Thursday, 30 December 2010

TLDORC December awards

The month that marked the one year anniversary of Roberto Mancini's becoming Manchester City manager was unfortunately dominated by the act of Carlos Tévez - the most important player in Mancini's debut year - issuing and then withdrawing a transfer request. Whatever the issue between the Tévez camp and the club, a truce has been declared, although I imagine we will go through the same tiresome routine next summer. It's a shame in and of itself; Tévez is a compelling footballer, comfortably the best striker I've seen in blue (sorry Uwe), and this was fairly ugly stuff, even more so given that he was club captain.

But it has allowed some to detract from the fact that it was the best footballing month of Roberto Mancini's tenure thus far. We took twelve points from five league games (three more than we did from five games in November). Putting the annual home defeat to Everton to one side, we recorded two home wins - against Bolton Wanderers and Aston Villa - where we played and created much better than usual at Eastlands. Then there were two more away wins; an easy one at West Ham, and a much harder one at Newcastle. The table is skewed by the games in hand our rivals have on us, but no fan will complain with second. Even if the games in hand are all won, we'll be third. On top of all of this we took four points from our remaining Europa League games, despite starting Jô and Shaun Wright-Phillips both times, and won Group A.

Red Bull Salzburg (h) 3-0 (thoughts, ratings)
Bolton Wanderers (h) 1-0 (thoughts, ratings)
West Ham United (a) 3-1 (thoughts, ratings)
Juventus (a) 1-1 (thoughts, ratings)
Everton (h) 1-2 (thoughts, ratings)
Newcastle United (a) 2-1 (thoughts, ratings)
Aston Villa (h) 4-0 (thoughts, ratings)

Player of the Month

It can only be David Silva. The best footballer I have ever seen at Manchester City, I think. Not in terms of utility (Tévez) or service (Dunne). He is divinely talented, certainly, but so were Robinho, Elano, Ali Benarbia and Georgi Kinkladze. But his gifts, when married to his reading of the game and his underestimated work-rate (as it turns out, he does rather fancy it) make for the most natural, complete and charming footballer I can remember. December was his best month yet; he is now wholly congruous within the English game - I worry for our rivals what he will be like next season.

The most important thing he did this month, I think, was to show that we could still score goals and win without Tévez. This is important for the players but also, perhaps, for the club in negotiations with Kia Joorabchian. David Silva is our security against ransom demands. He was masterful in the Tévez-less wins over West Ham and Aston Villa. He ran the game at the Boleyn Ground, teasing and taunting before his dagger pass to Adam Johnson set up our third. Against Villa he set up our first goal, had a hand in our second and then threatened to recreate his Blackpool goal, the sprawling Brad Friedel denying him but not Mario Balotelli for our third. It's only the serene power of Vincent Kompany that is stopping David from dancing away with the Player of the Season trophy.

Performance of the Month is Silva against Villa - see above.

Goal of the Month

Johnson v West Ham

I feel increasingly sympathetic to AJ's hopes for more starts, so I'm always happy to see him do well. City were 2-0 up away at West Ham, and he scored the goal that killed the game: running between defenders (much like his goal against Juventus at Eastlands, or for England in Switzerland), he was spotted by David Silva, drifting between the lines, and went wide of Rob Green to finish. Elegant, precise football.

1 comment:

Matt said...

The Newcastle score was 3-1, not 2-1, but good article. Perhaps it's time that we gave the Player of the Season award to David Silva already?