‘Take a Bow…’ 5 Things I Noticed – United v City

3. How far can Nani go?

Before we delve into the world of Luis, Just think of the theme of the American Apprentice TV Show, ‘Money, Money, Money’ but replace the words with ‘Super, Super, Super Nani..Suuuper Nani’ and you’re on to a winner. Remember where you heard it first before it goes global!

Anyway where can Nani go, I touched upon it in my last piece on United that this lad is a coach’s dream, unlimited potential. He just has alot of junk in his trunk, actually that didn’t come out right I mean quite some talent in his locker… hmm still a tad dodgy. Regardless you should get the gist of the point, this lad is clearly going places, the only question that remains is where??

My personal take on it is that its got to the stage where Nani has become a better player to watch than Cristiano Ronaldo was for us in terms of open play during the 08/09 season. He is a tad weak in terms of set piece ability (great pen taker though) and whilst he can’t compare to Ronaldo on that front, his play while the game is moving is arguably more entertaining and more natural. He actually beats defenders regularly and leaves them for dead, rather than dropping down as soon as he gets a knock, he uses skill and beats players rather than doing it for show and just running fast into space and laying it off and he’s a very dangerous player to stop 1 v 1 in my opinion, more so than Ronaldo, who relies more on his ability to move off the ball and score goals rather than take people on and score a wonderful dribbling goal ala Messi Stylee.

Nani can physically stronger than he already is, he will get better at balancing his simple passing game with the need to take it to the opposition but I can’t see him becoming a mechanical goal machine, he just has too much natural street flair for that to happen. I don’t want him to lose is his work off the ball, he made 8 tackles yesterday which was more than either of our full backs and whilst one day he’ll probably feel he’s above all that donkey work, I think its a valuable underrated part of his game that endears him to the fans. He just needs to keep this level up against the top European teams and also perform at international level, if he can do so he will be seen as one of the world’s elite players let alone be named as PFA player of the year.

4. Miserly Mancini

Manchester City Statistics: (Current Position: 3rd, Goals Conceded % (per game): 0.88, 12 Clean Sheets/27 games).

Mancini is clearly a decent manager and there are qualities to be admired about him regardless of the team you support. He’s not obnoxious about referees, he’s generally pleasant and courteous post-match, he values players who work hard, a tough disciplinarian, strong in terms of defensive preparation and has pretty good fashion sense. Despite these qualities however there is something missing for me and although I can’t really point my finger on it, I’ll try to give it a go nonetheless.

For me a manager must always try to be balanced in every aspect of his approach towards football for example; strong defensively but most also be aware of what’s needed to score goals, be tough but know when to go easy with certain players, consistent with team selection but also prepared to throw a surprise to catch the other team off guard or to cope with an upcoming threat that would otherwise not be dealt with by your usual set up etc etc. Basically you cannot let your strengths become your weaknesses, they must be reigned in so you are taking into account all manner of information rather than be dogmatic and blinded by your preferences.

Mancini is overly defensive and his line-up yesterday contained only two flair players compared to United’s five, granted this was an away game for him but its been a constant ploy for City even at home, in fact even if his side is losing instead of unleashing the talent on his bench, he’ll make like for like replacements and keep the same tactical set up which wasn’t working in the first place. It is incredibly frustrating and as an England fan eerily familiar, why pick flair when you have a hard working player who follows tactical instructions but doesn’t really make the side dangerous. Its been argued that Mancini just needs time and he will get the balance right, City fans will hope so too otherwise it’ll be goodbye Mancini.

5. Opposition One2Watch:  David Silva

  • 06-07: 8 Goals/11 Assists
  • 07-08: 6 Goals/13 Assists
  • 08-09: 5 Goals/9 Assists
  • 09-10: 10 Goals/15 Assists
  • 10-11 (So far): 3 Goals/7 Assists

So what should these stats tell you, well if you had any sense they would tell you to make Silva a mainstay of your Fantasy Football side next season as once he finds his feet, which he has been doing this season, he will be a regular match-winner and looking to match the glorious stats of his last year at Valencia.

He is a top quality player, not a wide man in my opinion, rather the attacking midfielder in a midfield trio, free to just roam and create where he sees fit. Very similar player to Modric, but more dangerous in the final third and less likely to feature in deeper areas on the field. If he had pace, he’d be the English leagues answer to Messi but as it is he has to make do with sublime technical talent, vision and a masterful left foot. From a United perspective, imagine if we had this guy playing in front of a Carrick-Anderson partnership? For City he’s almost given sole responsibility to create something out of nothing, which isn’t the way to get the best out of him, instead he has to be the chief schemer rather than the only one because due to his lack of pace he relies on others to move and also be dangerous for him to be effective.


If I was in charge of Manchester City I’d be looking to utilise a midfield trio of De Jong, Toure with Silva in front, not to mention two high calibre wide forwards to accompany Tevez. Assuming Balotelli is one, I’d rather select the inconsistent Adam Johnson to provide further flair and push the lad to improve his off the ball game, rather than remain conservative and go with the likes of Milner and SWP. This change of philosophy would do wonders for them and convert those draws into wins and those losses into last minute draws. As a United fan that would be a pretty formidable line up to come up against and thankfully they have a man in charge who isn’t really prepared to go toe to toe with us.

Barclays Premier League – Match Facts
Score: 2-1 Venue: Old Trafford Date: Saturday 13th February Kick-off: 1245 GMT

Man Utd (4-3-3): Van Der Sar, O’Shea, Smalling, Vidic, Evra, Nani, Scholes, Fletcher, Anderson, Giggs, Rooney. Subs: Berbatov (67th min), Carrick (79th min).

Man City: Hart, Richards, , Kompany, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Lescott, Milner, Barry, Silva, Toure, Tevez Subs: Wright-Phillips (53rd min), Dzeko (60th min)

Referee: Marriner

Written By

Raees Mahmood (Follow me @ www.twitter.com/redrae7)

6 responses to “‘Take a Bow…’ 5 Things I Noticed – United v City”

  1. Shubhang says:

    Great article. Very unbiased. And i agree about the nani part. That guy can only get better. He has a hunger for goals. But if he can incorporates a little more passing into his game, he can be the best.

  2. Shubhang says:


  3. Aatxe says:

    Great article and excellent analysis. So far you are becoming my favorite poster on this blog. Keep it up!

  4. Nice analysis
    Rooney and Nani were brilliant.
    So was Fletcher. He often goes unnoticed.
    Cheers 🙂

  5. RedRae7 (Rae M) says:

    Thanks fellas, agree on the point about Fletcher.. one of his better performances this season and hopefully it sparks off another run of industrious big match performances towards the business end of the season.

  6. Rohit says:

    The present nani reminds me of the ronaldo of 06/07..The one who enjoyed playing football, one who loved beating his man and providing assists..The present one is a goal machine who only wants to score..I certainly don’t want nani to lose his flair..He’s brilliant to watch..There’s that sense of anticipation like we’re all waiting for the unexpected..His goal too was a peach, the first touch was pure gold..Also his cross vs villa was probably assist of the season..And i completely agree that he’s tracking back well and generally working very hard..Hope he keeps this up and betters his set piece delivery..