Manchester City Tactical Preview: How Roberto Mancini Will Set Up His Team
Here is Bleacher Report's tactical guide to the Citizens' 2012/13 English Premier League season.
Probable Starting XI vs. Southampton
*When David Silva is fit, he will likely replace Samir Nasri as the starting attacking midfielder.
Last season, in City's 4-2-3-1, David Silva, Samir Nasri and Sergio Aguero pulled the strings by maintaining huge amounts of pressure on the opposition's penalty area. The full-backs, namely Micah Richards and Gael Clichy, would push on and often create City more problems than solutions.
The wing-back fix
It seems Mancini has sought to fix the problem—maybe he got my e-mail?
The 3-5-2 allows great flexibility across every single position in the side and brings with it two new key players. There's a strong possibility that Mancini will get the best out of expensive signings Aleksandar Kolarov and James Milner now.
They have been asked to fulfil pure wing-back roles, meaning they are the exclusive wide players in the system. Carlos Tevez drifted to the side at times during the Community Shield game vs. Chelsea, but the was a distinct lack of congestion.
Three at the back
Another distinctly interesting aspect of the system is that Vincent Kompany now leads a line of three central defenders. Again, this is perfectly suitable to this team.
On his left will be Joleon Lescott, who plays either centre-back or left-back, so the transitions will be easy for him to make.
On his right will be Pablo Zabaleta, a man who can play just about anywhere and succeed. Kompany can move forward into one of the two deep midfield roles whilst on a surging run, and Yaya Toure or Nigel de Jong can drop back to cover.
Jack Rodwell looks like a perfect signing at this stage, as he can play across the back line or in the two midfield spots.
The old system
Let's not kid ourselves—the old system was damn effective as well. Mancini will still use that, and I predict a 50/50 split between the formations so long as the 3-5-2 is successful.
Really, this move just gives City an extra dimension if they need it, meaning Premier League teams will be even slower to figure out how to stop conceding four when facing them.
The new system mirrors that which Italy used in Euro 2012—Cesare Prandelli's 3-5-2 stifled Spain in the opening fixture and was rather impressive. It also utilised flexible players, and allowed those such as Emanuele Giaccherini and Christian Maggio to flourish whereas in the diamond, they couldn't.
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