I Wish City Could Keep All Their Players Except...
Vital Manchester City regular, Wswilly3 sent us the following.
As others have pointed out the 25-player rule is not a problem to Manchester City FC and I would argue that it is an indication of the strength in depth we currently have. If we wished we would be able to keep all our players, with the exception of selling or loaning the following five:
Logan - Etuhu - Caceido - Jo - Santa Cruz...
...and allow Michael Johnson, just until Christmas to play in the reserves so he could gradually improve his fitness.
Among the 25 there would be nine over the age of 21 that are home grown and thus no trouble with that rule either.
So if we wished we could recruit Balotelli and still keep the likes of Richards, Onuoha, Ireland, Robinho and Bellamy. Specifically, our 25 could be:
Goalkeepers (3): Given - Hart - Taylor
Defenders (9): Lescott, Bridge, Richards Onuoha, Zabalata, Boateng, Toure, Kotarov, Kompany
Midfield (9): Wright Phillips, A. Johnson, Ireland, Barry, De Jong, Toure, Vieira, Robinho, Silva
Strikers (4): Bellamy, Tevez, Adebayor, Balotelli
These would be supported by a number of under-21's such as Weiss, Nimely, Boyota, Ibrahim and Vidal
So far so good, but I still think we have a major problem and it is the same one I have been 'banging on' about for the last year, and that is the mix of players that we have and the formation we can play. I am not appeased in this by the rotation argument for I do believe we have a problem in the centre of our midfield if we play 4-4-2.
Are we likely to play 4-4-2? Yes because if we play arguably out best player, Carlos Tevez he has to play in a 4-4-2, as he is wasted and misplaced as a lone striker.
Given we have, say Adebayor or Balotelli or Bellamy playing up front with Tevez, what then becomes of the midfield four? If we analyse the nine on the list - we have two out and out wingers in Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright Phillips, plus four defensive minded mid-fielders in de Jong, Barry, Vieira and Toure. That leaves three more attacking midfielders in Robinho, Silva and Ireland, but if they were to play in one of the two central midfield roles we would be terribly exposed to the counter attack and I don't see this happening - as was shown last season when Mancini took a safety first policy.
An alternative would be to play with less width and use the full backs more in an attacking role but as yet we haven't really adopted this style.
The situation is particularly exacerbated when we play De Jong and Tevez in the same side as this results in a huge gap in the middle of the park and Tevez has to drop further and further back, which is not his natural game. This is why I believe Ferguson was prepared to let Tevez go as he wanted to use him as an impact sub late on in games but understandably, Tevez himself was not mad keen on that role.
So my problem in a nutshell is that our teams shape. Based on the players we have and the realities of the Premiership should be 4-5-1 but the personnel we have and in particular Carlos Tevez, do not support that formation.
Do not get me wrong, I adore Tevez, and in fact he is my favourite player due to his skill, work rate, goals and sheer excitement, but to properly accommodate him I believe the only real option is to sacrifice width and say have a midfield four of say...
Toure - De Jong - Silva (or Robinho or Ireland) - Barry
Yep, its easy to dismiss all of the above by saying we will use rotation but that doesn't address the fundamental problem we had last year and have again this year - what is our natural shape given the players we have?
I re-iterate that it is 4-4-2, if we play Carlos Tevez and a holding midfielder and without sacrificing width we inevitably have to sacrifice our creative midfielder, which we did last year and is no real solution.
Any views would be appreciated, as I see this as our biggest dilemma in achieving what we all want.