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Team Talking Points
Roberto Mancini blasted Micah Richards for even mentioning that players were sick and tired of adapting to in-game adjustments (via Tim Rich at The Guardian):
Maybe Micah doesn't know this because he has been out for two and a half months. He has probably worked on it less than other players but the next time we play this system Micah can stay on the bench and we will use another player who understands the system.
If you are a top player, it is not important what system you use. If you don't understand that, then you are not a top player and you cannot play for a top club. I understand what people are writing but we work every day here on tactical situations.
The ultimate irony of Mancini's much-maligned 3-5-2 is that Matija Nastasić, who featured in that formation at Fiorentina, struggles.
Yet as soon as he starts in a conventional back four, he has been superb. He's been Manchester City's best player in recent times. He should be a lock to win the November Etihad Player of the Month.
With one of the most expensive squads in history, Manchester City were humbled by a bunch of Ajax youngsters, the same side that conceded three to Heracles four days earlier and were beaten 2-0 by Vitesse a few weeks later.
Ajax also lost Jan Vertonghen, the reigning Eredivisie Player of the Season, to Tottenham Hotspur. Vurnon Anita, the club's best defensive midfielder, was sold to Newcastle United.
Dmitri Bulykin, the supersub, left for Twente.
It was pathetic that for the second season running, City flopped in the UEFA Champions League.
Some of Mancini's decisions are odd—and that's putting it kindly.
Subbing on James Milner even though City needed three points against Real Madrid.
Benching Mario Balotelli against Everton after he finally scored against Wigan Athletic.
The pointless rotation system being used so early in the season.
The stubbornness in refusing to listen to his players, who don't want anything to do with the 3-5-2, according to Richards.
Roberto, perhaps you're not a top manager.
Somehow, some way, City are unbeaten after 15 Premier League games.
Will they implode like Chelsea?
Or will they finish the league season unbeaten like Arsenal? After 15 games, The Invincibles had won 10, drawn five. City have won nine, drawn six.
MVP: Edin Džeko, Bosnian Centre-Forward, Age: 26
With Grafite and Zvjezdan Misimović, Džeko led Wolfsburg to the Bundesliga over Bayern Munich. The Bosnian is the man, and he can't accept a secondary role as a supersub.
It's degrading to him, which is why he has voiced his frustrations with that role (via Jason Burt at The Telegraph): "You can call me whatever you want but I will never accept that I'm a super-sub."
Manchester City's NextGen team didn't perform to their potential, but Denis Suárez was a class act. If he was a Real Madrid or Barcelona player, he'd be playing Segunda football, which is the equivalent of the Championship.
In Spain, Real and Barça have reserve sides in the second division, hence why they consistently produce elite footballers from their cantera.