Friday, 4 September 2009

City finally score from corners

As you all know, we've scored two goals from corners in our last two games. First Carlos Tévez headed in SWP's corner at Selhurst Park, before Emmanuel Adebayor converted Gareth Barry's corner at Fratton Park. Mark Hughes is impressed:
"We wanted to address our threat at set-pieces because last year it wasn't as good as it needed to be.

"We have great delivery from Gareth on the right-hand side, whipping in balls. If it's the perfect ball, irrespective of what the opposition do it's very difficult to stop the ball from getting to the key areas of the box.

"We wanted to have a better threat at set-plays, and that is what we have now."
This is interesting in two ways. On the most basic level, it's good that we can now score from set-pieces. We've been pretty useless from corners for years - so much so that when we do score from corners - Rolando Bianchi at White Hart Lane, Nedum Onuoha at home against Spurs, Dunne at home against Middlesboro - it feels like a big deal. Goals from corners count as much as any others and by successfully exploiting them we increase our chances of winning games.

But there's another point to be made here. There has always been something symbolic about scoring from set-pieces. It betrays a certain experience, a certain worldliness, a lack of illusions or pretensions. Think Mourinho's Chelsea, Allardyce's Bolton, Tony Pulis' Stoke City: teams that score from set-pieces are ones that have the nous to win dirty, in difficult conditions - things that City have never been able to do before - until this year. Hughes' insistence on buying players with EPL experience was meant to create a tougher team with a winning mentality; we had been too weak and soft-centred in previous years. The additions of Shay Given, Craig Bellamy, Gareth Barry, Kolo Touré, Joleon Lescott et al have given us that. And our newfound ability to score from corners is not only a by-product, but also a symbol of this new Manchester City team.

1 comment:

Wigan Blue said...

Quite right, and I'm delighted to see it. But it also raises the issue of why we aren't scoring enough goals from non-set-piece situations. Stevie Ireland too deep?