Saturday, 3 August 2013

Love, love, love…

Most of us knew that it would be the case with Samir Nasri; but it would seem like Edin Dzeko is also feeling the Pellegrini love.

And, once again, Manchester City fans ‘in the know’ just knew that a change in manager and style of play – specifically bringing in at least one new winger and literally widening our options – would see a very different Dzeko to the one we painfully witnessed last season.

An all-too familiar pose last season...
But even I didn’t expect such a quick and dramatic change in the big Bosnian and although it’s “just” pre-season games I’m referring to; he looks to be on fire! And, apparently, it’s not just a change in formation / style / tactics that is suiting Edin; friendly chats and confidence-boosting words from our new father-figure manager have really boosted his self-belief.

Sharp contrast

At times last year it wasn’t just the fact that he couldn’t trap or control a ball. It wasn’t even that he just looked generally awkward and frustrated being forced to, as he was, receive the ball with his back to goal. I don't know about anyone else but he also annoyed the hell out of me with his dour demeanour...even before a ball had been kicked sometimes (Everton away in particular springs to mind).

Po-faced performances from the ‘big guy’ lead me to call for him to be ‘moved on’ in the summer towards the end of last season…and that was despite him being our top scorer with (a lowly) 14 goals; as well as with the knowledge that he WAS being played in the wrong way by Mancini.

Dzeko celebrating a great strike against Sunderland in Asia
But confidence and happiness in your work DOES make the world of difference and we all know that strikers in particular thrive on the “C” word. You’d never have found Roberto putting his arm around a player (apart from his pet Mario of course) and giving them friendly, moral boosting words, would you?

As much as I loved him for the success he brought to our Football Club and, in fact, I thought he was somewhat harshly treated in the end; Mancini’s failing is definitely Pellegrini’s strength.

Not the best relationship
And that strength brings me onto Samir “le-sulk” Nasri. What a player we signed when we eventually prised him away from Arsenal in what was a long, drawn-out affair. Even Manyoo fans have very recently told me that they were gutted to see him arrive at the Etihad rather than Cold Trafford.

But I just assumed that the long transfer saga was Arsenal playing hardball and/or Wenger’s understandable reluctance to see one of his best players leave. But I now wonder just how much of it was down to Samir clinging on to his father-figure Manager like a panicking child clinging onto his comfort blanket?

Samir’s first season was a very good one indeed. But as the reality of his new, cold-heated Manager dawned on him after his honeymoon period with City ended; his performances then nosed dived! Like most of the rest of the squad (again apart from mollycoddled Balotelli) working at City was just no fun at all for Samir…and, like Edin, didn’t we just see it reflected in Nasri’s performances?

Love, it seems, was all that these two needed and I wonder just how many of the other players will be lifted by another 10 or 20% this season; with comforting, moral-boosting words from 'the daddy' Manuel?

Pre-season almost done – not long now!

I didn’t get to see much of the Audi Cup, which is part of the reason I’ve not posted anything for almost a week. I did get to see one half of the AC Milan game…the bloody second half! What bad luck is that?! A 5-3 thriller but for all intents and purposes for me; it may as well have been 0-0.

I wish I’d have seen the Milan game not just for the shear amount of goals but because I’ve heard that Jovetic in particular had a really good game. I’ve still to watch the available extended highlights on City’s WEB site so I’ll have a look soon enough. Just out of interest, though - and for a bit of a laugh - I had a look at the 60 second highlights of the Milan game just to see how City's WEB Team managed to squeeze in all 8 goals into 1 minute’s footage. It was an amusing case of…don’t blink!

By all accounts we’re really taking shape now – looking sharp and organised (excusing the 3 goal, 8-minute collapse against Milan of course).

Any concerns?

Aguero's knee.
Nastasic's ankle
Kolarov is still at City.
The Club not bringing out a good, Manchester City-like 3rd kit to make up for the disappointing 2nd strip.

Really looking forward to?

Seeing Negredo.
Seeing Jovetic.
Seeing Navas.
Seeing Fernandinho.
Seeing a resurgent Dzeko.
Seeing a revitalised Nasri.
Seeing us replace Kolarov with a new left-back.
The whole season!

Arsenal in Helsinki are next up for the Blues on Saturday 10th August and I’m presuming this one is gonna be on TV somewhere. I’d say, “I hope so”…but I’m engaged in another activity that day, namely a Real Ale Trail day out with my wife and friends.

I hope Chappy’s tribute match at Edgeley Park goes well tomorrow. I was gonna go and perhaps I still should. But for one hectic-week reason or another I just haven’t got myself a ticket. It should be a crackin’ & fun day out seeing our heroes of yesteryear.

And we’re off! Sort of…

The Football League starts today! Yippee! I’ve already watched extended highlights of last night’s 2-1 victory of Sheffield United over Notts County. I didn’t bother with the Scottish Premiership, 0-0 game between Partick Thistle & Dundee United

I don’t really like the look of Notts County’s new top…

Too barcode-like. YUK!
From my last posting I’ve still to take a camera down to the development site of the Manchester City Academy, in order to post some pictures for you all. I fully intend to do it on Tuesday 6th August.

A huge "THANKS", as always, for reading!

No comments:

Post a Comment