Yesterday, City played some of the best football they’ve played all season, beating Newcastle 3-1 and showing that we’ve bounced back from last week’s derby disappointment. Here, I take a quick look back at some of the major talking points to emerge from the game.
Some great football played
In flashes yesterday, certainly in the first half, we played some really great football. The amount of times we’ve been able to say that this season compared to last is minimal, but it was brilliant to see nonetheless. Silva, Tevez, Aguero, Yaya and Nasri (before his early withdrawal) were all excellent, as time and time again we cut through Newcastle with style and ease. This is the City we’ve all been craving. Let’s hope we see it return for the remainder of the season because if it does we’ll have a real chance of becoming only the third club to retain the Premier League title.
Lescott or Kolo?
As the teams were announced yesterday, much of the debate surrounded the centre-back pairing. With Kompany out, many, myself included, felt that Lescott should have come in and replaced him. The logic being that he is a far better defender than Kolo, and that he is unlucky to have lost his place in the side given his brilliant campaign last season. Only the superb form of Nastasic has seen Lescott benched.
Mancini, however, moves in mysterious ways and often makes decisions that leave many of us scratching our heads. He likes having one left-footer and one right-footer at the heart of his defence, so he went with Kolo (who I feel is well past his best). It must be said, though, that Kolo was excellent, just like he was when he came on during the derby. Credit where it’s due – it’s not a decision I would have made but it certainly worked.
One of the big plus points from the win at Newcastle was Yaya’s performance. Even the most hardened City fan would have to admit that so far this season the Ivorian has been poor, but yesterday we saw more of the old Toure. His pass that released Nasri for the opener was outstanding, and his general play was back to the powerful, marauding style we’ve come to expect from him. If he starts playing well consistently, we’ll be a different side.
13 starts, 13 wins. That’s City’s record when Tevez and Aguero start together. It’s mystifying then that Roberto Mancini has seemed reluctant to make them his first choice strike pairing.
We always appear more fluid and dangerous when these two are in tandem. They enjoy playing off one another, and seem to know where each other are and what the other is going to do. I have a feeling that they will now start together consistently, with Balotelli left at home yesterday ‘to work’, and Dzeko’s status as a super-sub now surely confirmed. The Bosnian cannot start matches. His cumbersome style stifles our play, and only late on in matches when we go more direct do his attributes become useful.
We score more goals, win more matches and generally look better when Tevez and Aguero start together. Let’s just go with it.