Ped's Pre-season Musings (1)
So phase one of the integration process for the new season is over.
Our colleagues in the press seemed to think the world had fallen in when Al-Hilal scored a well-executed goal against an all-change City second-half XI and boy did the deadheads on an all-day sports channel revel in it.
So too did they revel in the 0-0 draw with Dynamo Dresden, especially as Weiss missed what they termed a sitter and later threats came mostly from Dresden.
Last night we moved on to a more viable match against Besiktas, a decent Turkish side that plays reasonably regular Champions or Europa League football and who are no mugs.
Mancini added a larger than average number of first team regulars and this turned out to be a reasonably good match.
But when are City ever going to gain any sort of credit from the broadcasting side of the media? Yes Besiktas should have scored twice in one movement, but is not the net minder every bit as important as any striker? Don't they just simply operate at opposite ends of the field? Aren't their contributions to the match every bit as vital as each other?
Second-choice goalkeeper Pantilimon made two extraordinary saves in last night's match, from two clear cut chances, both of which should have troubled the scorers. But City ended that phase of play still level at 0-0.
Ahead of half time, a move not dissimilar to that which concluded last season saw Razak hold off defenders for the ball to squeeze through to Agueroooooooooooooooo on the edge of the box, who promtply dispatched it into the back of the net.
All we got from the commentator was that it was against the run of play and that City were fortunate to be 1-0 ahead. I contend that you are fortunate if the chance is missed, if you like as Berbatov did twice at Wembley, before City consigned United to the recycle bin. You are not lucky if your goalkeeper has produced marvellous saves, which Pantilimon did last night. That is his job, what he is paid to do.
Imagine the commentator's chagrin when in 'City time' when of all people Captain Fantastic himself brought the ball out of defence in a sprint to the half-way line, passing out wide to Johnson, who returned the ball straight into Vinnie's path for him to draw and chip the keeper. 'Besiktas have reason to feel grieved' was about all he could offer.
Phase One of the pre-season is now concluded and the improvement in play has been noticeable, despite almost the entire side being changed during the courses of these matches.
Besiktas were up for it last night. There were one or two interesting tackles and a bit of a melee which would have ended with shortened teams in the Premier League and City's mixture of Champions and Champions Elect did well to match and beat them.
The show moves on to China and the 'Bird's Nest' Stadium, where they will encounter the shark's fins of Ashburton Grove, City's feeder Club, Arsenal. Van Persie has been left at home. Will he be kidnapped a la Berbatov by Fergie and deposited at Carrington for a history lesson, or will he follow Samir Nasri to the Club with a future? Maybe the next few days will tell us that story.
Why on earth is Adebayor holding out for more money instead of moving to Spurs? Who on earth does he think wants to pay him more that Spurs have offered. In the heights or depths of his inflated self-belief even he must have realised that the inflated pay packets he enjoys from City@Home were a device to get him on board as a stepping stone to Aguero, Balotelli, Tevez and Dzeko and was never intended to be a long-lasting reflection of his value?
Hopalong Santa Cruz now finds himself in a similar situation. Laughably saying he would love the opportunity to fight for a place at City, he is now touting himself out even to the Championship in a bid to get work in the North West. I suspect a reduced fee, reduced wages will deploy Roque back to the lower reaches of La Liga.
Richards for Real? Who's having that giraffe? Having said that what on earth was Pearce doing putting him in a centre back last night against Brazil? BY doing that, Micah's lack of awareness was once again exposed in that position, the upshot being a penalty conceded for levelling the Hulk. By doing that Pearce deprived himself of a wide attacking option which could have provided a threat down the right in much more likely and lively fashion than that provided by Plastic Bertrand. Another English (or British) manager not using his resources to best effect. Marcelo is always good for free kicks so a rampant Richards heading his way would have provided a stream of dead ball opportunities.
And finally.......the biggest misnomer of all. Who really did give him the family name 'Cleverley'? Where are the deed poll boys when you need them?