Monday, 17 August 2015

Another masterclass performance and…

…transfer talk that ISN’T about Kevin De Bruyne for once!

What a day!

Chillin’ in the garden in the reasonably warm sunshine with my mate and a few beers whilst half-listening to the Palace / Arsenal game; waiting for the pre-booked taxi to take us to our opening home game against last season’s champions. Doesn’t get much better really. But it did.

“Masterclass” was a word I used in a text to several fellow Blues following the 3-0 win at WBA the Monday before and is certainly a word that can be used again to describe our display against Chelsea yesterday. It had it all…again – great energy & determination; superb skill & interplay.

Chelsea, of course, provided a far tougher test than Albion posed at The Hawthorns at that makes yesterday’s 3-0 score-line even more impressive…but still very much deserved despite Jose’s sour, post-match comments to the contrary.

And in the heat of an intense battle it makes the (my) player score-ratings even more so…

Hart                 -           7.5
Another clean sheet and a few good saves.

Kolarov            -           8
Another very, very good performance – eight in a row including last season!

Mangala          -           7.5
Maintaining his improved partnership with Kompany.

‘Our Skip’        -           8.5
ANOTHER goal to add to his good defensive work!

Sagna              -           7.5
Will Zabaleta get back in?!

Fernandinho    -           9
The new Mr E. Nigma…and Mr Inconsistent. Carrying on from last season’s trait; a liability in many ways just 6 days earlier...turns superb yesterday!

Toure               -           8.5
Another brilliant display. Looks trimmer and no signs whatsoever of his groin ‘niggle’ from the latter stages of ‘the opener’.

Sterling            -           8
A nuisance to the oppo again all-game-long. As I thought he would be when we signed him; he is opening up games to allow others the room to increase their effectiveness also.

Silva                -           9
Again pulling all the strings…and the opposition all over the place!

Navas              -           8
All over the right-hand-side as usual – the 30-year old (in November) looks more like a 21-year old! Not only like an irritating wasp going forward but his overlapping, back-tracking work on the right of defence never passes me by or fails to impress. He’s worthy of his regular starting place.

Aguero             -           9
Simply awesome! The move between him and Yaya for his goal was breath-taking in terms of quick footwork and precision ‘placement’ of the ball.

Nasri                -           7
Continues to play ‘back up’ and continues to get into the pace of the game with ease.

Demichelis      -           6.5
An obvious choice to come on and solidify things. Never lets us down in whatever position he’s asked play.

Bony                -           6
No time to make real impact in a side that was hoping, by then, to keep a clean sheet.

Transfer talk

A bit baffling this one, if true…

When recent rumours again circled about the possibility of us getting the 25-cap, Argentine central defender Nicolas Otamendi, I thought that may-possibly be the end of Martin Demichelis’ time at Manchester City (despite his recent 1-year contract extension) and / OR frustration for Jason Denayer; who, I thought, might have then found himself loaned out once more; despite promising to push for a first-team-place and be ‘one of the 4’ central defenders in the squad this season.

Now I read that Valencia want, as part of any deal to release Otamendi, not only Marcos Lopes on loan…but also Eliaquim Mangala! Worst still…rumours are that we’re considering it!

Now if this was January of last season – and having now-since done the YouTube thing on the Valencia man – I’d have had snapped their hands off in-getting that deal done!

And although we saw a slow & small improvement in Mangala towards the back-end of last season, coupled with two good displayed at the start of this; shouldn’t be an instant sign that ‘all is now well’ following a very dodgy start, in general, to his Manchester City career (deep intake of breath); I have to ask…why now?!

Surely the idea was always to bring in the young, French, left-footed powerhouse to build-up a partnership with Kompany that was to last as long a Vinny’s legs would. Yes? No? What would be the point of loaning him out for a season; only for him to learn the ways of their coaching staff, playing in their league and building up a partnership understanding with one of their remaining central defenders [following Otamendi’s departure]?

Well I’m going to answer my own question here, which is that if Eliaquim does ‘go the other way’ in a loan move then I can only see that loan move becoming permanent next summer. And if Valencia don’t want him then I’m guessing that Manchester City will be ‘open to offers’ next summer. I can’t see any other reason for it, can you?

That picture might-well change dramatically, of course, if Manchester City swap Pellegrini for Guardiola after the season comes to a close…

Sorry to say this Martin but if Otamendi does come; with Vinny’s treatment-table record and Jason being untried at Premier League level; why not make those two, Otamendi AND Mangala ‘our 4’? Makes sense to me…

However, it’s Pellegrini and his staff who see the Frenchman in training and not me; and so perhaps they don’t see much in terms of long-term improvement in the big fella.

(Update: More recent reports are now saying that Manchester City will NOT consider Mangala as part of the any possible deal. Instead, apparently we are reminding Valencia that they still owe us some money for the Alvaro Negredo deal; presumably in the hope of getting the Argentine for less than his release clause price).

I can understand the move for Lopes and can only hope that moving to such a good level of football on loan will be the final training he needs before breaking into the first team at Manchester City NEXT season. I hope so…because if this doesn’t work for him in terms of Manchester City, first team consideration then I fear he’ll be leaving us in the summer of 2016.

Apparently Manyoo were also recently very interested in the Argentine defender and with rumours that we’re also considering a bid for their target, Pedro, from Barcelona; perhaps our transfer policy is just to pee-off The Broken Robot & Co…

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