Published on December 28th, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman1
“Defensive weaknesses a worry” | Ian Cheeseman
I’m generally a very positive person, and I make no apology for that, life’s for living, it’s not a dress rehearsal, so enjoy it!
Watching Manchester City is one of the great pleasures of my life, it has been since I was a boy and will continue into old age.
What a time it is to watch the Blues, with Silva and Nasri every bit as good as Iniesta and Xavi in their pomp at Barcelona, two of the best midfielders I’ve ever seen. Yaya Toure is the perfect midfielder, pace and power, a joy to watch and where do you start with Sergio Aguero, a great player by anyone’s standards.
Going forward City, on song, are as good as any team in the World.
Here’s my concern. In the closer fought games, against title rivals, against the best in Europe, or when the foot is taken off the gas, as it was in the 2-2 draw against Burnley, the defence has to contribute, but I’m not entirely convinced they match the standards of the creative forces within the team.
Joe Hart is a very good goalkeeper, one of the best, but not THE best, and most of the time his contribution is top drawer, and good enough.
Pablo Zabaleta is a clever player, knows his own strengths and weaknesses, gives everything in every game. He’s one of the best, not necessarily the best in Europe, but his plusses far outweigh any weaknesses.
Vincent Kompany is a leader, has pace and power, plays with his heart on his sleeve and is a very good defender, one of the best, not necessarily the best in Europe, but the plusses far outweigh any weaknesses.
Martin Demichelis reads the game better than most other defenders in Europe, he’s calm, assured, and an excellent footballer. He’s not as quick as some (and perhaps not as fast as he once was) but his experience makes up for that in most cases.
Eliaquim Mangala (on what I’ve seen so far at City) looks fast and reasonable in the air, but under pressure he can look un co-ordinated, he’s caught out of position and lunges into challenges when he shouldn’t – he looks clumsy.
Aleksander Kolarov can be an asset when City are capable of overwhelming the opposition, but defensively he looks weaker.
Gael Clichy is an excellent fullback, most of the time his positional play is top class, he works hard, tackles very well and is an asset to the team.
Against Burnley, while the second half capitulation was not just down to defensive errors, the first of their goals was offside for example, I was worried every time Burnley attacked.
I think I’ve expressed enough opinion for one blog, I could carry on, but I don’t want to be negative.
Nine wins and a draw from the last ten games – some dazzling, mesmerising football by City can only leave me breathless, but with bigger challenges to come early in 2015, I can see the odd weakness. I so desperately hope that by the end of the season I can write a blog singing the praises of Eliaquim Mangala – I’d love that – but at this stage, if I’m being honest, I have my doubts.
Happy New Year 2015!