I’ll start with the usual caveat – I don’t claim to know what I’m talking about.
This is the internet, folks. For better or worse, opinion is ‘de rigeur’, and at least we get to decide for ourselves who’s an idiot instead of presuming that because it’s in the public domain it must mean something or be wisdom. Let’s be clear about that. Sadly, we often can’t keep this decision to ourselves, but that’s a rant for another day.
I don’t think it’s fair to berate Mancini from the stands for two 0-0 draws. That won’t make any difference, and we’re doing just fine thanks to other teams doing equally unforgivable and strange things. But having watched fairly closely, I think I can see what might be holding City back from the four points we’ve missed out on.
There is no outright leader. No obvious captain material. Or is there? I see two pretenders to the throne who should take the reins – and the pressure – off Carlos, but more on that later.
Firstly, there are two players I was really chuffed to see arrive at Eastlands, who I would now prefer to see the back of. One is overrated for his contribution to this leg of the journey, the other simply deserves better. Let’s address them first.
Barry. Apart from the odd successful rescue of a lazy midfield mistake, often of his own making, Barry has really gone off the boil. For me, he’s suckling on the Arabs’ teets, and not earning his time at the oil bosom. I could – but won’t – compile a good couple of hours’ footage of Gareth strolling around, watching the ball from a safe distance.
He’s very good at it, but it’s not anyone’s role to do that. Skipping backwards, pretending to be alert when United roll us back just isn’t good enough. We bought Barry for his tenacity, ability to close down, and his gift for picking out the precision pass that puts opposition on the back foot. He scored goals once, too.
Maybe it’s a form thing, and we should be patient. Hughes’ prodigy, perhaps, but there’s also the question if he was a foreign player, would we have been so keen to secure his squiggle or keep him on the list? You gotta ask.
Onto Wright-Phillips. I’ve stuck by the wee charger on many occasions, but I think it’s time for him to move on again. Sure, he’s had limited opportunity to show his value, but his limited talent (thundering into congested spaces and falling over) isn’t going to help us.
A good eye for goal, but recently he hasn’t got close enough to it. Maybe not his fault, but he could go and get regular first-team football in any number of teams, and that’s what he craves because in many ways he’s a proper footballer.
He deserves more of a crack at the England squad, too, which he won’t get slumped in a comfy chair on the sidelines at City. City have become the Chelsea he left for better days.
Oh, and his dad is a full-on berk.
Just my opinion based on recent observations. Hopefully January won’t be too much of a shake-up, but a couple of good swapsies might be just what we need.
Onto leadership, then. Tevez isn’t our leader. Just let him focus on what he does best – being bloody-minded in the pursuit of goals – and inspiring the team that way. Okay, he already does to a point, but I don’t think he needs the armband as a distraction. He has a broken relationship and young children on another continent to tick that box.
Despite his recklessness earlier in the season, I seriously think De Jong is the man for the captaincy. On his day he is a focused, determined and pivotal presence, and for my money, the obvious personality to gel the squad. Even on an off-day he can shout like buggery and make sure someone else is in the right place at the right time if he isn’t.
The only other option for me is Joe Hart. Hear me out. I’ve thought this since he broke into the first team. He’s vocal, confident and seems to have his back-line in order. He’ll heap praise on good defending and pull faces at anything else. And it’s the defence and midfield that need the leadership – the attacking line can pretty much look after itself as long as the service line is open.
Not an orthodox choice, but I reckon it could work.
Oh, one last thing… let Bridge go, too. Didn’t expect to say so, but since the Terry/World Cup nonsense, it has become so obvious I forgot to mention it earlier.
Thanks for your time. As you were…
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