Writer: Lorna Silva
Date:Sunday October 14 2012
VMC's Lorna Silva issues an international break defensive plea to Roberto Mancini...
So...what's been the problem, what has been going on with City's defence in this campaign?
City's backline was immense last season, clean sheets all round, but the first two months of this season have found many of us asking 'what's going on at the back?'
This has been turning out to be beyond a slight irritation and a worry as we know City can do better, as the clean sheet against Sunderland showed. The tools are there.
It is quite possibly something to do with Mancini himself and his constant changes in formation and his team selections. He tinkered with the idea of playing three at the back in pre-season, and the Community Shield, which in my opinion did not work, despite City's 3-2 win over Chelsea. Furthemore, rotating the centre backs is only going to lead to instability. Also, the loss of Nigel de Jong has considerable weakened the squad and protection of that back four.
Vincent Kompany seems to have a different defensive partner most of the time, would he and City not benefit from a settled defence?
Since The Champions kicked off the campaign, Kompany, up until his recent injury has had no less then three partners, Joleon Lescott, Kolo Toure and Matja Nastasic. Surely, this cannot assist anybody. We are well aware that this type of instability is what led to the downfall of the Rags last season. Mancio needs to settle upon a first choice centre back pairing and ensure that he sticks with them. Stability is everything and routine has to be the norm.
These are just a couple of the problems which have contributed to what I perceived to be a poor start of the season.
Against Sunderland, the City boss started with a four man defence and did not utilise the 3-5-2. Maybe he saw the error of his ways and decided to shelve the idea of that formation. Who knows what he has got going on in his mind with that set up but I guess time alone will tell. We played like Champions against Sunderland and if we can keep that up and get back that spark we will be in for a good run. Another positive is also the fact that we are third in the league and we have achieved that whilst we are not playing at our best, so, if we can do that now then surely 'things can only get better!' (D:ream Niall Quinn)
While I'm at it, rotating the full - backs are of no assistance to Joe Hart either, again, this can be assisted by choosing a settled back line and sticking with it.
Finally, here's a thing. The fact that we have spotted Shinji Kagawa sitting at the Etihad watching City is a little unnerving. Has the capable Kagawa been sent to spot the flaws in our defence and then scurry back to Taggart to report on his findings? On the optimistic and positive front espionage like that can only make Mancio sit up, look and take stock of what's going on and decide upon strong defensive continuity.
I'm certain he'll get it all correct eventually, but sooner rather than later is the cry!
all times East Manchester
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
Sa 03Nov 17h30 West Ham, Upton Park, PL
Tu 06 Nov 19h45 Ajax, The Etihad, CL
Su 11 Nov 13h30 Spurs, The Etihad, PL
Sa 17 Nov 15h00 Aston Villa, The Etihad, PL
We 21 Nov 19h45 Real Madrid, The Etihad, CL
Su 25 Nov 16h00 Chelsea, Stamford Bridge, PL
We 28 Nov 20h00 Wigan, DW Stadium, PL
Date:Sunday October 14 2012
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