Adam Johnson Should Start in the Premier League for Manchester City, Not Europa League

Manchester City have now lost three games on the bounce after Thursday’s Europa League match v Lech Poznan away. Losses to Arsenal at home and Wolves at Molineux in the Premier League have seen a few eyebrows raised in the direction of boss Roberto Mancini who seems to be a bit tactically naive as of late.

Injuries have plagued some of Mancini’s first choice squad in the form of Carlos Tevez, Alexsandar Kolarov and Mario Balotelli, but the strength in depth of City’s squad because of their long reaching financial arm should be able to compete with the likes of Wolves. City’s inefficiencies as of late shouldn’t be blamed on the players, but Mancini, who needs to begin questioning himself and how he sets up City.

Already having secured the dreaded vote of confidence from Garry Cook concerning his future with the club, Mancini has been involved in a number of gaffs as City pursue Champions League football for next season. In City’s home loss to Arsenal in October, Mancini elected to start 19 year old Dedryck Boyata instead of Joleon Lescott in defense. Although Boyata is no mug and can hold his own as a defender, his youth and inexperience proved to be City’s downfall on the day as he was sent off after five minutes.

Star winger Adam Johnson languished on the bench that day as well as City’s next league match away to Wolves. Matters started bright for City as they took a deserved 0-1 lead through Emmanuel Adebayor’s early penalty but then seemed to sit back and invite an accepting Wolves attack to pursue the equalizer. While Johnson has seen his fair bit of action in the Premier League this year, and more recently as a substitute, a player of his quality should be getting the full 90 minutes each weekend as long as match fitness proves he can.

Other instances under scrunty while Mancini’s watchful eye flutters include Shay Given and Joe Hart’s late night drinking session in Scotland, rumors of unsettling within the squad and now Carlos Tevez’s (easily City’s best player) prolonged injury/vacation back home to Argentina. All points raise the question of whether or not Mancini actually has the trust of and control over his squad.

While I don’t believe Roberto Mancini to be a poor manager or one in decline, his exclusion of Johnson as a starter in the Premier League continues to baffle me. The aforementioned Europa League loss on Thursday did witness Johnson start the match, but he was surrounded by what was essentially City’s B squad – Patrick Vieira, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Wayne Bridge and Pablo Zabaleta.

Is Mancini seriously lumping his star winger in the categegory of matches deemed less important than the Premier League? What’s going on with Johnson or at City that we don’t know about? While Mancini’s tactics that served him so well in Serie A with Inter Milan have witnessed City reach 4th spot and likely qualify for the next round of Europa League play, one could only imagine what City would look like both on the pitch and in the table had Mancini set out to attack with Adam Johnson as one of his focal points.

Adam Johnson is a star in the making in the Premier League. There’s no doubt he’ll be as good of a winger as Gareth Bale soon and with age on his side, could terrorize left backs in the Premier League for years to come.

14 thoughts on “Adam Johnson Should Start in the Premier League for Manchester City, Not Europa League”

  1. I don’t think that is a valid argument, What u mentioned as a second line for Man City is pretty decent compared to the opposition they were facing, albeit I too am befuddled at the lack of starts for Johnson in EPL , he should be using the Europa league to showcase his talent.

  2. as a City fan, he’s not as good as Bale, and Bale is 2 years younger. I’m not Mancini’s biggest fan, but I understand what he’s doing here – AJ has gotten quite the big head since his emergence and he’s keeping him grounded. Add in the fact that a) he makes a better substitute running at tired fullbacks and b) he’s not in the same universe as David Silva, it isn’t surprising that he doesn’t start a lot of games, and with Tevez coming back, Balotelli making his debut, and Adebayor in good form, he will get even less opportunities.

  3. the hype around johnson typifies the casual voyeur nature of the worlds football following with regards city. a quick look, throw in a few assumptions based on hysteria and sterotype, and they think they know whats going on.

    johnson is your classic match of the day, youtube highlights type player. outstanding dribbler with a refreshing naivety and freedom just to pick up the ball and run at opponents. when he is in full flow he is great to watch. but he doesnt do that for 90 minutes! he often plays with his head down, his fitness is an issue, and his style of an old fashioned touchline hugging winger when he hasnt got the ball, means that at the moment, in todays premiership and the team that he is in, he cannot be a kept in as a passenger.

    he is much better suited at the moment to his cameo roles and occasional starts against “inferior” opposition. he is a major weapon for city off the bench at the moment to stretch the game and provide a more direct force when more impetus is needed. but from the start, the industry of milner and the probing and constant availability for the ball of silva, and the box-2-box drive of toure is much preferred in the 4-2-3-1 system currently operated

    he has time on his side, and an outstanding professional role model to follow in david silva. his time will come if he keeps his feet on the ground and bides his time. and city should play enough games this season that he starts over half of them

    1. mosdef, your only right if your the opposition. Johnson is not in the same league as Silva I agree with the previous posters in that he is a great impact player but when he starts he doesn’t seem as affective as he is when introduced as a sub, hopefully this will change in time.

    1. BLUEST,

      It wouldn’t have, but what Johnson can offer in attack for City would have been a much better option than City, under Mancini, deciding to sit back and invite Wolves to attack.

      The proof in that idea is the fact that City looked a different side when Johnson was brought on late in the game and already down a goal.

      So again, the point being that Mancini got his tactics wrong. He should have instructed his side to attack as opposed to sitting on their slim lead.

  4. I agree with the general theme of the comments on here that Johnson is over rated by the media. He looks good in clips shown of him running ata full back but his game is not complete and defensively he is suspect

  5. Jesse-

    how did you get your man united tickets on your trip? i went last year and bought a hospitality package which was expensive, i am looking to go on my birthday and wanted to know where to look for non hospitality tickets.

  6. Balotelli, arguably Johnson’s main competition now, has three goals in three city matches which is the same amount Johnson has in the past year. I’m a huge fan of Johnson, but City is a very good side and Mancini is a very good manager. Johnson is also going to find it harder to get into the side when both of Mancini’s first choice fullbacks are back in match fitness as they will be providing the width that Johnson so adequately provides.

  7. Another reason why foreigners are ruining the game – they won’t give the English players games. He’s turned City into an African Cup of Nations side.

    1. Three African players doesn’t not constitute a side. Just because players are not white, or English, does not mean they are from Africa.

  8. Ridiculous article. You’re completely overrating the ability of Adam Johnson, he’s a good winger and a good player for the premier league, but he’s not world class. David Silva is a lot better and Balotelli is another option so Johnson will have a hard time getting on the field. Also, he is actually older than Gareth Bale so no, age is not on his side and he well never become a better player than him unless if Bale picks up a couple horror injuries which is very unlikely to happen. City need to be patient and build up a squad to do well, but the best manager for that is Martin O’Neill, look what he did to Villa without much resources. They went from 16th place to become a squad that were unlucky not to reach 4th spot at least once in the last few years. And I don’t understand all this hostility against foreign players in some of the comments – did you EDL members even watch the world cup??

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