Saturday, 10 September 2016

Manchester is Blue for Now: Lessons from the Derby

Mkhitaryan is not a winger

With his abject performance against the Citizens, the Armenian is now going to be thrust into the "Dortmund players flop out of Dortmund" narrative. The truth however is simple: he is not a winger.

The player was named the best player in Germany last season, not for his compatriotism with the Kardashians but for his exploits down the middle of the pitch, making vertical runs on and off the ball as most of Dortmund's dynamic attacks and counter attacks went through him.

It remains a wonder why Mourinho signed him only to play him in a position he so notoriously struggled during his early days at Dortmund.

The most promising sign of what he can do came in the first half hour when he caught City defenders unaware with an excellent run – although he was slightly offside – through the middle.

If Mou has no plan to play him there, he might as well put the player out of his misery early on.


Jitters for Bravo but Pep won't care

We all saw it, Claudio Bravo had a nightmare, and on a different day, the scoreboard would have been more reflective of his errors but ultimately, he gave what the philosopher wanted and would always want – recycling the ball rather than killing it.

Victor Valdez was practically horrible in terms of the reactive abilities of a goalkeeper but was fantastic in anticipation and playing the ball with his feet – exactly what the Chilean is capable of.

It is tempting to suspect Pep suffers from clinical delusion after his comments about Bravo's performance but from the Guardiola perspective, especially after watching Hart and Caballero, he couldn't have been more right.

Pogba Must learn to keep it simple or take a seat beside Memphis

A world record transfer fee wasn't the missing ingredient preventing Pogba from turning into a magician and someone – anyone – needs to drive it through his hairstyle. Time and again did he kill promising moves that Eric Baily and Daley Blind worked their bums off to kick-start because he wanted to do something world-class-y with the ball.

It has been his m o ever since his second coming, much like Memphis decided to begin his United career to his detriment. The difference is that this time he was up against world class midfield opponents who would never allow him play like the playground bully.

Pogba just needs to take a look at his two transfer record predecessors to realise that sticking to your game at first is sometimes the best way to go.

City should proceed with cautious optimism, it won't always be this easy

There is no denying that City were largely helped by United's unwillingness to press as hard as their opponents, a few unlucky moments and occasional lack in concentration.

City played impressively but for some reason, Manchester United just let them. City will not get such space and time on the ball against hard pressing teams like Liverpool and Conte's Chelsea and those bus parking hopeless teams.

They can move on with optimism however as they can only get better, with the possibility that they might just walk away with the league in feasible sight.

Zlatan's self-centeredness harmed the team

They say the best strikers are often selfish. It's what makes them the best. Not in this case however, not in this game.

Pogba thinks he can become a magician, Zlatan on the other hand thinks he's already one. He continuously tried to pull a hat out of bunny whenever the goal was in his sight.

There were lots of times when his ability to hold the ball up and involve his incoming teammates were the obvious smart move but the big Swede doesn't do obvious. He was instead busy chasing
YouTube highlights.

It won't matter though, not for Mourinho. The arrogant pair seem to have set up tents in  each other's ***es.

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