Monday, 20 April 2009

Zabba injured

It doesn't sound possible, but Pablo Zabaleta, City's man of steel, has finally picked up an injury. And it looks like it could be serious:
PABLO Zabaleta is a doubt for the rest of the season after injuring his hamstring against West Brom.

The Argentinian, who has been used in midfield for much of this campaign, played at right back against the Baggies in the 4-2 win but has picked up a muscle problem.
Had we still been in the UEFA Cup, this would have been a disaster. But with only weekly league games left, and so with Nigel de Jong always eligible, we can probably cope with it. Micah Richards will return at right back, with de Jong, Vincent Kompany, Stephen Ireland and the resurgent Elano to pick from in central midfield.

But thirty nine starts in defence and central midfield (particularly given the running he gets through), in his first season in England is still quite an achievement. He will certainly finish on the podium for my Player of the Season.


Jonathan said...

Pablo very rapidly becoming my favourite player at City and I'm not one to have favourite players as a rule. When we got the money, I remember thinking how much I'd like (!) to get Gattuso in to add some steel in our midfield and some fear into the opposition. I'd never heard or Zabaleta before we bought him. What a player. His work rate is high and his commitment great for the team. I've never seen him pull out of a 50-50 or even a 40-60 yet.

You're right, if we were in the UEFA this would be a disaster, but with DeJong available for the league, I hope he gets the rest he deserves and makes a full and total recovery.

Zab is a versatile player of quality but what this does show is that we are beginning to get some depth to the squad when we can lose a quality player and have the ability to bring in other players and perhaps a different formation and still look to put out a team of substance. Of course, this might have been different if Elano hadn't had the last couple of games that he has had, but there is no such thing as luck. Conversely, you could say we have suffered for a long time by not having Petrov to give us variation.

Wigan Blue said...

Agree with pretty much all of that Jonathan. You sound surprised about Elano though. Lead goal-scorer and class act under Sven, star in the early games this season, why should you think he would change? He hasn't been played to use his potential but that wasn't his fault.

pjdemers said...

@Wigan Blue

I absolutely agree with you that Elano is a class player. Never doubted it for even a minute.

Where I disagree with you is that Hughes doesn't appreciate his qualities. I think what Hughes questioned about Elano was not his talent but his commitment. While there is no doubt he played well under Sven he went missing in the second half of last season.

If anything I think Hughes has made him an even better player. Ever since he came out the doghouse he has put in consistently excellent performances. his fitness and work rate are far superior to anything he displayed last year under Sven. Coincidence, perhaps, but I doubt it.