Monday, 17 May 2010

Season ratings: forwards

Emmanuel Adebayor (29 starts, 14 goals)

Another player for whom it is difficult to focus on the football. His stamp and his slide against Arsenal, the horrors he faced in Cabinda, and his later four match ban not only distracted attention from his performances but also broke up any momentum or consistency he might have generated. To look at the statistics alone, 14 goals from 25 Premier League goals looks good, a ratio (0.56 goals/game) not too far away from what we had expected from him. But how many City fans will say that they have been genuinely impressed by him? He puts in more bad performances than good ones, certainly, and when he is bad he is useless: lazy and distracted, listless and diffident. And he is no partner for Carlos Tévez, which should really be the first priority of a centre forward of ours. I think he'll stay, but I'd be surprised if the Player Acquisition Group isn't seeking out an upgrade. B

Craig Bellamy
(31 starts, 11 goals)

The surprise story of the season. After knee problems last spring, and the acquisition of new forwards in the summer I thought he would be a perennial backup this year. But that was to underestimate Mark Hughes' faith in him. He made the left hand side of the 4-2-4 his own, at the expense of Robinho and Martin Petrov. He started the season at a compelling pace: quick, fiery, almost embarrassingly competitive. Before Tévez got fit it was Bellamy who was carrying the side; scoring our second and making our fourth in the 4-2 with Arsenal before scoring two huge goals in the 4-3 derby at Old Trafford - performances that won him the TLDORC Player of September. That capacity for big game performances was further shown by his two goals at Stamford Bridge, to go with his pair at O.T. But the key fact about Bellamy was that he was Mark Hughes' man, his favourite, his protégé, his enforcer, his ambassador. And so when Hughes left so did much of Bellamy's connection with the club. There was a continued pattern of stories coming from the club of Bellamy's discontent with Roberto Mancini, and while he continued to work hard on the pitch he did seem to revel in his triumphs a bit less than before. Everything that made him such an effective performer under a manager he believed him makes him an incongrouous presence now. Do not be surprised by a summer move to Spurs. A-

(8 starts, 1 g0al)

This season proved what we all knew last season, even if we did not want to say it: that Robinho was the wrong man at the wrong time, not suited to English football, not interested in Manchester City. Once he broke a bone in his ankle on international duty Hughes was pleased with the chance to give Craig Bellamy a run in the side. The inury put him out for three months, and when he came back he reminded us just how frustrating he was with two terrible performances in those painful defeats at White Hart Lane and Goodison Park. Roberto Mancini had as little time for him as Hughes did, and when he was removed at Everton it was clear his time was up. It was nice he could score one last goal, in the last minute at Scunthorpe, before he left for Santos on a loan deal. I don't expect to see him hurrying back to City in August. D

Roque Santa Cruz (7 starts, 4 goals)

Another of Mark Hughes' overspends on established Premier League players, Santa Cruz was a luxury buy - one that we would surely not have made had we known about signing Emmanuel Adebayor. And even aside from Adebayor, spending £17million on someone with a fitness record as bad as Roque's just does not make sense. I don't think Santa Cruz is a bad player - in fact I quite enjoy watching him, he's a clever target man and is a much more natural partner for
Tévez than Adebayor. But he just can't string two or three games together. It's not his fault he has these problems, but you can't expect any consistency from a man that prone to injuries. C-

Carlos T
évez (38 starts, 29 goals)

The signing, the story, the star of the season. Carlos Tévez was taken from Manchester United in the summer; it was a sign of our progress that we could take advantage of his dispute with the Old Trafford bosses, and there was a hope that he could drag us to the next level, in a way that Robinho could not. At first it did not seem to be working. He was impaired by an injury and seemed, like Adebayor, to be more keen on embarrassing his former club than on doing well for his new one. When he missed those chances to put us 4-2 up against Burnley I must admit to having doubts. But soon enough it clicked. Starting with his goal against Arsenal Reserves at Eastlands, he went on the most remarkable goal-scoring run in years: 24 goals in 22 games. It was enough to win him the December and January awards, and while he spent much of February back in Buenos Aires he returned to win the March award. He showed that he could lead the line as well as anyone, even if he clearly prefers the freedom of the second striker. His ability to carve opportunities and goals from nowhere allowed us to continue scoring, winning and chasing fourth while playing some fairly lifeless football. He might not like Roberto Mancini but he provided him with the breathing space, delivering goals while Mancini focussed his attention on the back four. Tévez finished the season with 23 league goals, the most in the top flight since Franny Lee's 33 in 1971/72. He might have his faults - I still don't trust his penalties - and his agent is clearly an agitator, but for as long as he's at City he is a compelling player, a marvel to watch and a major protagonist in our story. A, and TLDORC Player of 2009/10

Alex Nimley got on at Turf Moor for a few wet minutes. I hope to see more of him next year.


longwayfromhome said...

I remain gob smacked on how little patience our fans can show regarding players, and strikers in particular. This impatience has been mimicked by our recent managers and has helped add to the long list of loanees currently on our books e.g. Jo, Bojinov, Caceido, and the quick offloading of “last year’s great hope” over the last few years e.g. Bianchi, Corradi, Sturridge.
And now this year we have Adebeyor who despite having been away for considerable spells – including recovery from having his own life threatened and witnessing murder at first hand - has come back with a record of 14 goals and 7 assists in his first season. In addition his goals to chances ratio is second to none. Yet this is still is deemed second rate!!! You have to ask just what is expected, because a team of Tevez’s (who also came in for undue criticism at the start of the season ffs!) is a tad unrealistic.

Blue Moon said...


Amen! A goal every other game is cause for celebration. Yeah, yeah, he's lazy, blah, blah, blah. Except he clears every other corner we conceed, drops deep into midfield to get the ball cuz we have no creative midfielders, and oh by the way, scored as many goals this year as our top scorer did in 08-09. But the muppets will still scream to get rid -- hey muppet, how would you perform at work after you thought you were going to die in a terrorist attack?

pjdemers said...

I concur. Adebayor has a much better workrate than he's given credit for and as Bluemoon has so correctly pointed out he often has to drop out to the flank or into the midfield the due to our inability to play the early ball.

Granted he's hasn't formed the best of partnerships but Tevez has to take some of the responsibility for that as well. Don't get me wrong, Tevez has had amazing season and has indeed been our talisman but my one concern with Tevez, (and despite his sterling workrate), is his inability to play or see the early ball. I cannot count the amount of games I saw this season when players like Bellamy, Ireland, or Adebayor would be making clever runs behind the defence only for Tevez to hold on the ball too long. In fact if Tevez could play more quick, early passes like his assist for Adebayor at Turf Moor then their partnership could really begin to flourish.