by David Sweeney
I am not saying I want Mancini out, nor am I saying I want Jose in. I support Mancini 100% and believe that eventually he will deliver the Premier League title to the Etihad Stadium, be it this season or next, but yesterday and not for the first time this season, he got it wrong, badly wrong. He underestimated Sunderland for the second time this season and needlessly rotated his players, starting the likes of Kolarov and Dzeko when better options were available on the bench. When there are two or three games in a 7 day period, I agree that rotation is required. However he has consistently rested players at unnecessary times leading to poor results such as yesterdays.
There were other flaws to the Italian’s selection at the weekend. Why did he move James Milner into the right back position when Richards went off injured at half time? It should have been Zabaleta who slotted in there, leaving the effective Milner to continue in the middle of the park. Instead he brought on the predictable Adam ‘one foot’ Johnson who unsurprisingly cut in from the right at every opportunity, regularly killing our attacking threat.
He also persists with David Silva week after week, when anyone with half a footballing brain in their heads can tell he isn’t fit and hasn’t been firing for a good 2 or 3 months. His form has been so poor that he can now only be classed as a passenger in the side, only left on in the hope he may produce a defence splitting through ball out of nothing. This transformation is incredible considering what he produced in the opening two months of the campaign but there are no two ways about it – in my opinion, he should be dropped.
Tactically Bobby has been rubbish since Boxing Day, his sides have been out-thought and out-fought by the perceived lesser likes away from home. David Moyes and Brendan Rodgers teams made mince meat of Mancini’s men and City failed to amass even a point from both trips. They were not isolated incidents mind, those two fixtures have merely been part of a shocking run of away form from a squad that is arguably the strongest in the league.
I would like to stress this is not doom mongering, just plainly stating that our current form is far from good enough. We are blunt away from home and look like we will always be caught out by a sucker punch. We look to have burnt out at the crucial stage of the season and the league now looks beyond us.
Roberto must shoulder some of the blame for this.
When Wolves snapped up the highly sought after Roger Johnson at the start of the season my initial reaction was, good buy, good pro, good price, Wolves
have done well there. But as we enter April it’s apparent that I couldn’t have been more wrong with my prediction if I tried.
Johnson clearly could not care less about the struggling Midlands club; there are loads of examples that highlight his terrible attitude and Saturday’s fiasco with goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey simply served to hammer what will surely be the final nail into his coffin, on which incidentally, the lid was already firmly in place.
What annoys me about Johnson is that he rates himself so highly but in reality he’s a Championship player, no more, no less. Relegation last year and probable relegation this year proves as much and what makes it worse is that many expected him to come in and marshal a Wolves backline that had been poor for years. Despite starting well he quickly went off the boil when he was made captain, with his appointment team spirit and confidence dropped dramatically. Maybe there was a reaction in the squad to him being made skipper over Karl Henry, maybe he didn’t fit in with the dressing room clique, who knows? But the decline on the pitch seems irreversibly linked with his loss of form and attitude from very early on.
He then turned up to training drunk and got his wife to moan about his demotion to the subs bench on Twitter. What a complete clown. With players like Johnson it is no wonder Wolves are going down.
It’s not only Manchester City that appear to have lost their bottle at a crucial stage in the season, West Ham United seem to have salvaged a play off place from the jaws of automatic promotion and in my opinion Sam Allardyce is to blame. His substitutions and in-game tactics are a disgrace and he just does not seem to have a plan B when the first strategy starts unravelling. Focusing on Saturday’s crushing defeat to Reading and again the finger of blame points largely at Big Sam. At 2-1 down he decided to bring a centre half on for injured midfielder Mark Noble and pushed The Iron’s best defender James Tomkins into an unfamiliar midfielder anchor role; hardly an inspirational move when the attacking Henri Lansbury was on the bench. Safe to say the sub backfired and the new makeshift backline shipped two more goals as Reading romped to a 4-2 win.
West Ham have bought and retained Premier League players on Premier League wages and failure to win promotion may have grave financial consequences for the club. Allardyce signed 18 new players, but out of them only Vaz Te and Faye have impressed. Even Kevin Nolan has not shone as many, including myself, thought he would. In summary for a team chasing promotion they are making far too many slip-ups, especially at crucial times in matches, Allardyce’s style and system doesn’t seem to suit the historically attractive London club and his strengths of grinding out wins have just not occurred. This is ‘just’ in the Championship; imagine how the current squad would fair in the Premier League under his leadership.