Could it be at all possible that Manchester City could be at the center of more criticism? The answer to that is yes, of course, as the “Noisy Neighbors” have a Argentinean striker that seems to have trouble coming to terms with the fact that as a footballer, he must play football. Meanwhile, City play Liverpool today in the Reds’ most important match of the season. Today’s “Daily Ticker” will cover that match, heroics in the African Cup of Nations, as well as the rest of the day’s news, followed by another rant, which may appeal to the Citizens.
As alluded to above, Manchester City have punished Carlos Tevez for not showing up for training in November. The owners decided that a withdrawal of 9.3 million pounds from the Argentines bank account would be appropriate punishment for the man who refuses to play. Tevez’s decision not to play in the Bayern Munich match was the last straw for him. City have stated that they are open to selling the player at the right price, because as we all know they are in deep need of financial support.
Rodallega Ready to Roll?:
Wigan Athletic’s Hugo Radallega may be headed off for bigger and better things in the near future. The striker is all but sure that he will depart from Roberto Martinez’s direction in May when is contract runs out. In a interview with Caracol Radio, Rodallega said, “These are my last three months with Wigan.”
Nigerian Talent Headed for Loftus Road:
Taye Taiwo, AC Milan’s 26 year old right back, has joined Queens Park Rangers, becoming Mark Hughes’ first signing in his time in charge of the promoted club. This should prove to be a fantastic piece of business by the new kid on the block, as the Nigerian international has represented his nation 48 times and the Rossoneri on a few occasion in the Champions League this campaign.
Speaking of Taxes…:
Harry Redknapp is defending himself in court, on accusations that he evaded taxes in his time as Portsmouth manager. Amid the economic downturn, Pompey faced a financial crisis that has up through today. Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has condemned the club’s inability to pay up to the government. A “winding up order’ was placed upon the lads at Fratton Park, as the club is frantically searching for new investors.
African Cup of Nations:
Bakaye Traore’s deflected shot was enough to earn Mali victory over Guinea. However, the Guineans bombarded with attack after attack, but just like Liverpool has done all season, they failed to convert, leaving the spoils to Traore’s Mali.
2010 World Cup Quarterfinalists Ghana squeaked by a feisty Botswana yesterday with a 1-0 victory of their own. The Black Stars’ John Mensah was the hero of the day, as the defender’s 25th minute goal won the match for his nation, but he nearly became the villain, sending his country down to ten men after being sent off with 67 minutes gone.
Today, the Cup of Nations will return to Group A action when Libya face Zambia and co-hosts Equatorial Guinea match up with Demba Ba’s hungry Senegal.
Cardiff City 1(1)-0(1) Crystal Palace (Cardiff wins 3-1 on penalties)
The Welsh side is no stranger to Wembley, having been there in recent years to face Blackpool and Swansea. Overwhelming Crystal Palace with a whopping 27 shots and 61% of possession, Cardiff failed to put the visitors away and it took two phenomenal saves from keeper Tom Heaton to see the Blackbirds through to the Carling Cup Final.
Liverpool (1) vs. (0) Manchester City:
Banned Balotelli, Suarez, and Kompany will have to watch from afar as their sides battle for the right to take on Cardiff City. Despite Liverpool’s only goal in the last match coming from the spot, the Reds had ample opportunities to put City away at the Etihad. However, they let those chances slide on by and relied on their defense to ward off City. To their credit, Dalglish’s men picked up the all important away goal to get a leg up on the Citizens come leg two from Anfield
El Classico: Take Umpteen
Over the past year it seems there have been more Real Madrid vs. Barcelona battles than there have GOP debates. Another chapter will be written in the rivalry’s history books and hopefully negative football will not be a part of the battle. While the last El Classico featured Barca’s ability to pick out passes to wide open wing-backs and Pepe’s ability to stir up controversy in cup ties between the two, one would hope this go around will feature a match of football, and an intense tactical battle, as opposed to one in which twenty-two men roll around a field of grass pretending they need to be taken by helicopter to the local hospital.
(Recommendation: Watch Liverpool vs. Manchester City live and save this Spanish match-up for desert.)
The Daily Rant:
Could it be the Daily Rave though? While City have their shortcomings character-wise one must acknowledge their play on the pitch. Not only are the Citizens top of the table, but they have done it in style. Their ability to adapt to different styles of play and their work ethic are without question a perennial attribute of most members of the squad. The midfield has been run by Gareth Barry and James Milner all year and without Yaya Toure, only the Special One would be able to tell us where they would sit in the table. While the above three have played a tremendous role in the team’s success, everything has gone through David Silva. While it may seem obvious, the role of the Spaniard has changed as of late. Last year and early on in the season, Silva was fixed to the left or right side for the entire match. On Sunday, Silva had his coming out party, as he was given Steven Gerrard-like license by Roberto Mancini to roam the pitch. Against Spurs, I would argue that the Citizens played in a 4-3-1-2, with Silva acting as a withdrawn forward. This brilliant tactical development for City will boost creativity and give the side more flexibility, as if it does not have enough already. Should the young Andre Villas-Boas take note? How could he not? City have achieved exactly what he is trying to do with Juan Mata. The winger is a talent that could come more central to influence the game on a larger scale, as Silva has become a classic #10 at City.
In a side that is constantly changing one must also applaud the side for their reaction to in-game tactical audible. In their first Champions League fixture, City faced a counter-attacking Napoli side, which took shape in a 3-4-2-1. When Cavanni scored for Napoli 21 minutes from time, Mancini instantly switched his side into an optimistic 4-2-4. Within five minutes of conceding, the men in sky blue struck. By getting men forward, the lads were able to create a free-kick for Kolarov to hit. In perfect range for the back, he slotted it home with ease to earn City the draw.
Finally, the squad’s side to possess has been amazing. As Steve Nicol put it, they are the kind of team that will put you to sleep and score. The team strung 26 passes together to score one goal against United, in their humiliation of the Red Devils this fall.