Published on December 22nd, 2014 | by Daniel Cheeseman0
Manchester City 3-0 Crystal Palace | The City Nitty Gritty
“Who needs strikers?”
We’ve all been worrying about how we don’t have any strikers recently, but do you really need strikers if you’re playing the sort of football that City played on Saturday?
I have to say that it was by far one of my favourite performances by any team this season, and the way in which we moved the ball around and passed Palace to death reminded me of the way that Spain played when they were at their peak.
Before players like Diego Costa were added to the picture, Spain regularly played without a proper out-and-out striker (with maybe David Villa being the one exception) as the rest of the team were so good that they could virtually pass the ball into the back of the net.
I’ve often thought that one day we should try playing without a striker to see what difference it makes, and that day finally arrived on Saturday. Of course, you can’t just expect anybody to be able to play like Spain every time they drop a striker, as you need a team full of top-quality players for it to work, and so the fact that it worked for City shows how great a team they’ve become.
I thought that Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure and David Silva were absolutely phenomenal on Saturday, and when those 3 work hand-in-hand they can break down virtually any defence in world football. I’m especially glad to see Yaya playing so well after his rough start to the season, and he’s proving that he’s got a lot more to his game than just being a powerhouse. I think a lot of people underestimate how good the Ivorian’s vision and passing really is, because while he might not be the one who provides the official assist on the statistics at the end of the game, he’s almost always the one who does the defense-splitting pass earlier on in the play.
Another player who can’t seem to put a foot wrong at the moment is Samir Nasri, and it was an absolute pleasure watching him and David Silva linking up again in midfield. For some reason a lot of people don’t seem to think that Nasri and Silva work well together, and I can’t for the life of me understand why. Watching David Silva and Samir Nasri weaving their way through defenders is like watching Torvill and Dean skating at their prime, and as far as I’m concerned I’d play as many of those sorts of players in my team as I possibly can.
While Milner and Navas are good at running down the wings and sending dangerous balls into the box, most of the time they are very predictable, and that’s where Nasri and Silva are different. It’s virtually impossible to know what’s going to happen next when those two are running at the defence, as they see the game differently to others and very rarely lose possession.
It’s also great to see the defence starting to settle down now, and Eliaquim Mangala has improved a lot over the last couple of games. The way that I look at our defence now is that Demichelis is the technical defender who can read the game wonderfully, Mangala is the powerhouse who uses his physicality to defend, and Kompany is the best of both worlds.
I’d still say that our best defensive partnership is Vincent Kompany and Martin Demichelis, but I have to give credit to Mangala for stepping up to the plate during his absence – as that takes a lot of doing.
Next up we play West Brom, a team who’ve only won 1 of their last 7 games in the Premier League and who currently sit 15th in the table, but as always we can’t go into the game expecting the win. There’s no such thing as an easy game in the Premier League, so hopefully we’ll keep playing the way have been doing in recent weeks and keep the festive spirits high!
Oh, and one last thing – Merry Christmas, Blues!