnson driving forward until the end of the season. I still think we need more fire in there and one of my Blue Brothers who reads the game very well has suggested a future Richards-Johnson axis. Why not? I understand that worked very well at Academy level but should it continue to be decided that Richard's pace and strength are better utilised at centre half, then this summer we are going to have to recruit a top drawer midfield hard man to take the weight off Hamman alongside a proven midfield schemer.
It pains me to say it but right now Ireland and Vassell are not at all at the races and unless they both dramatically increase their effectiveness then they will have to go.
We can do this. Four games at home and six away, 30 points to play for. Our top flight status is secure. Nothing to lose.
Give it a go Svennis. City fans will always appreciate and reward a side that goes for it.
Date:Thursday March 6 2008
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