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Manchester City
Posted by Wallace Poulter on 01/22/2012

I made the point before City played United that regardless of the outcome it was only three points. That was true whether City lost or in that case won 6-1. It's still true and yet today's game against Spurs feels like more.

It shouldn't. It's still only three points, but every season there is normally a pivotal game for a side. One match that you can point to and say it helped to define the season. It can even be a loss as it was when City played United in the league cup a couple of seasons ago.

And my sense is that this is the one. As expected City have lost their early season momentum. That shouldn't be a surprise as Mancini's team were playing at an unsustainable level. It's unfortunate that the such a stumble should have occurred when there were crucial matches against United and Liverpool, but again January is usually the time when this occurs.

Regular readers know that I've been harping on the need for a world class defender to be added to the squad for a couple of years now. Unfortunately with Kompany and Toure out we've seen the result of the failure to do this. I don't think anyone is awed by a Lescott and Savic pairing.

And Spurs are a really good team. Their midfield may well be the best in the Premier League and in Bale, Modric and van der Vaart they have three of the top ten players currently playing in England. One player who has caught my eye though has been full back Kyle Walker. I think it is he, rather than Glen Johnson who I consider vastly over rated, that will keep Micah Richards out of the England squad in the near future.

Weakness in the centre of the defense, Yaya Toure unavailable, a very useful opponent and a dip in form all lead to today. Win and I think City go from strength to strength. Lose and this goes down to the wire and the last few games of the season, possibly the last when a certain Mark Hughes will return with his new QPR squad.

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Posted by john bailey on 01/22/2012

Rubbish, with yaya our midfield is by far better than spurs and lescott isn't that bad. but I agree it may well be a pivotal game for us, have faith in mancini..

Wallace Reply I think City's is the second best...

Posted by Jon on 01/22/2012


In case I die of a heart attack in the next 5 minutes, another excellent article. This was the best game of football (the second half at least) that I've seen all season. I've been one of the few people defending Nasri, and I believe he will come good. His movement was excellent today, and a stunning finish to boot.

Anyways, looking forward to Anfield now, I hope Mancini can inspire the lads to go on and win there...

Oh, and there goes the heart. In the last 13 hours I've watched my country score a 97th minute winner, and my club score a 95th minute winner. Too much!

Wallace Reply Was a very interesting midfield battle...

Posted by Don-X on 01/22/2012

Hello Wallace,
It is good to have you back !
It is even better to see Man City rising to the occasion and win that important game against Spurs.
I cannot stop thinking that you are on target with the suggestion of another top class central defender with a 1st class midfield player for ManCity. Again, today, Savic is proven to be the weakest link in that back four, and with an Edin Dzeko not stepping up to the task ( once again ). Edin may be more mature than Balotelli but he happens to be a bit lazier too! with too often to my liking : a poor first touch + poor shot on goal! I hope this is a temporary phase for him. Kompany and Toure are surely missed ! ... when should we expect to have the Toure brothers back anyways ???? ...

Wallace Reply The Africa Cup of Nations ends on the 12th of February so it is possible that they will be back until the first leg of the next phase of the Europa League against Porto.

Posted by Warra Mean on 01/22/2012

Our MF clearly outplayed theirs this game

Wallace Reply True, Milner in particular.

Posted by Marty on 01/22/2012

Have to disagree about Van der Vaart, who I consider vastly overrated. Walker also failed to track Nasri's run for the goal and offers less than Richards going forward. What was interesting is that City usually attack down the right, but that was stopped up with Bale (originally a left back) doing well to track back against Richards. Despite the second-half goals, City didn't create many chances and I think the fact that our strongest side was neutralized was the reason.

Wallace Reply Walker did not have a good game, but I've been impressed with him overall this season. Agree with your assessment regarding Bale/Richards but it also had a lot to do with Milner having defensive duties and Nasri playing in Milner's normal spot.

Posted by Ohio CITEH on 01/22/2012

I think this was a huge win just to show the rest of the EPL that City are not going to stay down even without 2 of their most pivotal players. Wallace are you surprised by the lack of continuity between Dzeko and Aquero? I see no communication between them during games.

Wallace Reply Aguero and Dzeko seemed to work well early but now appear to be moving into the same place within the box. There needs to be an understanding that one goes near post and the other far or that will continue to be an issue.

Posted by SAM on 01/22/2012


Is it just me or is Savic really scary to watch. His ability to head the ball is lacking. Everytime the ball is in the air by him it is an adventure. I believe Modric outplayed him for a header today. Against QPR he was horrible in the air and now again against Spurs. Among the other things he seems to do out there ie the little deflections and such leading to scoring chances like the one today in the 92nd minute. Overall he is decent when the ball is at his feet. Lescott makes me nervous enough but Lescott and Savic is too much to deal with. Against Wigan that pairing barely works against a better team like Spurs it almost cost us two points if not all three. We will see how Wednesday shakes out against Liverpool.

Wallace Reply Savic generally is pretty solid on the ground making the simple play most of the time. That I like in him, but as you say in the air seems to be a problem. If I were Liverpool I'd pump long balls into the box as many times as I could.

Posted by Stan on 01/22/2012

I expect Balotelli and Lescott to be banned by the FA, adding to Mancini's selection woes. You're correct about this match being pivotal for the title race, though. Tottenham comes within inches of a likely victory, and then Balotelli scores the winning penalty at the death.

Savic sure looks like a weak link in defense, doesn't he? What a blunder.

Wallace Reply Lescott for certain. Balotelli will be interesting. I think it was a deliberate stamp, but as in no way did he look at Parker it may well be argued that he was pushing his foot down to regian his balance. It looks bad in slow motion, but in real time it looks like he's trying to not fall. If it wasn't Balotelli I think he'd get the benefit of the doubt, not sure if that will happen with the FA.

Posted by Butler on 01/23/2012

Heart stopping moments. I was absolutely disgusted when we threw away a two goal lead. TWO goals! No offense to Savic but he's simply not cutting it. there's a saying that you need to take your chances, but he's blown his.

Wallace Reply City need an experienced defender. I think Savic will come good, but a veteran is needed.

Posted by Cody on 01/23/2012

the first question on everyone's mind was who will replace yaya toure's combination of finesse and power on offense and defense going into the last few games, and i think we have an answer. Milner. He has the box to box capabilities. what he lacks in power and pace he makes up for with effort. i always thought he was the natural fit and it's no wonder our midfield has looked better the last 2 games with him in the yaya role, as opposed to sticking in de jong as just an extra def mid

Posted by Hari on 01/24/2012

good to see you back....I cant imagine what the center pairing will be like if lescott is banned too?- any ideas?- will we need that veteran defender on loan i suggested earlier?

Wallace Reply Somewhat inexplicably the FA have chosen not to charge Lescott.

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Wallace Poulter Wallace Poulter is an award winning video game producer, designer, industry consultant and writer. He has been a football fanatic since the day he moved in next door to Brian Clough. "Cloughie" being the acknowledged genius that he was promptly moved out and went to manage Derby. A serviceable senior school left-back in his youth, Poulter played one season of Sunday league football as a striker proving conclusively that he was a serviceable senior school left-back! Today Poulter remains involved with football as a licensed referee and most recently as a consultant on a Football MMO.

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