Saturday, 15 January 2011

Džeko joins

Yes, it was last Friday, so I'm over eight days late with this. But I've had stuff on.

Edin Džeko is now a Manchester City player, as you all know, for £27m - a fee Arsene Wenger described as a 'January sales price'.

It's obviously good news for reasons I've gone into a fair bit before. When we disappoint this season, it is at home against teams to defend deep and narrowly. Our best football is counter attacking through the middle - we are a strikingly widthless team - and so teams that line up their defence across the 18 yard box can stop us from scoring. They can do this safe in the knowledge that any crosses to Carlos Tévez will be easily repelled by centre-backs six inches taller than the stocky Argentine. (One headed goal this season, remember).

Having Džeko in the side changes this. We have some competent crossers at the club (Aleksandar Kolarov, Pablo Zabaleta, Jérôme Boateng) and so with a big centre forward at the club we now have a different threat. Of course, we do have Emmanuel Adebayor but he is obviously finished as a City player, and while Mario Balotelli certainly is a physical centre-forward neither his attitude nor his knees are worth putting the mortgage on. (This is why Barcelona signed Zlatan Ibrahimovic in summer 2009, to give a physical Plan B up front.)

How's it going to work out? I don't know. Today, for example, it's a front three with Edin in the middle and Tévez from the left. (He has played on the left once this season, in the 1-1 with Juventus at home, and it was terrible). I think there will be a fair bit of rotation between the two (4-5-1 still our best formation, I think). I would not be shocked if the next six months were a bedding in period for Džeko, who will become first choice when Tévez heads off to Real Madrid in the summer. But for now, simple childish excitement.

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