A Near Run Thing
Roy Harper gives Planet Blue his take on the state of play and issues a call to arms as a stunning four weeks build to a climax in Manchester on Sunday...
We do have to turn up on Sunday. After that it'll be OK. Meanwhile, a lot of people have noticed 'The Move' in the last few weeks. It's very Italian, actually, you could say Machiavellian, although Machiavelli doesn't really deserve the reputation he has for being the epitome of underhand and deceptive. Most people who have read his book, The Prince, come away from it with the idea that it's just a concentrated dose of common sense. However, back on subject, 'Mancini's Move' is to send the cavalry on without letting the other team know that they've arrived. Result? Usually, they suddenly lose.
When it happens, it looks really defensive, as G Neville pointed out on Sunday last, but it's the opposite, because the cavalry is already on the pitch. It just needs to be brought into the heat of the battle at the right moment. It's truly a deceptive move. It's now too late this season for other teams to plan against it, so it's almost 'fait accompli', but the word ALMOST is still in there. One game to go before success can be heralded.
There has been a bit of luck, and some nervous games, but you need a bit of luck in love and war. Even so, all the way through the recent United game with Everton, I never thought that Everton were going to lose. The fact of the matter is that United are a good team until someone with guts and character stands up to them. Everton have just that. Some would argue that it was just United's attitude that was exposed that day, but I'd disagree with that. I think that United are not brilliant at present, but in Ferguson they have a manager with unrivaled experience who can often carry them with sheer know how.
Mancini is aided and abetted by the unaware stooges he pulls out of the game at the time he wants to send the cavalry in. Johnson, Nasri, Tevez, Silva and Dzeko, have all shown palpable disgust when being taken out of games they thought they were doing ok in. All in keeping with the plan. The more disgust they show, the more the opposition thinks that it's a defensive move, and the more they think they can then win the game. As they watch the substitute circus progress, and a defender come on, they relax. A fatal error. Usually an arrogant mistake.
The cavalry, of course, is a one man affair. Very often he's been warming up for the best part of an hour before he suddenly swings into action. When the button is pressed, Yaya Toure becomes a one man team. Ancient warfare, right up to fairly modern times, has always been fought like this, so this is nothing new. Alexander the Great took 6,000 cavalry into Asia over two thousand years ago. Napoleon devastated the armies of Europe with cavalry once his infantry and artillery had gained the upper hand. He was finally defeated by Wellington in June 1815 when the Prussian cavalry arrived on the battlefield at Waterloo late in the day and literally swept him away. Wellington's description of the battle was 'It was a near run thing….' It'll have been all of that by next Sunday night.
Historically, the art was to hide the majority of the cavalry over a hill a couple of miles away, so that it couldn't be seen. So that the enemy would wade in, up to their eyes in confidence, only to be exposed to a rapid onslaught on one of their flanks that would send them into retreat, and rout.
Mancini has been able to hide his cavalry inside his infantry, and then suddenly produce the coup de grace, seemingly from nowhere. It won't be a surprise tactic next season, but I'd like to bet that there'll be one or two tactical acquisitions this Summer. I don't want to get ahead of myself, but I don't think that Rangers are able to park the bus at the Etihad, and I do think that any of the ten City outfield players can score on Sunday. I'll be wondering whether Sparky has a detectable plan, but I don't think it's his team yet. I'll enjoy it in any case. Yaya 'one man cavalry'. What a spectacle! Vincent Kompany, Infantry General. What a man! Come on City!
Follow City's Final Conflict Against QPR In The VMC Forum This Sunday
all times East Manchester
Su 13 May 15:00 QPR, The Etihad, PL