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Discussion in 'Bluemoon forum' started by blueinsa, 15 Jan 2017.
I use to have my doubts about Bravo,
I haven'nt got them anymore
I want him to come through it and be a success but I'm very concerned about his shot-stopping. With regards to other keepers who are better than him, I said at the time that De Gaer would have saved all three of Chelsea's goals against us.
Alright lads, Toffee in peace here
Took a good read through lots of this thread and good to see some folk have their heads well and truly screwed on and clued up
For me, it was an odd game. Watching it I always felt we were comfortable, and after watching the horror shows of last year and the underwhelming Koeman reign outside of the first few games that is saying something. One of those times when 29% possession doesn't really tell the full story of how a game felt when you were there.
What surprised me about Pep was that he looked totally lost once the second goal went in and maybe more importantly didn't look to make many changes. Obviously he is different class given what he did with a jaded and ageing Barcelona but it reminded me a lot of Roberto Martinez's reign with us - lots of focus on playing the game, keeping the ball, dotting it back and forth and crab-like. Sometimes, especially when you're playing terrible opposition, it looks incredible and makes you fantasise about the 5-0s (like West Ham), but others you feel you just want to slap the players across the face because there's little urgency and a lack of penetration. When I was a lad, we were told to look for a forward pass as soon as we got the ball. If no forward pass was on, look for something that would retain possession (sideways, or dribble) and if none of that was on, and only if none of that was on, was it okay to pass backwards. Now maybe that's coloured my perception a little bit, but it still seems good to me.
Last year, Martinez made us a joke because he wouldn't adapt or compromise his vision and play pragmatically when needed. Granted, he also bought some dross like Niasse and apparently had all his subs and times decided and planned out before the game, but the stubbornness on the defensive side, not wanting to ever play more direct, and keeping a bumbling keeper cost him. I don't think that will happen with Guardiola - he's too good. He does need to realise that defending is an art to be appreciated in itself, though, and as much as we'd all love to see a Beckenbauer in every defensive position, that fella was also great on the back foot, too - defending. Ricardo Carvalho was a recent player who I feel would have done well under Pep. Stones could do with a Gimenez or Laporte next to him to shine.
Another thing is that Toure is past his sell by date. I didn't even realise he was playing until Gareth Barry of all people put him on his backside, which brings me to another point - Barry had his best game in months against a City midfield. The poor fella doesn't have the legs any more to play against a side with a decent tempo and good movement, so maybe that is a worry for you. De Bruyne is clearly your best player and was the focal point of most of your positive play in the first half (and has been against us a couple of times now), he faded in the second when you had to chase the game a little more though. Still can't believe Chelsea binned him.
To all the City fans complaining about Aguero, I'd have my left nut to have him over at Goodison. Like we have with Lukaku though, play to the fella's strengths. That being said, a 5'8" striker isn't exactly the luxury of a Lewandowski that Pep had at Barcelona - big, strong, pacy, plays deep or on the shoulder, kills it with both feet or in the air and can run for days. Not sure where he's going to get someone like that from, though Jesus has an engine on him.
At any rate, we played probably our best game of the season with a scoreline that flattered and you one of your worst, perhaps. If you move on Bravo, some more of the old guard like (Toure, Zabaleta, Kolarov), add a couple of astute signings and Pep adopts a more expansive repertoire you'll be up there again, but hopefully you're not throwing in the towel with the RS and Spurs (who I hope you smash) only a few points ahead of you like he seems to be hinting at.
Best of luck for the Spurs game and the rest of the season.
Very good read pal.
Excellent post and welcome to the forum!
This part I've highlighted is the only real part I take any issue with and even so I wouldn't say you're wrong.
Below is a clip of Guardiola I remember watching last year and something I think goes some way to disprove the idea that he is in favour of passing for the sake of passing:
He's frustrated that - once in the correct position and having received the ball - Vidal takes the easy option and passes backwards despite all the room in front of him. At this point, Bayern Munich are already ahead. This is not a manager content with simply recycling possession, this is a manager who wants to dominate all opposition.
How anyone could look at each of Pep's previous two clubs and come to the conclusion that any of their success while he was there was to do with aimless retention of possession is truly beyond me. I'm obviously not implying you take this viewpoint but it is a neat piece of media revisionism crowbarred in because it suits the current narrative and, indeed, our current performances on the pitch.
This is the only Guardiola team I have watched who look back at every opportunity and want to take the easy option. The other two would choose the easy option when it was the right option and not due to a lack of vision, drive, imagination or intelligence.
Good luck for the rest of the season, you've got an excellent squad, an excellent manager and excellent support.
Sorry if I wasn't clear in my post - this is basically what I meant - look to pass forward at every opportunity. The several times I've watched city (including at Goodison of course) there was a lot of the Vidal-y type passing.
Yes, he wants to dominate possession. My point really was its only worth dominating possession if you do something with it (and also if the players at your disposal are either robots who do everything right all the time, or intelligent players with tactical acumen). Martinez had the same problem that players ended up passing it around and he would mention often in the post-game interview "we needed a little more intensity, a little more penetration, but we were in a good moment" -- we rarely saw any of that happen. Tactical flexibility is needed rather than just frustration that the team isn't 100% effective with your preferred style and grinding something out while not playing your preferred style is a hallmark of great sides (though not necessarily needed to win titles, see: Mourinho's Chelsea). Guardiola praised your lads for a fantastic first half against us, but as I said I never felt we were in trouble at all, so what was so great? We ended the game on 29% possession and 4 goals. Reminded me a lot of when we'd all poke fun at Brendan Rogers at Liverpool because "we won da passing dough la". There was a post earlier in this thread where you pass it around your defence for several minutes and some were loving it. Unless Otamendi is going to smash a 80 yard piledriver or you're trying to keep a 1-0 lead in injury time it isn't always productive (though I admit it could have been rope-a-dope if we were pressing heavily).
One of the differences of course and already commented on by many Citizens in this thread is the quality of the squads at his disposal. He had an incredible team at Barcelona with probably the best midfield trio in decades. Then he went to Bayern and improved an already fantastic Jupp Heynkes side. Your midfield had a Toure who is past it and a full back playing holding midfielder and unfortunately Zabaleta is not Philip Lahm.
Still, people weren't moaning when you won 10 in a row earlier so that should give some perspective in the season but its definitely a transition one for you at this point (like it is us). Out go some of those that you'll be sad to see the back of because they're no longer good enough for what you need (e.g. Jagielka for us), no longer fit into the style of play that you're adopting (Deulofeu for us) or are incapable (Cleverly, though we're all very glad to see him leave to be honest). The calibre of players you'll probably end up sending out to pasture is fairly high, and many down to age, I think.
One last mention. Was very impressed with City fans who never stopped singing even in a decently loud Goodison. Some cracking away-day support there.