Another cold Wednesday evening in Hyde, and another City reserve game at Ewen Fields. Despite my hopes that with the schools being back it would mean less kids, sadly they were still out in force, but I had learnt my lesson and situated myself away at the back of the Main Stand with various scouts, one I think from Leyton Orient, someone who was possibly Eddie Howe, the new Burnley manager, and a couple of first team coaches from City – all the big names!
I can really see my visits to see the youngster’s play becoming something that I really enjoy, what the games lack in atmosphere is really made up for by the determination and passion shown on the pitch.
Today the match I enjoyed was City – Wigan in another local derby. The game was a tough battle, and in many ways might be similar to what the first team will find themselves up against on Saturday when they too will play Wigan. The Lancashire side set about mopping up and soaking up pressure with various attempts to catch City on the break, they were organised and defended well.
City had lots of possesion but found it difficult to break down the opposition, however their perseverance eventually paid off with the young City side winning the game 1-0 with a late goal from Swede John Guidetti. The only other thing of note was what looked to be a serious injury to Gai Assulin, he was hurt by a late tackle towards the end of the game and had to be stretchered off, at the time of writing it appears that the injury might not be as bad as first thought, but it looked very serious at the time.
As I always say though, the idea of this feature is not to give you a description of events on the pitch, it is supposed to inform fans about ones to watch and ones to avoid in future, so lets get on with it!
We will start with home side, Manchester City, who caught the attention this week, and who failed to deliver:
City played 16 year old Courteney Meppen Walters at left back, and he looked a very impressive prospect. He is very tall and was capable of clearing any high balls that were in his area of the field, out-jumping opposition wingers and forwards very well. The attacking side of his game was impressive too, he attacked well and put in a couple of decent crosses (a couple of poor ones too, something to work on). He was quick with and without the ball and also strong, and he used this strength well to tackle but also to hold off opposition players when he had the ball.
A defender that has appeared on the substitutes bench for the first team recently is Reece Wabara who I was interested in watching since he appears to be close to the first team. The 20 year old looked very assured at centre back and had many attributes that could help him become a good quality footballer. On the physical side of things, he has pace, power and strength, but there is more to being a good defender than that. He also appeared to have a good footballing brain, he marshalled the defence well alongside youngster Frederic Veseli. His marking was good and he dealt with what Wigan had to offer very well, he looks like he could have a decent future ahead of him to me.
City reserve captain Scott Kay also caught my eye as well. A member of the squad that travelled to the USA in preseason, he appeared a few times and he looked fairly solid if not spectacular. His role in front of the defense mopping up is vital and it is something that Kay did well last night. You don’t tend to notice him too much but I suppose that is to be expected, what he does do well is the simple things. He fills gaps in the back line when needed, he keeps the team ticking with simple passes and whilst the passes he attempts are rarely defense splitting, he picks passes well and does it simply.
Sadly there was a performance which was less than stellar, I decided to not mention Andrea Mancini last week, I thought i’d give him the benefit of the doubt to prove me wrong, but sadly in the 2 games i’ve seen I can’t see him pulling up any tree’s. There are some good things about the forwards game, he plays from wide and takes up some good positions, but his touch isn’t the best and he has a tendency to really over complicate things rather than just taking the easy option. He also doesn’t look a particularly accomplished finisher with him blowing a couple of chances where he was played in well by his team mates. I would never wish to totally trash someone in this feature, but Mancini doesn’t look great on the evidence of what i’ve seen and should his father not be in charge of the club, I am not sure Andrea would be at Manchester City.
A quick round up of other good City performers, John Guidetti lead the line well, he isn’t the quickest, but he is strong and has a decent touch. Gai Assulin again looked an interesting prospect, he kept the team ticking over, and whilst he wasn’t as good as the week before he created some good chances.
Well that pretty much wraps up City, which Wigan players are worth taking a look at?