City beat West Brom 1-0 last night in a lacklustre game which mathematically secured Champions League qualification for the third consecutive season. Here’s a look at some of the talking points from the game.
Mancini Rings the Changes
With one eye on the FA Cup Final against Wigan on Saturday, Roberto Mancini made eight changes to the side that drew with Swansea at the weekend. The only survivors were James Milner, Samir Nasri and Joe Hart. The most notable incomers were Jack Rodwell and Micah Richards who both started after enduring frustrating seasons due to injury. It was an unusual combination of players eager to impress, such as Rodwell and Richards, and those who know their days at the club are numbered, like Edin Dzeko and Kolo Toure, and made for an incoherent, sloppy performance on the whole.
I am convinced that if Rodwell can prove his fitness City have a real talent on their hands. It is a great shame his season has been so badly disrupted by a succession of hamstring injuries as he has all the attributes of a great central midfielder. He is technically leaps and bounds ahead of his midfield partner Javi Garcia, is good with both feet, and has an attacking dimension to his game which suits City’s style of play. With Gareth Barry reaching the twilight of his career, Rodwell could prove to be a more than able replacement, if he can stay fit.
Dzeko Scores but Fails to Shine
Opinion of Dzeko is divided. The majority of City supporters think he is useless whereas many supporters of other clubs think he’s decent. He is City’s top league goal scorer this season but goal tallies do not tell the whole story. For all the time Dzeko is not scoring he is clumsy, slow and lacks basic ball control skills. Some may argue he is a victim of City’s narrow approach play and doesn’t receive enough service from wide positions but for a player who cost £27 million one would think he could adapt slightly. Moreover, if his goal celebration from last night is anything to go by it seems the Bosnian is aggrieved by his lack of playing time. After he scored yesterday he put one finger over his lips to silence, what he clearly feels, is unjustified criticism and time on the bench.
Dzeko doesn’t deliver regularly enough on the pitch. Borussia Dortmund are reported to be interested in him and he would be foolish to turn down the move. His time at City simply hasn’t worked out.
Written by Robert Toole