Viewing Manchester City in a rather pessimistic manner enables one to be able to pick up on miniscule features that are frequently overlooked by neutrals; despite an extremely impressive victory over Liverpool I was very frustrated with the lacklustre performance of Yaya Touré. From start to finish Touré strolled around the pitch in a brash manner simply assuming he could win the game without giving 100%. Touré would frequently receive the ball and attempt ridiculous long balls or attempt to shoot from preposterous angles, we all know how talented he is but sometimes it just isn’t appropriate. His lethargic attitude throughout the 90 minutes forced Fernando to absolutely run his socks off and was arguably man of the match, if it wasn’t for a mesmerising performance from Jovetic.
Throughout the duration of last season the majority of City fans seemed to have an infatuation with Brazilian Fernandinho, he would continuously make the complex actions look simple enabling a more enthusiastic Yaya Touré to bomb forward heavily influencing the attack. However after the infamous summer incident the African Player of the Year doesn’t seem as interested in giving 100% for the Citizens. The signing of Fernando was questionable after the remarkable season from Fernandinho and the much improved Javi Garcia; it has since come to light that Garcia wished to leave for unknown reason now playing for Zenit St. Petersburg in the Russian Premier League. We may only be 2 games into the season but the talk on the Etihad Campus certainly is about how astute of a signing Fernando is, even if it does cost Fernandinho precious game time, or should it?
City have always been known for their formidable forward line and questionably shaky defence, the full backs love to support the attackers which can frequently leave the defence exposed. Fernandinho always tended to venture forward leaving an exploitable gap in front of the two centre backs. Against weaker teams this works in a beneficial manner leading to extravagant goals and victories by large deficits, but against stronger teams like Liverpool & Chelsea it can often be disadvantageous to the sky blues. Fernando has instantly began to solve this problem by sitting far deeper than Fernandinho did giving Kompany and Demichelis far more support than they usually get. Liverpool is frighteningly dangerous going forward with the pace & agility of Sterling incorporated alongside the clinical Sturridge.
So on Monday night when the Reds were pressing Fernando always seemed to arrive in the nick of time to save the day; whether it was just a simple foot in to break up the attack or a genuine tackle resulting in a counter attack of his own. The energy and persistence I saw from Fernando is exactly what City need to put a stop to being so easily exposed during counter attacks and conceding needless, silly goals. One may argue that eventually the wall crumbled and a goal was fumbled over the line by a very unlucky Pablo Zabaleta; however both sides had given up accepting the result at hand, all three substitutions had been used by both teams with next week’s fixture already on their minds.
Moreover it still now seems like Fernando is having much more to do in midfield than Fernandinho did in the previous year, perhaps it may be advantageous to drop Yaya Touré and start Fernandinho in a more advanced role which should insert a lot of energy and hunger into the midfield. Although you automatically lose quality when excluding a player of Touré’s calibre it is never worth having a player in the ranks that believes they are bigger than the club itself. The addition of Frank Lampard during may add a sense of experience and calmness to the midfield which may help cure City’s main problem which is conceding needless goals.
Chelsea have unquestionably strengthened in the right positions meaning City will have to improve on last season if they want to retain the Premier League trophy, if Fernando can maintain these brilliant performances throughout the season it may just help Manchester City have that little bit extra desire to bring the title back to the Etihad.