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Manchester City
Posted by Wallace Poulter on 08/14/2012

I've never understood why City picked up Samir Nasri. City already had David Silva and needed a good backup rather than another starter. Occasionally Nasri shined last season, but invariably at the expense of James Milner, which seems a complete waste. And then I watched the Community Shield and simply put, Roberto Mancini is a very smart manager.

From the moment David Silva signed with the club I expected Carlos Tevez to leave. As I've expanded upon before, Tevez has a tendency to come back into the space where Silva likes to create and playing a 4-2-3-1 there's no one up front when Tevez drops back.

City work best with a creative force in the central attacking midfield position and if Aguero is in the line up then he ends up out on the left in the three-man midfield if Tevez also plays. And if Tevez doesn't play he's going to have a snit; it's the way the man is.

While Silva has a tendency to play the superbly timed through ball, Nasri is more of a quick passer with a desire to dribble into position with all kinds of forward runs. And there's the solution staring us all in the face. If you play a 3-4-1-2, which City did against Chelsea on Sunday, then Tevez and Aguero can both play up front with their constant movement and Nasri's forward thrusts actually compliment the two Argentinians, causing defenders no amount of trouble. I don't expect it to work with Silva, he's not the same kind of player, but Aguero, Tevez and Nasri is a useful combination in this specific instance.

Should City change formations depending on the opponents and circumstances then I can see Tevez and Aguero being the regular starters - which must scare the rest of the Premier League silly - and depending on the formation Nasri or Silva will play, which should keep both of then fresh.

Whether such a packed midfield will constantly work against a better performance than the one Chelsea turned in is of course the question. Other than Fernando Torres I was singularly unimpressed with the Chelsea side, particularly Eden Hazard who fell over at the first opportunity. As a football fan though it was wonderful to see Torres back with some of the confidence from his early Liverpool days. Brilliant striker and a rebuilding Chelsea - which is what they are even as Champions League Winners - with Torres in full flow is a very dangerous side. I think we'll see better than fifth out of them this year.

Back to Sunday and the three at the back works with some players. Vincent Kompany is a rock of course and with Nigel de Jong in front of him, there was little opportunity for Chelsea to break through. Where opposing clubs will have success is if Pablo Zabaleta gets out of position often and isn't covered by Alexsandar Kolarov. Whomever plays the right central back position, probably Micah Richards, will not have that issue with Milner in front of him as Milner does an immense amount of tracking back.

Speaking of Kolarov, the Serbian was a revelation and it is plainly obvious that his best position is as a wing back rather than a full back.

I don't count the Community Shield as a trophy, it's the end of the pre season rather than the start of the new one, but there were some very positive signs for City when looking at the entire squad and how they will be used this campaign.

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Posted by gary badine on 08/14/2012

well,i agree with u in small ways,but i think mancity will win the epl again,and will go a far way in the champion league this season.
i am a mancity fan since 1982,and will remain a devoted fan fi life.

Posted by Jerry on 08/14/2012

Have you heard that Yaya is thinking of skipping the African Cup of Nations in January?

Wallace Reply I had not... that would certainly help.

Posted by Jack on 08/14/2012

As soon as Mancini has Rodwell bedded in then the 3 at the back will be Rodwell, Kompany, Lescott.
The wing-backs in this system have the hardest job in the team and the most tiring. That is why you will see plenty of rotation in these two positions. Richards/Milner/Zabaleta on the right and Clichy/Kolarov/Zabaleta on the left. I know what you are thinking but the Zab man is equally comfortable left or right!

Posted by Moha from africa on 08/14/2012

3_4_1_2 is the best line up that man city can win everything

Posted by george on 08/14/2012

having kun and tevez up front certainly has its benefits in the majority of matches in bpl this season, and super mario will get hims games one way or another, but is edin gonna be fine with this arrangement? unless we literally push all the way on all fronts, i dont see how we can keep 4 world class strikers happy. we already have ade and rocky back just to make sure the atmosphere is all hakuna matata

Posted by Drewski Swiss (MB90) on 08/14/2012

I must admit, when I was sitting in the pub Sunday and saw Mancini not only had a 3-4-1-2 set up but Savic was one of the 3 defenders, i was a bit worried. My worries were justified by his performance. Even with my bias, i would had sent him off for his "defending". i much rather have Richards or K.Toure in the back 3 because i feel he can be unreliable against top strikers. Even if Torres is in a monumental slump, he is still a very dangerous man and i would not like my chances in a 1 on 1 situation.

However, watching the formation work was just fantastic! To see Aguero and Tevez work together was a sight to behold along with the midfield putting in though balls past the Chelsea Defense made me quite confident we will have one of, if not THE top offense in the league one again. I would like to know how Balotelli and Dzeko will feel about the shortage of minutes but for now, lets enjoy the victory we got against the Champions of Europe. Cheers!

Posted by jon on 08/14/2012

To make this formation work with Silva, you could drop tevez (scary thought, I know) and stick on dzeko or balotelli, that gives him a striker who plays on the last shoulder of defendersas well as the wing backs to spray his passes out to.

Wallace Reply Agreed, however if they want Tevez engaged then he needs to play each week - he'll take it as an insult if he isn't picked.

Posted by Rick on 08/14/2012

Do you think this formation works without a guy like De Jong? I heard with Rodwell signed he has been given permission to seek a deal in Italy. I know just rumors, but I also know your love for De Jong. Do you see anymore signings before the deadline? Anyone in particular you have an eye for?

Wallace Reply de Jong works when he plays in the middle of the field. Last year he struggled because City did not play to his strengths and despite the win over Chelsea the 3-4-1-2 doesn't either. So unfortunately I could see him depart. I'm sure City will add another player or two, but I'm very happy with the squad. Aguero and Nasri are likely to be better because of a full summer with the team and the days of the crazy spending appear to be behind the club

Posted by Jonfryer on 08/15/2012

I was wondering what you thought about the Rodwell signing. Mancini has clearly been looking for a defensive midfielder/centerback rolled into one (De Rossi & Javi Martinez), but do you think Rodwell can be world class like these two. Many people think he will rot on the bench, but I think Mancini has him starting many games this season and may have him as a regular next season.

Wallace Reply I rate Rodwell very highly and think that he can indeed play such a role. I'm stunned that City got him as I would have bet large sums that United would have snagged him in the next year or so.

Posted by Danial on 08/15/2012

Look at it this way - have Mancini set up a pair of triumvirate attackers that is of Aguero-Tevez-Nasri & Dzeko-Balotelli-Silva?

So, basically we could have a rotatable Team A and Team B depending on who your opponent are...

Wallace Reply I actually like this idea, but I'm not sure it would fly with the players

Posted by Clemo on 08/15/2012

About sufficient playing as concerns the formation and as regards Silva, Tevez, etc, dont forget that we have EPL, Champions league which I believe RM wants to go for it fully, as well as other cups. I doubt that even Tevez himself would expect to play every weekend and midweek as well.

Posted by cody on 08/15/2012

nasri thrives on the give and go

Posted by Daniel on 08/15/2012

Do you think how we set up with Clichy behind Kolarov can work in this formation? Clichy isn't a standard CB, but he seemed able to do a job back there and he commented afterwards he could play until he's 50 in that formation because he wasn't tired at all.

Wallace Reply In a word, yes.

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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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