The Buck Stops With Under Performing Players
Vital Manchester City stalwart, Kevinho sent us the following.
I no doubt spent Wednesday night as frustrated as any other City fan as I watched on resigned to the fact that we will be going another season without a trophy. We have been having our best season in years as we reached a Carling Cup semi-final and are currently lying fifth in the Premier League with a game in hand and only goal difference separating us from that all important fourth Champions League place.
Lack of creativity
At the same time I find myself distinctly under-whelmed by some of our performances of late as we have lacked creativity and cutting edge in front of goal and in some ways like any other season I can't wait for this season to end so that we can start again and rebuild for our assault next season as I really can't see us making the top 4 on current form with the way that we are playing.
A lot of people were quick to jump on the back of Roberto Mancini following the FA Cup defeat - being bullied by Stoke some might say and whilst I respect their opinions I don't necessarily agree with them. However the jury is still out for Mancini in my opinion despite him being 1 of about 4 managers who were on my own personal shortlist after we sacked Mark Hughes.
The Italian has a proven track record in Serie A but he now seems to be finding the Premier League a whole different ball game. I like Mancini as a person and really hope that he is the manager to turn City into a major English and European force but I have always harboured doubts about his long term future following the '6 months and then 3 years' comment at his press conference unveiling and the fact that he wasn't really backed during the January transfer window, although this admittedly isn't the best time to do business with plenty of overpriced panic buys usually being the norm.
He may have been the owner's choice as manager but I feel that he got the job because he was available during December unlike other possible leading contenders. I still however live in hope that he can get things back on track in the closing months of the season with excellent displays of attacking football and is still here to bring in his own players in the summer so that we can launch a more solid challenge next season and then he can be more harshly judged but I can't help but think that the owners will dispense with his services too during the summer.
What really grinds my gears?
The people that really irritate me most in all of this other than the British press with their 'build them up, knock them down' mentality and our own official club website which in all honesty tries to make us look like the biggest club in the world before we are even in the top 4 in England with all of their propaganda, are some of the players themselves. It is as if some of them don't give a toss at the end of the day as if a manager is deemed to have failed he will eventually come under scrutiny and will then get the sack but the players still get paid their £80k to £150k a week regardless of what they do on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon or midweek evening.
Money, money, money
Some of them of late seem more interested in inviting The Sun into their homes to brag about how they've spent around £100k on their aquarium and show off their vast collection of cars or to talk about how hard done by that they are as they are only earning in the bracket of £60k to £80k a week and want even more when they have become a peripheral figure of late - Some of these players should spare a thought for the millions of unemployed in the UK who get paid a damned sight less a week for doing about as much as some of these jokers who are multi-millionaires.
If these newspaper stories and contract talks are really that necessary then they surely can wait until the summer so that players can fully focus on football as after all it's what they get paid to do and us as fans, critics and customers can get back to enjoying quality football which is important to each of us. Players really must earn the right through their performances on the pitch before they go knocking on the Chairman`s door doing their Oliver Twist impression by asking for more.
For me the only player this season who probably deserves a pay rise is Carlos Tevez and he is probably one of our highest earners anyway. His goals and never say die attitude from the first whistle to the final whistle are the main reason for our league position in my opinion and we usually look like a one man team when he isn't around, none more so than at the moment.
A major failing for me this season has been the inefficiency of our midfield - It has plenty of bite but very little creative spark. Despite him not being a very hard worker and an alleged bad influence I really feel that we would have benefited from having Elano in our current central midfield set-up alongside so many defensive midfielders as he could often pick out the crucial defence splitting passes.
Steven Ireland is the only player currently in this mould at the club but he has been poor and largely ineffective this season going by the standards that he set for himself last season when he deservedly won the supporters player of the year award. People may point to him not being in the team week in, week out, a bit like SWP too but there has been a very good reason for this, they haven't performed as we all know they can.
The other major failing in the team for me is a lack of leadership in the team. Mark Hughes appointed Kolo Toure as our captain during the summer and I thought that this was a bad move as it guaranteed his place in the team week in, week out; when in my opinion he simply isn't good enough and was a total waste of £16 million. Shay Given and Gareth Barry aren't the answer either as goalkeepers very rarely make good captains and Givens form has dipped a bit in the last 6 weeks or so and Barry has been a big disappointment in my opinion and is lucky to be such a permanent fixture in our first 11 and I dread to think what the added burden of captaincy would do to him.
The ever impressive Vincent Kompany should be captain for me, from the centre of our defence as we could really benefit from a settled back 5 of Given in goal, Kompany and Lescott at centre half, Bridge at left back and Richards at right back - This would hopefully give us the ideal base to build from and push on.
I really hope that we can have a decent end to the season and win plenty of matches as after all our fate is currently in our own hands as we have most of the clubs around us still to play, many of which are at home but one thing is for sure, the players will really need to stand up and be counted from now on, starting at Stamford Bridge on Saturday lunchtime.