Roberto Mancini

Discussion in 'General football forum' started by Tez Tosterone, 24 Jul 2016.

  1. Am afraid I bear news of a bit of a shocker this afternoon for Roberto. His Zenit team has just lost 3-0 at home to Lokomotiv in the meeting of the Russian league's top two.

    No sign at half time of what was to come. Lokomotiv adopted their usual style of sitting back and hitting on the break. But Zenit dominated the goalless first half, zipping the ball around quite nicely on a number of occasions to create moments of danger. The best of was when a great cross from the left found midfielder Rigoni coming in unmarked at the far post but his guided header back across the keeper came back off the inside of the other post. Meanwhile, Loko managed only a single counter that posed any danger. Carry on like this, the pundits agreed at half time, and it's only a matter of time until Zenit convert their superiority.

    A completely different story in the second period, though. Loko pressed a bit harder and more effectively while their counterattacks acquired much more menace. Zenit, meanwhile, suddenly looked much more ponderous. The first Loko goal came on 58 minutes, but despite changes in personnel and tactical switches, Zenit at no point looked as though they really had an answer.

    I'm not sure you can quite call this a crisis. But after 19 points from the first seven games, the league form has dipped significantly. The RPL is now at the halfway point (15 fixtures played out of 30), and Bob has a little bit to think about.
     
  2. Southern

    Southern

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    You live in Russia. Are Spartak considered the Rags over there? Which team most compares to City in terms of traditions/culture?

    Who are their version of Millwall?

    If ever I meet a Russian, what's the best (neutral) choice for telling them my preferred Russian club team?
     
  3. peoffrey

    peoffrey

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    RIP Billy Big Spuds
    He'll end up managing in China. I find his lack of ambition to manage in the Bundesliga or La Liga to be disappointing. His constant failure in Europe mixed in with a lost dressing room finished him at City.
     
  4. Southern

    Southern

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    Bundesliga I can understand - not easy for an Italian who struggled with English . But when was he given an opportunity for a Spanish team? Being Italian, I'm sure he would find it easy adapting to Spain.

    And , yes, his strong personality and history of not being easy in the dressing room will put a lot of clubs off.

    If the right job comes up in PSG, Italy or England, he will go for it
     
  5. It's not easy to draw clear parallels between Russian and English clubs. Many clubs have a character that derives from their past, which is bound in with Soviet social and political history. Thus, it often doesn't translate well for making comparisons.

    Spartak and the Rags is the most obvious one, though. Spartak has historically been the best supported club, attracting glory-hunting fans across the country. They were known as the 'People's Team' in Soviet days because they lacked the political connections of some of their opponents. Obviously they were careful not to antagonise the reguime, but more than one historian has written that a lot of people did feel that, by following Spartak, they were getting one over on the authorities. They still have that cachet and are regularly referred to as such in the media.

    In the nineties, just as United came into their own after the formation of the PL, Spartak won 10 out of the first 11 titles in the new Russian league (i.e. after the Soviet league, which included clubs from the whole Soviet Union, disbanded). As United led the way with commercialisation of the English game, Spartak did the same in Russia, producing all kinds of branded goods (I remember that, 20 years ago, ads for Spartak Cola, in particular were everywhere). And while, since the early part of the Milennium, Spartak have been relatively unsuccessful in comparison with United, the attitude of the fans, belief in their exceptionalism, in the 'Spartak Way', makes me think the comparison holds.

    When I lived in Moscow in the late 1990s, I thought that Dinamo Moscow were the best comparison for City. They'd never played outside the top flight but were looking like going down (they avoided it, though they've been relegated since then), so in effect were at the worst ebb in their history. After being a historically very successful club, they hadn't won the league since 1976 (a resonant date for Blues in the pre-ADUG era) and were famous for having two brilliant keepers, including the legendary Yashin, from the 1930s to the 1960s. They played in blue and white, and had seen their red rivals start to win everything in sight as they struggled.

    Dinamo are still basically shit, though, so we need someone else as our City reference point in the ADUG era. I'd probably have to say Zenit. Now, I've seen them compared with various English clubs in the past - Newcastle and Leeds (when the latter were playing in the PL and Europe), on the basis that it's a city with one major club. Meanwhile, Chelsea were quite often compared with them when I came back to Russia in 2007 - neither won much up to relatively recently and both were transformed by oil money. But I think City is the better comparison, at least now.

    We also have the shared narrative of a well-supported club that historically underachieved but have been propelled forward by big money investment. St Petersburg is twinned with Manchester (true fact), another one-team city (!), and Zenit have started playing in light blue (albeit more a lazer blue of the type we had for a few years starting with Kappa rather than the current shade). Both clubs were top of the pile in 2012 and looked as though they might really set a fierce pace for the rest. Both will be disappointed with a single domestic title since then. I'm not sure whether Zenit fans as a group would see this, but my son-in-law is persuaded, anyway.

    As for who the Millwall is, you mean a team that's widely disliked? Not sure, really. In the 1990s, at Moscow grounds at the time of the Chechen wars, you'd hear cheers if they announced the half-time scores and one of the clubs from the Caucasus was losing (mainly Alania at the time). I've not noticed that for a while, though. Not sure gthere's any real equivalent of Millwall as in a club widely disliked by all other fans. Most seem to just dislike their team's traditional rival.

    If you say you support Zenit, you'll get a bit of stick from anyone who supports a Moscow side. If you say you support a Moscow side, you'll probably get stick from fans of the others (and of Zenit). Lokomotiv are probably the least likely to get people's backs up as they had such an unremarkable history in the Soviet period, winning almost nothing, that they don't really count as traditional rivals for the other teams from the capital, though it's building a little as they've been decent for 15 years.

    You could pick a provincial side. Not many people would be offended if you supported someone like Arsenal Tula, I wouldn't imagine, because teams of this nature don't - with the best will in the world - make much impact on the consciousness of fans other than their own.
     
  6. Southern

    Southern

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    Mate, appreciate your massive effort with that post! You'll be the go to man on here next Summer
     
  7. No problem. Looking forward to Russia 2018. I work for the law firm that has been advising FIFA on Russian law matters since the start of the bidding process, so I kind of feel as though I have a (very small) stake in it.

    Anyway, Zenit drew 1-1 away to Rosenborg last night. Ex-Arsenal forward Nicklas Bendtner gave the home side the lead early in the second half with a penalty but an injury-time Kokorin equaliser rescued Zenit. Maybe not quite the most momentous 94th-minute goal Roberto has been associated with, but one he'll be happy with in the circumstances. Zenit have now qualified for the knock-out phase of the Europa League with two group games left, though they may end up needing a draw away to Real Sociedad to win the group.

    Next up it's Rubin Kazan away. They're not in great form this season - in fact, in tenth place out of sixteen teams, they're only a point off the fourth from bottom spot which would require them to play in a relegation play-off. But it won't be easy for Zenit, as Rubin's coach is Kurban Berdyev, a canny veteran who's a master of exactly the kind of defensive tactics that have recently been thwarting Mancini's team. The St Petersburg outfit could really do with a win, though - not least because this round of fixtures includes a Moscow derby between leaders Lokomotiv and third-placed CSKA, meaning that at least one major rival will drop points.
     
  8. Zenit drew 0-0 on the road at Rubin Kazan, despite having the better of the game. The 1st v 3rd Moscow derby between Lokomotiv and CSKA ended two all, so as you were at the top - Zenit are still 3 points off the lead but 4 ahead of their nearest challengers. They have some thinking to do, I guess, so maybe the international break has come at the right time.
     
  9. deano ou812

    deano ou812

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    Any rumours doing the rounds mate as to Mancini being linked to jobs in the premier league..
     
  10. Nothing in the Russian press. The only recent mention of Mancini possibly coming to the PL that I've seen in the press here was when Shakespeare was sacked by Leicester and a Russian journalist asked him if he'd be interested in the vacancy. He said he wouldn't, quite decisively.
     

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