TFN debutant Luke Jarrett takes a look at why the Premier League’s most expensive defender is struggling to settle at Manchester City…
It’s no secret that footballers often need time to adjust to the different pace of life and football in a new league. Even so, Eliaquim Mangala’s flimsiness so far in a Manchester City shirt has looked troubling pronounced following his summer move to the Premier League champions from Porto. It cost the Sky Blues £32 million to bring the 23-year-old to England; a price tag that has only intensified the ferocity of the criticism thrown at the young defender.
After having impressed so many new admirers in the Champions League last year, the highly-rated Frenchman has looked more worthy of the Football League Show than Match Of The Day up against the likes of Enner Valenica and Charlie Austin this season. His sudden fall from grace, and the sturdy promise he showed at the back for his former club in Europe, to becoming a damp squib for City is understandably unnerving for the neutral, let alone those forced to watch on from the stands of the Etihad. Continue reading
James Dutton ponders England’s use of James Milner this summer, and wonders whether he can have a similar impact on the national team as Owen Hargreaves did in 2006…
It’s fashionable to knock James Milner. His sheer unfashionability demands it.
Milner has a certain longevity which is barely credible. He broke Wayne Rooney’s short-lived record as the youngest Premier League goalscorer nearly 12 years ago in December 2002 at 16 years and 309 days. He won 46 caps for the England U21s, over a five-year period, a total that he has only recently passed with the senior side – cap number 47 coming, ironically, filling in at right-back.
He was the recipient of the 2009-10 Young Player of the Year award, in his eighth season as a professional footballer, which says as much about the credentials of that award as it does Milner’s unspectacular consistency in the years leading up to it.
Everyone expected something different from Milner. When a 16-year old breaks the Premier League’s youngest goalscorer record you’re inclined to expect something more fantastical than what Milner has offered during his dependable and steady career. Continue reading
In the fourth installment of ‘Tacticle Your Fancy’, Simon Smith discusses the merits of Manchester City’s Aleksandar Kolarov and explores the idea of a back ‘three and a half’…
This has been a strange week for Manchester City’s full backs. I basically love Aleksandar Kolarov, but I strongly hate the constant popular analysis of him. It’s not that it’s wrong, on Match of the Day when the pundits gather round and highlight his attacking penetration but defensive shortcomings, or when the fans are rightly frustrated when a lapse in his concentration allows yet another testy ball into a dangerous area.
No, that does very well summarize the issue in Pellegrini playing him. The reason I hate that isn’t because of its inaccuracy but for the same reason I detest comparisons between Theo Walcott and defensive workhorse James Milner, why I loathe it when an old reliable like Ashley Cole is held up as an example of what Kolarov should try and emulate. These players play in the same part of the pitch, but they are far from the same position.
So to find myself enjoying not only Kolarov’s performance against the unfortunate Newcastle United on Sunday but also the quality of analysis on Match of the Day 2 was something of a surprise. Was there more detail than usual, a clever insight into his role I had missed? No, just the usual pointing out of his wide attacking overlapping with Silva cutting inside: an interesting feature but one prevalent in many top sides and a regular tactic of Mancini before Pellegrini.
What made the analysis good was what was left unsaid. Kolarov was effectively analyzed as if he was a midfielder in City’s 2-6-2 formation. Continue reading
Rob Pollard, editor of Typical City, painfully recalls Jo’s time at Manchester City…
On the day Jo completed his £18 million move to Manchester City in 2008, Mark Hughes said: “He’s a big guy, in stature and ability, so I think everybody will enjoy watching him play. I think it’s a real coup that we’ve been able to bring him to the club.”
Hughes has concocted some rubbish in his time but that’s up there with his very best.
Jo was an unmitigated disaster. He scored just three goals in 18 appearances for the club – two of which came against Omonia Nicosia in a UEFA Cup match – before being loaned to Everton seven months after signing. Few players have looked quite so out of place in a Blue shirt. Continue reading
TFN regular David Wild finds some solace in the the spirit of San Marino…
“Serious sport has nothing to do with fair play. It is bound up with hatred, jealousy, boastfulness, disregard of all rules and sadistic pleasure in witnessing violence: in other words it is war minus the shooting” – George Orwell – The Sporting Spirit, 1945
As England held their breath last week and the spheres of World Cup Qualification began to move in the favour of Heavyweights and Underdogs alike, another, less heralded game was being played out, miles away from the oceans of expectancy. Despite the lack of TV camera focus and fanfare this was a match that would answer another burning question in the footballing world.
Would this be San Marino’s worst round of major tournament qualifiers ever?
20:00 GMT- 15/10/13 – San Marino lined up against Ukraine having conceded an average of 5 goals per game in World Cup 2014 qualifying, roughly one goal every 1080 seconds. Euro 2012 tournament qualifiers had seen them concede 53 goals without reply, their worst figures to date. La Serenissima faced up this time against the impending yellow threat determined to stand strong.
They lasted 13 minutes before conceding, then shipped another 7 that night. As can be seen in the figures below, this meant that the worrying upward trend of goals conceded per game in tournament qualifiers continued to haunt the ‘whipping boys’ of European football. Continue reading
Anis Bazza, writer for Typical City, reminisces about Elano’s time in Manchester…
Elano arrived in Manchester for a hefty £8m fee back in 2007 and instantly made an impact by assisting Rolando Bianchi on the opening day against West Ham United. I guess it’s safe to say the Brazilian had a dream start at City, hitting wonder goal after another while enchanting Blues fans with his Brazilian magic. Elano quickly established himself in the team and was crucial to the early success of Sven Goran-Eriksson’s Manchester City revolution. His intricate use of possession and his ability to strike a dead ball so well meant Eriksson was heralded for completing such an intelligent signing. Comparisons to City cult hero Georgi Kinkladze weren’t far-stretched either. Continue reading
As the transfer window to end all transfer windows enters its final hours, David Wild looks at some of the recent splurges inspired by Football Manager…
Oscar Wilde once said that “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life”. While he probably wasn’t directly aware of Football Manager at the time he said this, his phrase is just as poignant today when applied to the realms of the Summer transfer window and the popular management simulation game.
Only last week I set up a group LAN Football Manager game in which a friend of mine immediately set about slicing up his Man United squad in order to purchase Bale and Neymar. In many games you can happily snap up four or five of the best young up and coming players of the future, or the big stars of the here and now in one window and watch the resulting team steamroller all before it in the fashion of a rampaging George Elekobi.
But are such crusades, hell bent towards the mass accumulation of talent, bound solely to the realm of Football Manager? More and more we are seeing the real transfer window imitate our own visionary virtual planning; teams snapping up high quality in high quantity.
We can relate to the excitement of such a squad building exercise as it calls out to the Football Manager fetishist within us. We’ve known about these players and their potential for years in advance. Some of them were just 16 year old wonderkids playing in the Finnish leagues when our scouting network picked them up. Continue reading