Manuel Pellegrini’s naivety about his Manchester City squad, which we discussed last Monday was again on full display this Saturday against Hull City. The Blues were unable to control the tempo in the midfield due to the inability of Yaya Toure, David Silva and Fernandinho to possess the ball effectively. The continued omission of Jack Rodwell and Gareth Barry means the club lacks a ball winner in midfield. Joleon Lescott’s performance was shocking, finding himself poorly positioned multiple times and unable to effectively mark Danny Graham.
Speaking of David Silva, Samir Nasri proved to be more creative towards the tail-end of last season and this preseason. I am surprised Silva continues to start ahead of the recently recalled French international. Manchester City may have expensively assembled talent but the management change was ill-advised and perhaps based more on personality and style than results. Pellegrini is a smart tactician but unless he quickly grasps what English football is like, City can be written off as a title contender even at this early stage. With six sides possibly contending for the top four, Champions League qualification, though likely, is not assured either for the Blues.
It was so refreshing to see Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway do a little jig at Selhurst Park after the Eagles 3-1 win over Sunderland. Palace’s former manager Dougie Freedman is leading Bolton towards disaster after not securing promotion last season. The Trotters sit bottom of the Championship table after a 4-1 defeat at Ewood Park to Blackburn.
West Bromwich Albion is struggling to even gain a foothold this season. The midfield duo of Claudio Yacob and Youssouf Mulumbu, who were so effective in controlling tempo last season, have been ineffective this year.
Michu was simply brilliant for Swansea against West Bromwich Albion. Talk had begun to intensify that the Spaniard was going through a second season syndrome in English football but his Sunday shift should put to rest any such talk.
Burnley’s 3-0 win at Pride Park against Derby County was a statement of intent. Even after Charlie Austin’s sale to QPR, the Clarets can contend for promotion from the Championship this season.
In the Bundesliga, Bayern Munich‘s performance against Freiberg was unambitious and complacent. Perhaps the side had an eye forward towards the European Super Cup but the midfield seemed more content to knock the ball around than anything that was risky while leading 1-0. In the end Bayern was burned and drew 1-1.