Sunday, 3 October 2010

TLDORC September Awards

Another successful month, building on the foundation of August. It started just as the last month ended, with a dreadful, point-costing defensive mistake. Joe Hart came out for a long ball, missed it and Nikola Kalinić scored. But from that point on we were - excluding the West Brom game that Roberto Mancini wrote off - defensively excellent, conceding only once more to Vincenzo Iaquinta from distance. We took seven points from a possible nine in the league, including a win over Chelsea that felt like a definitive moment, and four from a possible six in the Europa League. The one disappointment - the surrender at the Hawthorns - was in retrospect smart strategy from Mancini, saving our key players for the Chelsea game four days later.

Blackburn Rovers (h) 1-1 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Red Bull Salzburg (a) 2-0 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Wigan Athletic (a) 2-0 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
West Bromwich Albion (a) 1-2 (thoughts, reax)
Chelsea (h) 1-0 (thoughts, ratings, reax)
Juventus (h) 1-1 (thoughts, ratings)

Player of the Month

This might have gone to Carlos Tévez, who scored two and sent up the other two of our four Premier League goals in September. It is increasingly notable and worrying just how dependent our attacking play is on him. But I'm not going to go with Tévez this time. As good as he's been he hasn't been perfect. Whereas Vincent Kompany has been.

He nearly won it in August, too. Were it not for Joe Hart's performance at White Hart Lane he would have done. Because this season Kompany has just been imperious. I've always been a big fan but with the arrivals of Kolo Touré, Joleon Lescott and now Jérôme Boateng I had worried if he would find a place in the side. But it has been made quite obvious this year what some of us had suspected ever since his arrival two summers ago - that Kompany is the most talented defender at the club, and has all the gifts required to be one of the best in the Premier League.

If you were to construct a dream Premier League centre-back in a laboratory, how different would it be from Kompany? Would he be much quicker, or stronger? More dominant in the air? Would he read the game more astutely? Would he be calmer with the ball at his feet? Would he attack the ball from set-pieces with more venom? Would he be any more articulate off the pitch, or fluent in more languages? (I suppose if Kompany spoke Spanish he would be able to speak to all eleven that started against Chelsea.) I do think he's near-perfect.

In September he had his best ever month in a City shirt. He was only on the pitch for two of the four goals we conceded, and was powerless to prevent either of them. He didn't make a single mis-step, was always correctly positioned and successful in every tackle, leap, block and pass he attempted. The zenith, not just of the month but of his 85 game City career was in the defeat of Chelsea, when he silenced Didier Drogba - as he did at Stamford Bridge in February - as we stifled the rampant champions, who created no chances from open play. Every single step and jump was judged right that day. And so he becomes the first player to win a TLDORC Player of the Month in three different seasons.

Individual Performance of the Month

It should by rights be Kompany against Chelsea but I've said enough about that now so I'll give it to David Silva in Salzburg instead. Not just for his first goal for City, but a range of touches, movements and passes that are going to delight throughout the season.

Goal of the Month

Jô's strike on the turn against West Brom was a quality finish but it has to be Tévez against Chelsea (four in three for us against them now). He got the ball on the half-way line, drove at the defence - as Silva lured John Terry away - and drove the ball into the far bottom corner.

Goal of the Month

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