Saturday, 8 August 2009

City 2 - 1 Celtic

  • After a few disappointing games, it was nice to see a good display in our final pre-season friendly (the Trofeu Joan Gamper is better described as a mid-season friendly.) We looked like a more coherent team than we had done before, and played some nice attacking football.
  • The de Jong-Barry axis in central midfield looked very strong. Like Mascherano and Alonso at Liverpool in recent years, their complimentary destructive and creative capabilities make for a perfect pairing. They dictated the game in the first half, and Barry took his goal very well.
  • Roque Santa Cruz was our only attacking player that we didn't see. Him aside, Craig Bellamy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tévez, Robinho, Martin Petrov, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Vladimir Weiss all played a part. Some were brighter than others, but the movement and interplay was always promising. Who exactly will play at Ewood Park remains unclear.
  • The defense, though, remains an issue. Kolo Touré limped off, so we played most of the match with Tal Ben Haim and Richard Dunne at centre back, which was never the plan. As with Rangers last week, a better team would have scored more goals against us.
  • One defender who did impress was Pablo Zabaleta: he was solid throughout and his cross for Barry's goal was perfect. Some people like to frame the Richards/Zabaleta issue as risk v security, or attack v defence, and while it's certainly true that Zabaleta is better defensively than Richards he's also better going forward. Richards' runs are great, but when in good position his decisions and delivery are never as good as Pablo's. I've never seen Richards put in a cross as good as Zabaleta's today (or his assist for Benjani at Craven Cottage in December.)

1 comment:

Steven McInerney said...

I said that to my dad as I was watching the game. "Richards has never put in a cross as good as that and probably never will!"...Zabaleta every time. It's a no brainer.

Good to see we're getting visibly better with every pre-season game.