Telegraph: Chelsea strategy triumphs over City idealism
- 04 February 2014 08:02
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
As you can probably imagine, the headlines don’t make for great reading this morning.
I’d normally dodge the back pages of the newspapers, but seeing as I’m charged with delivering “what the media says”, I suppose I’d better make a start.
But just before I do, let me just say we’re still in second place in the Barclays Premier League table, just two points behind league leaders Arsenal, with five of our next six league games against bottom half teams.
To be fair, no-one seems to be jumping to the conclusion that City’s title tilt is over because our 20-game unbeaten streak is at an end...
Ok, fine! Enough time-wasting tactics... we’d better dive in.
In fairness, most reports heap praise on Jose Mourinho’s tactical masterclass rather than pile criticism on Manuel Pellegrini’s men.
Paul Hayward of the Telegraph describes Chelsea’s 1-0 win over City as a triumph for Mourinho's strategy over Pellegrini's idealism, drawing parallels with the Blues’ only other home defeat in all competitions.
“There were shades here of the Champions League defeat at home by Bayern Munich, who controlled the midfield, the ball and the game before City set off on their amazing run of net-busting victories,” Hayward wrote.
“This was a fixture to make Chelsea’s manager salivate. He knew that City would start with two strikers and at most one holding player."
...Paul Hayward - Telegraph...
“Mourinho was back to his Inter Milan days, when the plan was to absorb pressure, compress the play and counter-attack with unanswerable speed and force. For the second time this season City’s penchant for open, orchestral play, was exposed as decadent.
“Against most teams victory is assured by sheer weight of goals. At the start, City had won eight league games in a row for the first time since 1946-47.
“A ninth straight victory would have revived the glory years of 1912-13. But nobody in modern management can match Mourinho’s talent for exploiting weakness.”
One of a couple of positives to be drawn from last night’s match was the performance of Joe Hart between the posts for City.
England’s number one was a commanding presence throughout and made a crucial save from Ramires to keep his team in the game.
In doing so, Hart drew praise from the Guardian’s Manchester-based football journalist Jamie Jackson in his “Manchester City v Chelsea: Five Talking Points” piece.
“For the first part of the first half Hart was virtually a spectator as City dominated.” Jackson said.
“There was a regulation gather of a Samuel Eto'o shot from the left and, later, maybe even a stifled laugh as a David Luiz free-kick sailed skywards.
“Then came what might have felt Hart's redemptive moment as he flung himself at a Ramires shot to make fine save and prevent a certain goal.”
...Jamie Jackson - Guardian...
Eurgh, that’s enough about last night.
Let’s move on…
Finally, the January window may have closed four days ago but that doesn’t stop the papers from speculating on City’s potential transfer moves in the summer.
“Brown has represented England at youth level and has been watched by the Citizens' Elite Development manager Patrick Vieira on a number of occasions already,” Prenderville asserts.
“Despite being 17, Brown only signed pro forms at St Andrews last month but Pellegrini is keen to make him part of a clear recruitment drive at the Etihad.”
Of course, mcfc.co.uk should be your first and only port of call in the summer if you want confirmed transfer stories when the season is over and the deals are done.