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Is It Time For Pablo Zabaleta?


Blue Lad Scragg sent Vital Manchester City the following article.

Is it the right time for Pablo Zabaleta to step in at right back? Micah Richards was ripped apart by Ryan Giggs last Sunday as City fans watched in agony as all the goals came down our left flank. Don't get me wrong, Micah Richards is a fantastic prospect and many people forget he is still only 21.

Ironically, Richards probably burst onto the scene too quickly for his own good, as he is being treated like an experienced defender. Micah clearly had a disappointing game at Old Trafford but to be fair, he performed well against a strong Arsenal team.

Against Palace he was found wanting defensively struggling against two lively young wingers however, he performed well against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. His biggest problem is his consistency; as he will be brilliant one game and a liability the next, but this is down to his in-experience.

As for Zabaleta, I think he is a completely different player. He has great positional sense and is a much more reliable. Zabaleta can deliver a good cross as well, which is very handy now we have Adebayor and Santa Cruz up front. But he lacks Micah`s pace, power and aerial ability. It is a difficult choice but I think the Argentine edges it.

For Richards:

*Brilliant in the air
*Strong and powerful
*Bags of pace

Against Richards:

*Short concentration span
*Often caught out
*Un-Reliable
*Only useful at right-back although he could go to centre-back
*Clumsy on the ball

For Zabaleta:

*Great positional sense
*Very reliable
*Never gives up
*Good crosser
*Adaptable - can play in midfield

Against Zabaleta:

*Not that quick
*Hasn't got Richards strength - But no-one does!
*Not great in the air

Do you agree or have an opinion on this or any other VMC story? If you do then lets hear it.

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The journalist

Writer: Blue Lad Scragg  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Saturday September 26 2009

Time: 9:44AM

Your Comments

Has anyone noticed Richards techneque. he will stand of oppenents and put hes head almost at waist height and arms length it looks very bizzare it looks as if he is about to rugby tackle his opponent
durham-blue
I've noticed his arms end up in unusual places - yes.
Tudor
here we go - the micah richards witch hunt.
bluemooner_mcfc
Big fan of Zaba's. The boy is as steady as they come. But I'm also a big Micah fan who is Blue through and through.
Johnny Baguette
An absolute excellent analysis of a genuine football issue and certainly not a witch hunt, as the article is very even handed but avoids being ostrich like on the subject. My only other point would be that I think Micah has lost confidence, which stems back to when he was spurned by Fabio Capello. As such I don't think he is mentally right and that I think shows in both his body language and his play. At the moment his distribution is tentative, his crossing almost non existant and he shows 'cool' by lumbering back to his position, as though he is in total control. Like Durham Blue, I think the way he bends forward or even worse shirt pulls is less than helpful. The big question is how Sparky best helps him realise the potential he still has. Moving him to right back hasn't worked and keeping him in the firing line hasn't worked. Why not take the pressure of him for a few weeks, so when he does come back to the first team it will be after a break to get himself right for City and eventually England.
Wswilly3
I too believe Micah needs a rest,he is putting added pressure on Toure as he did Dunne last year,its hard to pinpoint what has happened to his game but he makes me nervous.Oppossing managers seem to be highlighting this and last week he made Giggs look like Messi.Zab is much more reliable with a far better allround game.I think that Hughes may be under a little pressure to play academy players though and Richards will keep his place against West ham,i dont think its confidence but after that first goal last week its more likely just plain arrogance,to much happened to soon for this kid and if anything over the last 2 seasons has gone considerably backwards.
humpty
At this moment in time totally agree with the very good analysis. Micah was a great prospect but,for some reson he has gone backward in the last year or so. I could add to the list that,when he makes one of his exciting foray's upfield,his recovery time is terrible and a gaping hole opens up at the back where Micah should be. Sincerely hope that he can come down to earth a bit and be a valuable member of the squad. Mariner Durban
Mariner
In my opinion Zabaleta isn't good enough and he did nothing to alter my opinion on Wednesday night. He is so slow, plays people onside too much, is a less than average passer of the ball and is a booking waiting to happen - It wouldn't surprise me if he is sold in either of the next transfer windows as I don't think Hughes has that much confidence in him anymore despite buying him. As I've said on numerous threads if Richards isn't the answer then Zabaleta certainly isn't and if Hughes won't play Onuoha at right back then he needs to buy us a new one. I also find it quite anazing that just because we were robbed by the rags that people are again starting to turn on Micah after he was being praised the week before - I don't even see the worst fans in the world from the swamp turning on Foster, Park and Ferdinand for their mistakes in the lead up to our goals last Sunday so why are some turning on Micah again? But I suppose they won the game.
Kevinho
Micah has banged his shoulder which saw him miss the Fulham game. He's battling to be fit for the Hammers.
Johnny Baguette
For me, a full back's role is, primarily, to defend. Nedum is injured at the minute, but he would be my first choice at right back because I feel he is more dependable in his defensive duties. He is quick, not bad in the air, has good concentration and isn't going to get caught in the opposition's half when one of our attacks breaks down. His passing isn't the greatest but it has improved and, for me, he was unlucky to lose his place when he did. The defence is like a sieve at the moment and City need to concentrate their efforts in this area. I think the other end will look after itself. Once Vinny is back in contention I would play him at centre half and push Joleon out to replace Wayne at left back. Left and right back are our achiles heel just now, I feel.
thecamelsfoot
thecamelsfoot - I agree with you about Onuoha being unlucky to lose his place as I would have played him over Dunne in the first couple of matches after his impressive second half of last season. I would also agree with you that I would look to use Kompany primarily at centre half when he returns to the first team picture. I wouldn't play Lescott at left back though and I doubt that Hughes will either and Lescott himself also apparently doesn't like playing there unless it is an emergency measure so I doubt that this will happen. Bridge hasn't done that badly this season even though he is all left foot and he is playing much better than last season. I think that the main problem is that the defence need to gel as a unit as they are lagging a bit behind the goalkeeper, midfielders and strikers at the moment.
Kevinho
Kevinho, I'm sure that come Jan/Feb these problems will have been ironed out. You are right saying the defence need to get used to each other. It takes time. The defence, five players including the goalie, is pretty much half the team. They are all new to each other and need to get to know each other, on and off the pitch. It's nice to be able to discuss which quality player we would leave on the bench. It's difficult to choose between Micah, Pablo, Ned, Kolo, Joleon, Wayne and Vincent. I think if Mark Hughes buys another left back in January, we have a complete set of interchangeable defenders/ defensive midfielders. I'm very optimistic about City's future. It's all coming together much sooner than I thought it would.
thecamelsfoot
 

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