Writer: Tranmere Loyal
Date:Monday August 1 2011
The Dublin Super Cup gave two very different City sides rigid workouts over the weekend. Drawn to oppose the Airtricity XI and then Inter Milan, Roberto Mancini was able to field a realtively youthful team against the hosts and a starting eleven against Inter. Both matches produced favourable 3-0 victories for the Blues.
On Saturday afternoon we saw Adam Johnson, SWP & Gareth Barry line up alongside a host of future City stars. The first half was probably quickly forgettable but after the break City stepped up the tempo and the seniors amongst them took hold of the game.
A fantastic over the shoulder volley from SWP started the scoring. He was also unlucky to have an identical effort chalked off for offside not long afterwards.
Adam Johnson made it 2-0 with a typical effort just inside the post and finally the hitherto unknown Scapuzzi beat the keeper to a through ball and lifted it into the net to make it 3-0 at the end of the match.
The second half introduced us to him and we also saw other juniors such as Suarez get into the act. He looks like a blue replica of David Silva. He has that ability to lose markers and drift into space where there is none. Quick feet and accurrate passing are amongst his attributes.
Juan Roman is another who looks the part. I've seen him a few times playing for the EDS and again he is in the Silva mode.
Guidetti perhaps tried too hard and everything he tried didn't work for him, plus he did have a tendency to get himself caught offside too much.
But all in all this was a excellent performance by this team and a superb opportunity for City fans to look into a window for the future. The garden certainly looks rosy.
Moving on 24 hours and we came face to face with Inter Milan, who had beaten Celtic on Saturday in a match which was taken so seriously by Inter that they not only had Thiago sent off but played as though they hadn't forgiven the Hoops for the 1967 European Cup Final, where Celtic overcame an early penalty by Mazzola to win 2-1 thanks to Lennox and Chalmers.
So City knew that Inter would 'mean it'. Mancini sent out a Premier League starting XI option minus new signing Sergio Aguero.
The set up was 4-4-2 and theplay was similar to the opening 30 minutes of the match against LA Galaxy. City were in total command of this match with Silva and Toure governing midfield ot the extent that it looked as though Sneijder wasn't playing.
Silva was at his magical best weaving passes around the field. Yaya broke up and set up play in the midfield areas and pushed forward. De Jong was imperious in the defensive department. Milner was the 'wide' option and given the company he was in looked more accomplished that we have seen since his tenure at Eastlands began.
Joe Hart was largely untroubled thanks to the line in front where Kolarov had his best game for a while, Kompany and Lescott kept the door shut and Richards provided attacking options as well as being a tough defensive opponent.
Up front the duo of Balotelli and Dzeko looked productive. Indeed both of them scored excellent goals and both had others chalked off for offsides. Adam Johnson completed the scoring making it 2 in 2 days for him.
It is definitely a measure of City's progression that they won this match, against one of Europe's elite sides so convincingly. It was no fluke. There was a fluency about their play and chances abounded against seasoned Champions League defenders. Eto'o had a couple of half chances but didn't look likely to score and Sneijder was simply over ran in midfield.
Let us not forget that a similar fixture at a similar stage of last pre-season saw City lose 3-0!
Mancini made one or two changes in the second half, bringing on Denis Suarez and Karim Rekik, but at no point did City look like surrendering control of this match.
Balotelli looked awesome and Dzeko, now having City playing to his strengths rather than him being a sideshow to Tevez, looks a different and more confident footballer.
So all roads lead to Wembley where next week the season's first Derby rolls up. Ferguson says he will treat it like a pre-season friendly. Somehow I think not...
Date:Monday August 1 2011
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