Man City Scout Report: Strengths & Weaknesses

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General Trends in Games between the clubs;

  • It’s a low scoring fixture; Only 1.6 goals per game in the last 3 matches between the clubs. City have scored just once in the last four and a half hours of football at Goodison
  • City will control the ball; Our visitors will dominate possession although it will not always be threatening possession e.g. the most frequent passing combinations in the last two games for City have been Lescott – Kompany and Yaya Toure to Barry.
  • Toffee’s will look for territory gains; Territory wise it is something of a dead heat i.e. whilst City have all the ball it is predominantly in our half with us getting 11 men behind the ball and playing more direct from back to front.
  • Set plays key for us; City roughly create double the amount of chances than we do, with ourselves creating a higher percentage from set plays.
  • Blues graft will be crucial; Due to City’s possession we have always had to work harder in terms of being off the ball for longer periods. The exception to this was the last game when City regained possession more than us despite having more of the ball, a consequence of us looking to keep shape and not press as much (which could lose to us losing defensive shape). We will generally defend compact with full backs tucked in to snuff out the central areas as shown below …so we basically give City space but in wide areas where they are less threatening.
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Manager and Player Analysis

New Picture (18)Roberto Mancini

The Italian’s defensive strategy is based on a defensive six (4 defenders, 2 defensive mids)  When not on the ball he likes his sides to press and win it back quickly. Going forward Mancini plays a possession focused game, making sure the ball is moved around the pitch, probing for spaces to invite defences to come out to press and then exploit with a killer pass.

The focus is on being quick and sharp in the counter attack and moving quickly in tight spaces going forward with fast paced players who can penetrate spaces between opposition lines and create opportunities. For example, the below shows the average positions of the teams in last season’s fixture  (efc left/city right) ….the lines between our defence and midfield are the areas City’s attacking players (circled) predominantly operate and look to make gains.

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Likely Team…..

Joe Hart

Comparisons with Casillas and Buffon were ridiculous but Hart is a solid performer with a good command of his area. Has kept 30 clean sheets in the Premier League since August 2011, nine more than any other ‘keeper in that period and has conceded fewer goals on the road than any top flight stopper this season. Also loves chill-axing post match down the go-cart track.

Pablo Zabaleta

Versatile performer who has been City’s most consistent player this season from right back. Great tackler, good going forward and also competent in the air. The only fly in his ointment is a propensity to get a bit too tight which has led to him making the most fouls and being dribbled past more than anyone in the City squad.

Vincent Kompany

Should dislodge part time car salesman Kolo Toure in the right of centre slot despite the Ivorian recently being in decent form. A genuine colossal customer both in the air and on the deck. Not the greatest defender in terms of distribution. Only slight blot on his copybook is a fondness to go to ground which has led to a few issues with referees in the last twelve months.

Joleon Lescott

Lescott appears on his way out of the club after losing his place to the excellent Nastasic. The ex blue is usually selected against sides with a significant aerial threat so will likely be in contention for a start in this one. The Serb has a much higher tackle completion rate and crucially unlike Lescott can pass the ball; Nastasic has completed 33% more passes per game and is particularly good in terms of long range passing, making 4.3 successful long passes per game to lescott’s 1.3.

Gael Clichy

An excellent tackler with great mobility. at 5’9 he’s the same height as Pablo Zabaleta but is less capable in the air winning less than half his aerial duels. Can at times be targeted by opposition managers as a weak link so expect Heitinga/Gibson to loft balls in his direction towards Fellaini.

James Milner

The archetype English player with the exception of being tee total. Usually deployed on the right of midfield to track baines, started the last 2 games at goodison before being subbed off both times after City have fallen behind. Grafter who is more notable for his ability off the ball than on it…will give you a wet shirt at the end of the game. Once had a trial with the toffees and looks like a right laugh off the pitch.

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Yaya Toure

Rightfully lauded as the lynchpin of the side.  Last time was restricted from making his trademark forward surges due to picking up Fellaini further back particularly from Howard kick outs. Will most likely have a similar brief in this game. Hopefully he has an off day.

Javi Garcia

Much better than Gareth Barry. Ex Benfica and Real Madrid midfielder and occasional centre back. Is good in the air and can move the ball well. Is susceptible to being beaten for pace.

David Silva

We’ll need to watch this cat. The key mischief-maker who averages a chance created every 26 minutes in the top flight this season. Notably struggles in these encounters with our restriction of space through the middle. Failed to create a single chance in the game at the Etihad this season and was man marked out of the game by Rodwell last season. Not as sharp going towards his own goal and was chastised by Mancini for not tracking Baines run in the first half in the move which led to Fellaini goal earlier this season.

Carlos Tevez

Vile no necked sub humanTevez has been mostly the support striker this season, leading to him assisting 7 goals – the joint highest with Silva. Generally has struggled against us in the past and has not scored in open play in 11 games vs everton for 3 different clubs. Better to keep him on his left peg with 87% of his goals this season coming from his right foot.

Eden Dzeko

The nailed on starter for City; always plays against us when fit due to his physicality and will pick up Fellaini from set pieces. Predominantly right footed forward who has also never scored against Everton.


5 thoughts on “Man City Scout Report: Strengths & Weaknesses

  1. As a City fan I must applaud an excellent piece. Probably the best I’ve seen from opposing fans this season and there is nothing much in your facts or opinions I can disagree too much with (although I think Barry will play). I would like to say I am hoping for a good game whatever the result but experience tells me it will be dull as dishwater.

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