Writer: Daniel Grigg
Date:Saturday October 30 2010
Vital Manchester City newbie, Daniel Grigg sent us the following.
City fans should look forward to a more expressive and attacking team with the news that summer Alexander Kolarov has returned to training and should be playing before to long.
The plan, as evidenced by Roberto Mancini's summer spending and his selections so far this season was to play in the style of the Brazilian team under the management of Dunga, with plenty of solidity down the middle and lots of creativity down the wings. Brazil have since changed this policy after a disappointing World Cup, yet Man City have barely even been given the opportunity to try it, with Lescott, Bridge and even Boyata having to play out on the left side of the defence in the absence of Kolarov.
The 24-year-old injured ankle ligaments during his City debut against Tottenham on the opening day of the season and has since not been seen on the pitch. His strength and attacking intent down the left have been missed, both defensively (mistakes like Lescott's tackle which nearly gifted Ameobi a penalty and Bridge's poor touch giving Song the chance to score last week, spring to mind) and as far his ability to cross the ball into the box.
One of those deceptively quick players, Kolarov might not look like he has the flair of a quick little full back like Ashley Cole or Daniel Alves, but he'll make sure he's often their in useful and advanced positions, offering an opportunity for City to widen the pitch or a distraction for defences to allow Silva or Milner or whoever is on the left side of midfield to cut inside with the ball instead.
What's more is that Kolarov, who lets not forget did cost £16 million, is a match for any left back in the Premier League in terms of his defensive solidity and the quality of his tackling. Even with the defensiveness of Mancini's formation, in recent weeks City have begun to leak goals a little, with six conceded in the last three games in the Premier League. I'd certainly argue that the midfield is only so defensive because of the weaknesses in defence which have been very costly in the last couple of seasons.
With a solid defence of Kolarov, Kompany, Toure and Boateng for example it may finally give Mancini the opportunity, not that he'll necessarily take it, of switching to a 4-4-2 formation more similar to that used in recent weeks by Chelsea and Manchester United. A formation which would be perfect for playing what could be a superb partnership upfront, with Balotelli and Tevez ahead of players like David Silva feeding them, which could push City onto another level where they'd be able to rip teams apart going forward while remaining very solid at the back.
I don't want the team to be too attacking like they were under Hughes, but to win the Premier League you should be able to rely on the fact that an expensively assembled defence should be able to keep goals out without the need for three defensive midfielders helping them out.
Date:Saturday October 30 2010
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