Many Manchester City fans have created a frequent scapegoat in Martín Demichelis. Yet the Argentine defender has been solidly unspectacular this season helping the Blues stay in the title race to claim the first piece silverware this season — the Capital One Cup. When Demichelis’s name comes up, three points are always made by critics:
1. Demichelis’ extraordinarily pathetic attempt to clear Theo Walcott’s shot with his knee cap during Manchester City’s 6-3 win against Arsenal in December. Walcott’s shot went into the back of the net. This was certainly an embarrassing moment but Blues fans have tended to drone on about this particular moment.
2. His poor play in central midfield versus Chelsea on February 4 when the Citizens midfield was overrun. Demichelis was a stand-in for the injured Fernandinho. James Milner, who could also play in the middle of the pitch, was just coming off a groin injury and Pellegrini opted to rest him and play the defender out of position. He did not do well but was not the reason City lost that match.
3. His take-down of Lionel Messi as the last man back in City’s 2-0 UEFA Champions League loss to Barcelona. Any other defender would have done the same thing in that position.
The Argentine has plenty of pedigree and had, at times, played in the midfield for Bayern Munich. But towards the end of his time with the Bavarian giants, his lack of pace became more evident and was exposed badly in the final two seasons he spent in Germany.
After rehabilitating his career at Malaga in Spain, the Argentine is now a heady defender whose positioning sense is almost always perfect. Unlike some of the defenders the Blues have played the past few seasons, his clearances tend to be well placed and his ability to compliment the attack when pushing forward is excellent.
But for some reason, Demichelis has been singled out by Blues supporters every time something goes wrong at the back. Rather than focus on Yaya Toure’s sometimes lazy retreating runs, David Silva’s defensive weaknesses or the continued questionable defending of both regular City left-backs, the Argentine has been conveniently scapegoated.
Thankfully, manager Manuel Pellegrini doesn’t pay attention to the critics and has stuck with Demichelis, a player he knows well from his time at Malaga. With Manchester City’s attacking prowess showing signs of slowing in the past month, the contributions and experience of Demichelis are more important than ever as the side continues to chase silverware.
If Manchester City win the Premier League title, Demichelis will have played a major role in the triumph.