Archive for category Manuel Pellegrini
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Manuel Pellegrini deployed Javi Garcia at centre back for the majority of Manchester City’s pre-season, and it’s safe to say the Spaniard was rather underwhelming in his new found defensive role. Despite the early warnings, Pellegrini opted to play Garcia along side Joleon Lescott away at Cardiff on Sunday, despite having a bright, up and coming centre back in Dedryck Boyata available.
Having watch the majority of City’s pre-season fixtures, I feared the worst for the Blues when I saw the Lescott and Garcia pairing in the starting line up. Ever since Garcia signed for City from Benfica, he has struggled to adapt to life in the Premier League in his preferred central midfield position. So placing him at centre-back, somewhere he has very rarely played in the past, in a league where he has struggled to adapt in the first place was tactical suicide from Manuel Pellegrini.
So why isn’t Garcia suitable? For me, a strong central defensive partnership in the Premier League consists of strength, pace, and experience. That’s why, in my view, Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott complement each other perfectly. Kompany has all three attributes that I feel are necessary in a central defensive partnership; strength, pace, and experience. Lescott lacks pace, but is very strong and has years of Premier League experience under his belt.
Garcia has come into a new league with a completely different style of football, and has struggled to make an impact. He lacks Premier League experience, with just a handful of starts to his name. He’s also extremely slow both on the ball and off it, and for a man of his size, he’s weak when challenging for the ball. Alongside Lescott, City’s defence has no pace, and during their enounter with Cardiff you could see the pair struggling to keep up with the likes of Fraser Campbell and Craig Bellamy.
At set pieces during that game, City’s defensive organisation was shambolic and it ended up costing them the game. Javi Garcia isn’t used to playing at centre-back and isn’t used to having such a predominant defensive role during set pieces. It’s impossible to say whether City would’ve been more organised at the back if Boyata or even Nastasic (who was among the subs) would’ve been paired with Lescott, but I definitely feel an out-and-out centre back would have been more suitable for the Citizens on Sunday.
It will be interesting to see whether Pellegrini sticks with Lescott & Garcia at centre-back next weekend as they host Hull. The fact Matija Nastasic was among the subs indicates he may be returning to full fitness, and could start next week. If that is the case, I’m sure Nastasic’s return will be greeted with relief by City fans!
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