Sunday, 31 October 2010

TLDORC October awards

A strange month, probably with as many bad things as good. We managed three wins and two defeats (two of each in the Premier League), but never really played that well. The best display came in a 3-0 home defeat, and it was followed by what was certainly the worst performance of the season and maybe the worst of Roberto Mancini's tenure. The most worrying thing was the crumbling of the defensive unit. In September we conceded four goals in six games. If you discount the West Brom match (Cunningham, Boyata, Mee, and Vidal in the back four) then it was two in five. But in October we shipped nine in five. We're still well placed, in both the Europa and Premier Leagues. But an improvement in November would be nice.

Newcastle United (h) 2-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Blackpool (a) 3-2 (thoughts, ratings)
Lech Poznań (h) 3-1 (thoughts, ratings)
Arsenal (h) 0-3 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Wolverhampton Wanderers (a) 1-2 (thoughts, ratings, reax)

Player of the Month

Not as difficult as recent months, when a number of excellent performances have vied for recognition. There were a few decent performers in October: Joe Hart,Vincent Kompany, Nigel de Jong - but only one excellent one. The winner is obvious: David Silva. This was the month where he revealed to us in the clearest fashion yet just how good he is and just how good he might be for City. There had been a glimpse here and a spark there before October but this was certainly his best yet.

It all started in Blackpool. He wasn't starting, but he came on with the score 0-0 and City being frustrated by the very impressive hosts. Within minutes of our introduction he created our first goal. He drifted into a channel between defenders - he has a sense of space unlike many other players in England - and clipped a left-footed cross to Carlos Tévez who flicked the ball into the corner. There were goals for both teams before Silva scored the best individual goal scored by a City player in years. He bluffed to shoot and cut inside a defender, before repeating the trick precisely to evade another. Charlie Adam came to close him down but he just curled the ball past him and into the corner.

Against Lech Poznań he was just as good, but over the course of 90 minutes. It was a virtuoso football recital: pass, move, touch, feint - the whole lot. In terms of quality it was beyond anything even Elano produced; you've got to go way back to Ali Benarbia and Eyal Berkovic to get close. He didn't score, but his crosses for Emmanuel Adebayor's second and third goals were just perfection: the first floated in from the by-line, the second swung in past two defenders from deeper and wider.

In the next two games, both of which we lost, he showed that he was more and just the replacement for Elano I so want him to be: twice, in difficult circumstances, he fought hard for the team. He forced two good saves in the Arsenal defeat (both times with technically excellent shots), and at Molineux looked like the only player with any interest in our winning the game or with any idea of how best to do it. He even leapt into the air to contest a header with Richard Stearman when Yaya Touré brainlessly chipped the ball up to him.

He was certainly our best player in October. He is, I'm sure, the most talented player we've had at City in my life-time. Never before have we had someone so close to the elite of world football. While I enjoy the novelty of this, I also enjoy the ways in which it calls back to former City players. Because Silva - and I don't think this is sentimental or facile - does recall Georgi Kinkladze in the way he runs with the ball. And he does, drift and glide around off the ball like Ali Benarbia, with the same sense of trigonometry and incision. In short, he's a synthesis of my two favourite ever City players and I love him already. The best of it is the fact that there is clearly so much more to come too. He also takes Goal of the Month and Performance of the Month too.


jackblue said...

We always used to treasure this type of inside-forward (old bugger me). Peter Doherty, Bobby Johnstone, George Hannah to name but 3. I think David Silva is already right up there with them. AS for comparison with Elano that's not on. Elano had 2 or 3 really good games when michael Johnson doid his work for him.

StanMCFC said...

Personally think we've missed Elano big-time, especially last season when we needed that sort of creative player to push us into the top four. He was so comfortable on the ball and always demanded it from his teammates.

He was a big presence in the Brazil side till he got injured in the World Cup - and you don't thrive at that sort of level unless you've got a modicum of talent.

Let's hope Silva can prove an even better replacement - and certainly the early signs are good.

Adam said...

David Silva is an Elano that can actually keep the ball. Elano's problem was that he was always crowded off the ball, but Silva, in typical Spanih fashion, has immaculate ball retention.

He's right up there alongside Iniesta and Xavi for being able to receive, keep and distribute the ball under pressure.

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