A half-hour masterclass from Kun Aguero should rightly be savoured but the hour of toil that preceded it mustn't be overlooked as Manchester City struggled to break down the impressive Premier debutants Swansea.
1. Kolo should return to the bench
Toure has now been given the green light to train again with the full squad in preparation for his ban’s expiration in two weeks time. Though it will be a welcome return, our former captain’s duties should extend to nothing more than attempting to keep Balotelli entertained and distracted on the bench with puppet shows and juvenile jokes. Because finally Joleon Lescott is starting to look like the player City signed ten million too much for from Everton. Last week’s glanced header in the Charity Shield was exactly the sort of goal he used to bag time and again at Goodison but it’s his solid partnership at the back with Kompany that’s most encouraging. Their understanding of each other’s game is improving week on week and last night I witnessed something truly wonderful and unexpected – when given the choice between the simple or the arduous Lescott, on several occasions, plumped for the former.
Mancini blooded his new defensive recruit Savic towards the end – looking like a cross between Richard Ashcroft and Puyol after a crash diet – but he’d be a lucky man to break up this rock-solid coalition. As too will Captain Kolo.
2. Who needs Tevez?
Well Manchester City do actually. Because until the goal there was, once again, a noticeable lack of movement off the ball from the likes of Dzeko and Yaya Toure. Without the stroppy Argentine’s constant bustle and probing there were too few outlets for Silva other than a straight-forward lay-off and the paucity of options was made all-the-more glaring due to Richards and Clichy being pegged back for most of the game by Swansea’s jet-heeled wingers. Admittedly Dzeko had by far his best run out and I’ve staunchly defended his potential to eventually shine but the fact remains that he is far too content to snuggle into the shoulder of his marker rather than seek space in the channels. A magician such as Silva requires talented assistants, not a big lass who merely stands centre-stage and shows a bit of leg. The mobility and intelligence of Aguero solves all of this, and more, of course. But over the course of a long season, involving four tournaments, City cannot rely on a solitary genius to act as Silva’s foil should they require to break teams down.
From the moment Kun crossed the white line Silva visibly lit up last night.
3. Aguero and Silva can make the multitudes drool
On last night’s brief evidence this spectacular pair of princes - this magician and sorcerer - could be one of the most devastating double-acts in recent times. Up there with Butch and Sundance, Rodgers and Hammerstein, and World War I and World War II. Their explosive mix of ingenuity, slick interchanges and lethal execution will strike the fear of God, Jesus and his twelve rogue disciples into every defence around and should Tevez stay…and should Nasri arrive…the sheer breadth of creativity and firepower at City’s disposal will surely be abundant enough to bring gold-standard entertainment and silverware to Eastlands. From the moment Kun crossed the white line Silva visibly lit up last night. Finally Steve McQueen has his Dodge Charger.
4. Boring City grind their way to victory once again
Boring City with their ultra-defensive Italian coach and their midfield stuffed with growling hardmen too scared to cross the halfway line once again grind out a physical display of anti-football. With just fifteen shots on target - which is the most in the top-flight since Spurs battered Wigan 9-0 – and introducing an impish genius in the Romario mould who scores the spectacular for fun they truly are ruining the sport that we love.
5. The kit looks fantastic in motion but remains ghastly when still
Fashion is, in the main, entirely subjective. One man’s Fila vintage is another man’s tank-top. Yet every supporter, regardless of taste or discernment, knows a bad football kit when they see one. The new City number unfortunately falls into this category and is not a patch on their recent classy efforts. What’s with the garish white flash down the side? And the collar is so tacky David Silva – an arch-appreciator of aesthetics – has even started growing a mini-mullet in a bid to cover it up.
When in motion however it all begins to make sense. Which gives the replicas in the stands even further cause to employ the Poznan this season.
At some grounds they’ll be akin to a bunch of ravers gate-crashing a Haydn recital.
6. They’re Alright Jack
Swansea fans – Jacks – were, as expected, vociferous and passionate throughout and will turn the Premier League speakers up to eleven this season. At some grounds they’ll be akin to a bunch of ravers gate-crashing a Haydn recital. From belting out Arias and Hymns, to chiding their local rivals with ‘Are you watching Cardiff scum?’ to sporadic outbreaks of freaky dancing, the boisterous boyos were simply brilliant.
Alas cliché-peddlers such as Tyldesley and Drury have probably already penned a stream of patronising soundbites involving male voice choirs, mines and Shirley Bassey to belittle their fervour.
7. Swansea’s style of play will see them safe
The way they imposed their neat style of passing, open football right from kick off was an impressive statement of intent and will ultimately bear fruit along the way against inferior fare to City. For the first forty-five minutes the Welshmen were by far the better side – all crisp touches and patience in possession - though there is a concern that teams will quickly learn to nullify their habit of playing from the back by pressing on the full-backs whenever the ball is played back to Vorm. That aside – and assuming they fully revel in the freedom of the Liberty and maintain a decent home record – the Swans aren’t just here for a one-season party. They’re here to stay.
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