The Squad Is The Key, Not The First City XI
Regular contributor, Sinbad sent us the following...
There are so many issues in the Vital Manchester City forums about who should play and who shouldn't - for example, who is the best centre back, the best striker etc.
My view is that there will be a different team for different games now that the manager has more options. In that case, there will always be a new fix to enable us to get results from teams who play in different ways. It is likely, for instance that we will play a very different team against Wolves at home than against Manure away.
Also, the players on the bench will be far more important. In fact, the players on the bench can be in some ways the most important. They will be the 'impact players.'
I think Roque Santa Cruz is of that mould, when fit. If you need to change something very quickly, he can be devastating. To be honest I would have preferred Peter Crouch in the role, but of course this is Hughes' call.
The game against Blackburn was a very physical and direct game and Rovers made it very hard for City, especially in the first half when City gave the ball away far too often and too easily. This put a lot of pressure on our defence as Macarthy and Roberts made their presence felt again and again. (long ball after long ball as Sir Troyster noted).
But City didn't concede. In the Premier League last season we only had one game where we didn't concede away from Eastlands. That was a great start yesterday. I don't agree Richard Dunne had a bad game, in fact quite the opposite. Granted, he made a couple of great tackles which almost certainly saved Given from embarrassment.
In the second half the team took the pressure off the defence by holding the ball better and for long periods, which in my opinion looked like the home side with Rovers unable to get the ball. In the end there was 57% possession to the Blues.
All the second half possession showed in the end with Ireland, who often looked like an extra man when drifting over to the far right of the penalty area scored a sublime goal with four Blackburn players almost motionless and outflanked in front of him, seemingly frozen in time.
Yes we need to reinforce the defence to give Hughes more options. But in my view that should not lead to continuous calls for players to be dropped, transferred, sent to Siberia or stood up against a wall and shot!
The point is, we need strength in depth. We will need a strong squad to get the consistency we need to become a top four side.
The best fantasy team of XI players -- over a 50-game season-- will fail. The best squad of 30 players is far more likely to succeed. The question could be whether we want to be righteous, or for City to WIN and achieve its objectives this season in the Premiership.