Quick passing, movement and in the last third – two touch football. United have learnt from their defeats to Barcelona in recent years and Fergie has added what his team has been missing since Tevez and Ronaldo left – pace. Not only physical pace, but quickness of thought too. Young, Cleverly (who was nearly released as a teen according to Gary Neville), Jones and Wellbeck have added to the already dynamic Nani, Evra and Rooney. The second goal was art in football form, straight from the Nou Camp.
City have a team to challenge
They weren’t as sharp as United from kick off but they still went 2-0 up at half time. Apart from Silva none of their players really turned up, but still, went 2-0 up. They will be better for the loss and their solid spine of Hart, Kompany, De Jong and Toure will win them points simply from grinding teams down. Silva (who I have to say I was skeptical about) is the joker of the pack, he can turn a game on a sixpence – his passing and movement are a joy to watch – a Modric but further up the pitch – one thing that they need to sort out is Tevez. Aguero may be a replacement but even if he is, Tevez got over 40% of City’s goals last year…
Dzeko has a good shot
But maybe not much else. I have watched Dzeko with interest, he had a fantastic time in Germany (66 goals in 111 games) and when he moved it was after a poor season with Wolfsburg he needed time to settle and didn’t really get going last season. Yet after a full pre-season he still looks cumbersome, slow and his first touch at times was dire. He may come good, but he doesn’t look great at the moment. But at least he has a good shot.
Cleverly has a chance
When Cleverly came on at half time United were much quicker, getting the ball deep or on the centre circle he sprayed it right, left and forward. Quickly moving with the ball and getting it back and moving it. His technique is ever so slightly awkward (his body shape tends to lean forwards/downwards too much) but he dominated the midfield against Toure and De Jong, and that isn’t a mean feat. Maybe Carrick is the first to be worried…
Super Mario didn’t get his 1-UP this morning
I love Mario Ballotelli. He has all the technical talent in the world, has swagger, pace and attitude. But his mental state isn’t quite there. From the moment he got into a tussle with Vidic you knew he hadn’t got his 1-Up this morning. Gary Neville said that he was an embarrassment to Mancini and Jamie Redknapp said he was a liability – it’s hard to argue with either of them at the moment. But…if he can turn it on, even if it’s only for 6 weeks at some point in the season, then he could be worth his weight in gold coins.