The Manchester Midfield Debate
VMC's Lorna takes a look at the City and Stretford engine rooms in a head to head analysis of some of the key players tasked with the brief of securing a platform for silverware...
THE CITY MEN IN THE MIDDLE:
14. Javi García, Age 25 has a good sense of passing ability, is not particularly blessed with great pace, never a box-to-box midfielder, but what he does do well is put in the tackles and keep the pressure applied. He is very much suited to a holding midfield role and will cover the gaps while the full-backs move forward. Impressed in his debut performance at Stoke even though he did pick up a yellow card on his first game!
García will play an important role this season and will be part of an elite team of central midfielders. As each game for the Blues gets harder, with all the other teams wanting to take the game to The Champions, having García join the central midfield was a must especially after the tough Champions League Draw and in the wake of Nigel de Jong's departure.
17. Jack Rodwell, Age 21 has a good passing ability and is capable of fine cross field passes to Toure, Nasri and Silva. Likes to keep the ball moving and is good at holding in front of the defence.
Apart from a little 'blip' at the beginning of his City career he comes over as a confident, determined young player and one who is proud to be part of the reigning Champion's squad. In time he will prove to be a fantastic signing for the Blues.
8. Samir Nasri, Age 25 is quick, flexible and good with his feet. Has good control with the ball and suits the position of central or deep mid-field well. He primarily plays as an attacking midfielder and winger. Nasri is renowned for his technical ability, creativity, pace, and ability to read the game.
21. David Silva, Age 26 our attacking midfield talisman, excellent at passing and linking play, holds on to the ball, and is good at through balls and taking set pieces. Almost impossible to stop once in possession of the ball, he has skill, agility and ability to create space. Given the nickname of Merlin, gained through his wizardry of playing the ball and creating chances, he is a joy to watch and a valuable asset to the team. Real Madrid's standing ovation for him this week recognised his growing global appeal.
42. Yaya Touré, Age 29 plays primarily in the position of box-to-box midfielder, has enormous physical presence and is admired for combining speed, passing ability, power and technique. Unstoppable when he goes forward from midfield and has amazing skill striking the ball on the run. As the match progresses he can move from offensive to defensive positions. A force to be reckoned with and a massive danger to opposing teams.
18. Gareth Barry, Age 31
Barry has been sorely missed of late. Left footed, reliable and consistent (quite often viewed as the unsung hero of the Blues), makes short passes so well, excels when playing alongside David Silva and works well with Toure. Barry may not be the most dramatic player in City's squad but the role of defensive midfield is all important and Barry covers it so well. Barry will step up to the plate now he is back from injury and strengthen the midfield.
7. James Milner, Age 26
James Milner can play anywhere. Central midfield holding role, left or right, is strong in defence and makes some key passes, running effortlessly. Well known for being a training animal and doesn't always get the credit he deserves.
11. Scott Sinclair, Age 23
Our speedy new winger looks to have good dribbling skills and favours cutting inside. Not too good at holding on to the ball but he is a young player and will gain vast experience the more he plays with City's stellar squad.
THE UNITED MEN IN THE MIDDLE:
The rag midfield has been bulked up in Taggart's bid to regain his crown and achieve his ambition of 20 Premier League wins.
26. Shinji Kagawa, Age 23 was introduced and made his mark from day one with a style that links defence with attack. He is fast and full of energy. A player who wants the ball to be passed into him up front and direct, he likes time with the ball keeping busy. This is a style that the Blues are going to have to keep an eye on when The Citizens and rags lock horns in December. Is Kagawa a match for David Silva?...maybe!
Silva will no doubt be well aware of how Kagawa plays and no doubt many Blues will have observed this also. The hype surrounding Rooney and Van Persie was massive but without a good midfield, this alliance would not be so imposing. However, Kagawa has arrived as a chance maker and taker.
23. Tom Cleverley, Age 23 is in the position of central attacking midfielder for the rags, again another creator, he puts in a good performance and clearly loves what he is doing, but can be a little too eager in his efforts to score. Determination is good but perceptiveness has to come with it.
8. Anderson, Age 24 box-to-box midfielder, good eye for the ball, has adept ability when it comes to tackles, is tireless, strong and determined. Not altogether a fantastic player but one to watch nonetheless. He has himself admitted that United needed to buck up in order to win silverware this season.
22. Paul Scholes, Age 37 Pretty much good at everything he does; passing, scoring with his left foot, right foot, his head. Has a bit of a record of yellow cards and also for being sent off of course. Scholes himself had said after his retirement that the tackles were to 'get back at players who had fouled him earlier in the game.' The reputation surrounding his tackles led to him often being unnecessarily booked.
16. Michael Carrick, Age 31
Primarily a central midfielder, Carrick has quite distinctive features including his inventive passing of the ball along with his crossing abilities. He does however have a historic ankle injury which periodically rears its head and there are stong possibilities that this will be a 'touch and go' season for him.
11. Ryan Giggs, Age 38
Despite his well known abilities, he remains not one for diving into tackles, still tends to lack concentration and tends to foul a lot. Similarly to Milner, despite turning 39 this November, he continues to run and run. But as with Scholes and Carrick, the clock is ticking.
18. Ashley Young, Age 27
Young has many attacking strengths and like Giggs, he likes to play the ball into the air. Appears to be fouled a lot and is not too hot on the tackling side of the game, neither does he like headers.
17. Nani, Age 25
Remains an erratic attacking threat for the rags. He has many strengths, has a passion for shooting from distance and likes to pass and run. This is an important season for him.
- So there we have it across the great divide.
This campaign could yet develop into another battle to end all battles in Manchester. Fergie is determined to regain his crown and Mancio is determined to hold on to it. Midfield is where the fight will be won and lost.
The strikers at both clubs are awesome but when it comes to midfield which team would you put your money on?
UPDATED UPCOMING FIXTURES:
all times East Manchester
Su 23 Sep 16h00 Arsenal, The Etihad, PL
Tu 25 Sep 19h45 Aston Villa, The Etihad, LC3
Sa 29 Sep 15h00 Fulham, Craven Cottage, PL
We 03 Oct 19h45 Borussia Dortmund, The Etihad, PL
Sa 06 Oct 12h45 Sunderland, The Etihad, PL
Sa 20 Oct 15h00 West Brom, The Hawthorns, PL
We 24 Oct 19h45 Ajax, Amsterdam Arena, CL
Sa 27 Oct 17h30 Swansea City, The Etihad, PL