As you all know, we have now scored 3 goals from set pieces in our last 3 games – Tevez vs Palace, Adebayor vs Portsmouth and Richards vs Arsenal.
This is excellent news, as we posed virtually no aerial threat from set pieces over the last few seasons. However, we now have 6 or 7 players (this is when all fully fit!) who are a real threat in the air – it brings a whole new dimension to our game.
City’s Aerial Threats:
Emmanuel Adebayor – 1.91m (6ft 3in) – 1 Goal from a set piece this season.
Gareth Barry – 1.83 (6ft 0in) – 8 Goals last season.
Vincent Kompany – (1.93 (6ft 4in) – 1 Goal from set piece last season.
Joleon Lescott – 1.88m (6ft 2in) – 17 goals since 2006.
Kolo Toure – 1.83 (6ft 0in) – 14 goals in Arsenal career.
Micah Richards – 1.78 (5ft 10in) – 1 Goal from a set piece this season.
Roque Santa Cruz – 1.88m (6ft 2in) – 29 Goals for Blackburn in 2 seasons.
One of the season’s great successes is our ability and will to close down the opposition.
If you watch the ‘Big 4,’ you will notice that they all work for each other as a unit and this starts with the strikers.
It’s very important to do this as it puts your opposition under pressure and is a must when you are playing away from home.
In the past City have let other teams come on to them but they are now giving the opposition no room to move the ball around.
Winning when it Matters:
This is probably the most important thing of City’s three new factors. For instance, lets take the Arsenal game last weekend.
When Arsenal equalised, Hughes brought on Martin Petrov in an attempt to win the game. City then had a purple patch and scored 3 goals in 12 minutes.
However, if the score would have gone 1-1 last season then I am sure we would have lost that game. The momentum was with Arsenal and they would have taken it, but this season things are different. We now have players who have bags of Premiership experience. They know what is needed when things start to go a little pear-shaped.
The Wolves game was another example; they were unlucky not to come away from the game with a draw. The momentum changed in the second half in Wolves favour and they came at City with vengeance – hitting the bar.
Once again, had that been last season we would probably have drawn the game.
I can remember from last season the anxiety that gripped the City supporters when we entered the last 20 minutes only 1-0 up. We looked vulnerable; we never looked as if we could have held on.
Here are two examples of just that from games vs the ‘Big 4’ last season:
Chelsea at home and Liverpool at home.
We lost both matches after taking the lead. In the Chelsea match Robinho scored to make it 1-0 but from then on City were given a midfield master class by Chelsea who went on to win the game 1-3.
The Liverpool game also saw us take the lead with goals from Ireland and Garrido. Torres then inspired a Liverpool comeback that saw them win the game 2-3 in the dying seconds.
– Going into today’s Manchester derby, we know that City’s new found resilience will see us win many more games than we will lose this season.
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