Taking inspiration from Scolari’s famous 2002 World Cup winning tactics, Roberto Mancini’s Manchester City have kicked off their fight for back-to-back Premier League titles in a fluid, fast paced yet somewhat clumsy 3-4-1-2 lineup.
Smooth passing holding midfielders sitting in front of City’s robust defensive trio of Lescott, Toure and Kompany give the champions a solid defensive base, allowing players like Silva and Tevez to relentlessly terrorise opposition defences with the knowledge that the defence can comfortable tidy up its mistakes. Mancini’s responsible attacking wing backs are key players in this formation. They add width to the Citizens game and provide support to attacks and the defensive unit.
No player fits the role of Mancini’s wing backs or indeed City’s general brand of football, better than Maicon.
The skillful Brazilian epitomises the modern full-back. His powerful, dynamic attacking play causes nightmares for defences while his bags of stamina and general athleticism means that he can track opposing wingers and allows his centre-backs to concentrate on the strikers. His breakneck pace and superb passing ability mean that he will be more than capable of creating chances for the central players as well as fashioning chances for himself.
Maicon joins the English champions from Italian giants Inter, where he collected Serie A and Champions League winners’ medals. Inter famously adopt a "three at the back" style similar to Mancini’s City, and Maicon thrived in the right wing back role that he was given at the San Siro.
Former Real Madrid youngster Garcia more than plugs the hole left in the City squad by the departure of Dutch international Nigel De Jong. The slick passing defensive midfielder was a fan favourite at Benfica after leading the Lisbon side to their 2010 Primera Liga title. His box-to-box style of play and incredible work ethic earned him a reputation as a "warrior" in Portugal.
Mancini will be expecting battling performances in midfield from Garcia—providing support to the attacking players in addition to his role at the heart of the City defence. Garcia could be as vital to the Manchester club’s tactics as the wing backs, and his exceptional heading ability could add an extra dimension to their attack.
Mancini’s men have had a slow start to the 2012/13 season. After an average performance in the Community Shield, clumsy errors led to dropped points against Liverpool and a shaky (and debatably lucky) win against new boys Southampton.
Spaniard Garcia, alongside powerhouse Yaya Toure, gives Mancini a solid midfield, and with players like Tevez, Nasri and Silva, Manchester City are a force to fear when they attack through the middle of the park. The addition of Maicon will make City outrageously dangerous from the flanks, meaning that opposing defences will face a blitz of attack from every angle.
I can see Premier League defenders quaking in their boots already.