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Published on March 24th, 2014 | by Ian Cheeseman

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I’m so glad City have Yaya Toure in their team

Earlier this season, after a game against Swansea, Dietmar Hamann, (someone I admired during his time at City) analysed the performance of Yaya Toure. Here’s what he said:

“I just think that at times, especially away from home, he can be a liability because he is a player who likes to go forward… time and time and time again today in the first-half, Shelvey, Bony, De Guzman, Shelvey, we see Shelvey here running off the back of him and they [Swansea City] had a few chances from 20 yards out… here they are too flat, Fernandinho again has to adjust and they get in behind them – this is what defenders don’t want, they don’t want players running at them”

On the face of it, a negative view of Yaya, though under the surface there is a point to be made. Yaya seems to play like a free spirit, he’s not full of 90 minutes of running, in fact in his off moments, he looks languid and we all know that he looks injured when not charging forward with the ball at his feet.

So may things go through him though, and so many times, in big, crucial moments, he’s the one who grabs the game by the scruff of the neck and makes things happen and inspires those around him.

If we want to get into a complex tactical debate, maybe there’s an argument that it’s better to have Fernandinho and maybe Garcia sitting and playing one “out and out” striker, the role Tevez started and Aguero could also be suited to. Behind that you’ve then got Yaya, Silva, Nasri, Jovetic and the options of Navas and Milner.

Let’s not get too technical though, my main point is that Yaya Toure might not cover every blade of grass like Milner does, he might not have the silky skills of Silva or Nasri, but he’s got something very special, and I for one, want that in the heart of my team.

Against Fulham he scored two great penalties and hit another effortless long range special to kill off the opposition.

I chatted to him after his hattrick, and asked him which was his favourite goal. Stuart Brennan, the MEN’s City reporter (and a really good bloke) who was stood next to me as I asked the question, sniggered at the enquiry, but Yaya, very straight faced, answered that the second (a penalty) was his favourite because it was the one that took the pressure off the Blues, who’d been finding it difficult to play the free flowing football we’ve been used to, against desperate Fulham. I thought that was a great answer, from a winner, who’s mindset is to help his team mates “create history”.

Stuart thought Yaya’s answer had been the ultimate joke on me, that it had been dry sarcastic humour. You make up your own mind.

I know one thing though, I’m so glad Yaya Toure is in the City team.

The next two games are going to be HUGE (notice I typed that in big letters for emphasis).

If I’m writing about two successive wins, next weekend, then I’m convinced the title is heading back to the Etihad, but both United and Arsenal are wounded beasts, the Blues will have to be at their best.

– Ian Cheeseman

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