Nor do I derive any joy that the bloggersphere has latterly come around to my position on multiple issues. This week, in the wake of the poor Burnley result, the attention is on Joleon Lescott and his poor positional play. It's a subject I covered back in the Summer when the team was pursuing the player in the first place.
This poor positional play is I'm afraid nothing new. Football at the highest level is a game of feet and inches, not yards. If your positioning is not correct then opposing teams will punish you unmercifully. Again as I've noted previously this is Paul Robinson's problem now in goal at Blackburn. He is, and always has been, about a half step out of position. This week a 30 yard shot whistled by him. This will never change.
In the last couple of days Mark Hughes has gone on the offensive against Alan Hansen and other pundits claiming that their analysis is based on incidents within a game rather than the whole game. Lescott has a tendency to play slightly out of position. I can't speak to his play at Wolves but in studying him over multiple matches while at Everton it became fairly obvious to me that he would never be a world class defender. Mark Hughes disagrees obviously to the tune of 24 million and I'd really love to see what the scouting report said on Lescott when the club was making the decision.
Passing, shooting, jumping and tackling can all be taught. Positioning and situational awareness are in my experience something you are either born with or are not. Lescott is a decent player, but he is not in my opinion a player of true quality nor does he have the pre requisites to grow into such a player.
Similarly we have the Stephen Ireland situation. One of the best players in the Premier League last year the new formations have neutered City's best player. I don't understand the logic of creating new systems and tactics if it results in such a player not being on the field and flourishing.
Lastly we come to Elano. He's gone, I get it, not coming back. And if he was the cancer in the dressing room that has been insinuated then so be it. However if you get rid of a player with certain skills then you must as an organization replace those skills. Adebayor, Robinho, Bellamy, Ireland, SWP, Barry and Johnson all have one thing in common. They are at their best running onto a ball that has been delivered. In Elano, City had that player who could deliver them the ball and in the formation that worked the best, 4-2-3-1, Elano could play the pivot as the Attacking Midfielder and allow all of the other players to be brought into the play. City frequently seem bereft of ideas and against Birmingham for example appeared unable to break down the opposing defense.
What each of these situations have in common is one person; Mark Hughes. I understand what he is trying to do with the squad, I just don't agree with it.
Maybe I'm overly critical. The problem that I have is not that things have turned out badly, but rather that the decisions seem so obviously flawed at the time they were and are made. When in my opinion the right decision is made and it turns out wrong, such as the tactics at home against Fulham last year, I'm happy to be in the minority and praise Hughes. It's just I get to do that so few times. Instead we are left with decisions that appear on the surface to be serious errors in judgment and turn out at second and third glance to be exactly that.
Sixth the Chairman said and I still think the team ends up in sixth. Maybe that's good enough.