Dreadfully hungover - and otherwise dehydrated - from a garden party the day before on the hottest day of the year so far in England; I wasn’t even aware the game was on TV until 40-odd minutes before KO, despite having trawled the WEB on & off for about a week to find out; giving up on Monday / assuming it ‘just wasn’t on’.
Anyway, it was; I watched it and so…
Early / first thoughts
No need to look for a right-back?
There have been question marks over whether City hero, Pablo Zabaleta’s legs are up to another season in the Premier League; especially under a manager who quite rightly insists on nonstop running. That, and the fact that his competitive teammate for the right-back slot is almost 2 years his senior; it’s no wonder we’ve been linked with Bruno Perez and, more recently, Hector Bellerin at the very least.
However, most Blues already knew that we had a promising prospect in our very own, EDS’s Pablo Maffeo; a young, Spanish, right-sided defender who, we have been told several times, had been placed under the wing of Zaba as a mentor over the last year.
Last night ‘Pablo junior’ showed Pep that he can save some dosh in that area of the team for this season, at least; putting the cash towards strengthening other areas of the pitch. Maffeo was confident in the tackle in the Allianz Arena last night; pushed forward in support on the right-wing very well indeed and having played the whole game; had energy aplenty.
Other promising youngsters too…
He may look so very tiny indeed but Angelino certainly doesn’t hide. Asked, last night, to play ‘anywhere on the left-side’ of a very much makeshift defence; he took to the task very well indeed with a lively performance.
Confirmation last night also, for me at least as I’ve been paying him closer attention over the last 12 months, that Tosin Adarabioyo is going to be one hell of a central defender of the future – as always he looked so accomplished and self-assured for the most part in Germany yesterday evening.
A mention too for Brandon Barker. The left-winger clearly has talent and I say that not just on last night’s showing but I have watched him on & off for a couple of seasons now. He also never lacks desire and has good energy too.
Last night he showed glimpses of both his determination and footballing brain but I think the Manchester lad needs a full season on loan at a decent level and with a manager / coaching team who are going to be able to bring the ‘X-factor’ out of him. If that doesn’t happen soon, I can see Brandon being moved on permanently and I would hate to see that for such a hardworking local lad.
Willy’s going nowhere! Well…we sort of knew that once Richard Wright departed from his 3rd-choice keeper / assistant Goalkeeping Coach role, which has now been filled by last season’s League Cup Wembley hero (well it will be when we bring in a keeper to fill the 2nd slot / compete for 1st place).
But last night Caballero set off all the fireworks in order to attract Pep’s attention with a very good display indeed – MotM for City in fact.
Signs of improvement?
Was it my dulled senses [due to my hangover] or was Jesus Navas not only even faster than normal but he also put in 3 decent corners? I suppose other than that he didn’t really do much in terms of threatening the ‘oppo’ but I do like to focus on the ‘plus points’ where possible.
No change / no surprise.
He may have improved season on season but it wasn’t a shock to see ‘reckless legs’ Fernandinho managing to get booked in the first ‘friendly’ of the season. Huh…and some Blues were suggesting recently on one, on-line forum that we should save our money; not go for John Stones and use the Brazilian as a central defender!
Iheanacho is still raw. Okay…so it was apparently ‘last minute’ that he got clearance to travel to / play in Germany last night and he did come close in the first half with a shot that rippled the top of the net. But when he’s not exactly ‘firing’ he can sometimes look lost in games and last night was one of those. Perhaps that’s what Pellegrini knew deep down amidst me and thousands of other Blues screaming at him to be used more than Wilfried Bony last season…
Speaking of which; we learnt nothing new about the big Ivorian either yesterday. Still full of hard-working intent and still capable of some very neat passing / link-up play. But then again, as he did last night, still chokes in front of goal.
Not quite so obvious in the first half, which had our new manager practically fuming in his technical area on a couple of occasion, but certainly in the second; it was so obvious that Pep’s ethos of ‘chase, chase and chase some more’ had been installed. That’s why I’ve been suggesting for months now that Jesus Navas might just survive the managerial change (even if we sign Leroy Sane) and why many Blues believe Yaya Toure won’t…
When everyone is back together and that philosophy of Pep’s is instilled even further; I can’t wait to see our refreshed squad of players run Premier League – and other – teams ragged this coming season!