The Improved Form of Javi Garcia

In recent weeks I have developed a fondness for Javi Garcia. The Spanish midfielder who, during his time at Manchester City, has consistently proved that he cannot cut it in the English game has undergone quite a transformation in recent weeks. The mere mention of his name caused panic amongst the City faithful at the beginning of the season but now his presence in the team is a lot more palatable.

Since the loss at Sunderland early in November, City have won all but one game and Garcia has turned out some decent performances in that time, particularly against more patient European opposition like Viktoria Plzen. He was also a vital component in the excellent 3-2 win against the slightly less patient and slightly more world class Bayern Munich at the Allianz Arena.

Garcia’s ability to read the game and his tidy passing have compensated for his lack of pace meaning he shields the back four well. Though he starts most games from the bench, Manuel Pellegrini has deployed Garcia as a sub to great effect.  City are able to switch from four to five in midfield with Garcia sitting in the holding role which has been particularly useful away from home when City concede more space to more adventurous oppositions. The game against Swansea on Wednesday was a prime example of how useful Garcia has become. Swansea enjoyed too much time on the ball in midfield and it is no coincidence that City saw the game out comfortably (bar the last minute Swansea goal) after the introduction of Garcia.

It’s all a far cry from the beginning of the season where Garcia filled in as a makeshift centre-half to compensate for City’s injury ravaged defence. The away defeat at Cardiff City epitomised the general feeling of distain that most City fans, including myself, felt towards Garcia. That coupled with more equally unconvincing displays at centre-half lead to something of hate campaign towards the former Benfica man. In his defence (pardon the pun), his natural position is central midfield and at some point throughout the season most of our actual centre-halves have had moments or performances they would rather forget. Since he has been deployed in his natural position his performance levels have improved

Garcia is never going to be a world class player but his performances of late deserve praise. Pellegrini also deserves credit for bringing the best out of him and persisting with his selection whilst others scratched their heads. With Jack Rodwell’s hamstrings ensuring that he is almost permanently sidelined, Garcia’s form and fitness is vital for City during this glut of fixtures in the winter months. After all, the options in defensive midfield are worryingly thin after Garcia. There is every possibility that he could be sold at the end of the season but in the meantime he deserves the support of the City faithful.

Written by Robert Toole

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16 comments on “The Improved Form of Javi Garcia
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  3. He was one of our best agains the Hammers, broke up play, won every header, every pass reached a man, nearly scored twice, gave Yaya a platform to boss the game. Not flash, not quick, not a central defender is probably true but he might just be the type of player that needs half a season to bed in.

  4. Whether he is world class or not isn’t the issue. We have plenty of players in our squad who aren’t even approaching world class but they can do a very good job for us when needed. The problem with Garcia is that he is barely Premier League class at all. You may feel he does a reasonable job and that he has improved a lot. We may well find out if Fernandinho gets a bad injury at some point. Would you be confident enough in Garcia’s performance levels to believe we could win the title if we had to rely on Garcia starting for 5 or 6 weeks? I don’t think we’d have a chance.

  5. You have to be kidding. Garcia was terrible against Blackburn, was awful against Plzen at home, slowed our play down so badly that we almost didn’t manage to beat Palace at home. So in what games exactly has he had a decent input? He has come on in a few matches when we were winning and to a small extent may have helped us see games out but just as often, like at WBA, he comes on when we are winning and the game takes a turn in momentum when he comes on. Hamman on MOTD seemed to thinjk he came on and was instrumental in us beating Swansea. I had a slightly different take. He came on just before Kolarov scored our third, that knocked the stuffing out of Swansea and for 20 minutes they did nothing and it was extremely easy for Garcia not to be a liability. However, interesting to see in Swansea’s late goal, Garcia made his usual half hearted effort to close down/challenge a player which led to Bony receiving the ball in space, Fernandinho tried a last ditch tackle but Bony scored. Garcia not only doesn’t shield our defence effectively, his mere presence on the pitch slows our tempo down to the point where it kills our game stone dead. You should try looking at the games he has started for us in the league, almost all of them are poor City performances and it is no coincidence. He seems to cope marginally better in Europe occasionally but basically he is still as terribel as he ever has been in a City shirt.

  6. As he is starting from such a low base, even slight improvements although positive do not make him worthy of a place in the first team. Lets not make alowances for anyone, to win the league and the champions league, all of the prayers need to be the real deal, and Garcia I am afraid is not.

  7. For what it’s worth I think the article a fair reflection and some of the comments head shakingly ridiculous, typified by ‘Malkies’ comment ” Pound for pound, the worse City player I’ve seen, and I’ve had a season ticket for the last 32 years.”

    Last season and the season before it was Aleks Kolarov that had the ‘mindless tendency’ howling their abuse, now it’s Garcia.

    The balance of the article comes towads the end when the man writes, “Garcia is never going to be a world class player” and that’s true, but like many before he has taken time to settle and has become a useful sqaud member able to do a job.for the team.

    When I try to decide between two factions I look to see the quality of the folkd on each side of the divide. On the one hand there is Pellegrini, a man I have come to like and whose judgement I trust. On the other hand there’s the likes of Malkie.Brown and Geo.

    Tough choice eh?

    • It’s not a tough choice – Garcia is shocking he’s a complete liability who should have no place in our squad. His lack of pace and poor passing really let down our midfield unit – I for one cannot wait to see the back of him and hope his recent outings have only been to try and boost his price when we come to offload him – which for me can’t happen soon enough

    • I think the excessive comments here are coming from apologists for Garcia. “Hate campaign” might be justified for the treatment that Lescott received from a minority of so-called City fans but not for honestly expressed views on blogs like this. Garcia cost £16m and is 26 years old and so should be at or near the top of his game. I agree Pellegrini has made a tremendous difference to some of the squad (look at how Nasri has improved) but you can’t really point to any improvement in the way Garcia plays. Accepted he has played out of position in some games but he played in position at Blackburn and Palace and his contribution was minimal. He wasn’t really put under much pressure in either of these games so I wouldn’t confuse two distinctly average performances as evidence of improvement. Look on the MCFC official website and you will see he made no successful tackles in the Blackburn game (none at all!!!)

  8. Thanks for the comments. In my opinion they typify the hate campaign that Garcia has endured. He is by no means a great player but his performances levels have improved, as have several other players under Pellegrini. I try to be fair with my assessment of our players without relying on preconceived ideas on their ability. Using the Blackburn game to criticise Garcia is unfair as it was a poor team performance.

  9. Garcia has never improved. He is appaling. Slow in every sense and thus is never able to make a tackle, his passes are always bobbling and take an age to reach the intended target which slows our entire attack down. Ridiculous article. 48,000 fans cannot all be wrong about this clown.

  10. Is this article a joke? far too early for April 1st, Garcia has somehow managed to convince the entire world he’s a footballer, and I can only guess what kind of blackmail material he has on Pellegrini for him to be included in the first team squad so often. Pound for pound, the worse City player I’ve seen, and I’ve had a season ticket for the last 32 years

    • Just seen your April 1st comment Malkie after posting similar comment. Maybe I should have said first cuckoo of Spring or something. Completely agree with what you say. Couldn’t understand why Pellegrini subbed Fernandinho and not Garcia. I wouldn’t have though we need the revenue from a replay.

    • “Pound for pound, the worst City player I’ve seen”

      That is ludicrous. You’ve been watching for 32 years and you can’t think of a player ‘pound for pound’ worse than Garcia?

      I can’t be sure, but I think this might be part of the unreasonable and unwarranted hate campaign that the article talks about.

  11. Garcia was absolutely appalling against Blackburn. All over the place and his passing atrocious. Apart from that he played a blinder. Unfortunately seeing is normally a pre requisite for playing Premier League football.

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