Real City appoint Mancini

Posted In: . By Red and White Blogger

When I heard the rumours of Mark Hughes being replaced by Roberto Mancini prior to City's game against Sunderland on Saturday I immediately brushed them off as paper talk.

Why sack somebody who just recently led his team to a victory over the league leaders, Chelsea? It made no sense.

Around 8 o'clock that night, after I'd finished sulking over Liverpool's result, I turned on Sky Sports News and was ashtonished to read what was rolling across the bottom of my screen.

Unfortunately the game of football is slowly turning into a bit of a farce, as much as I love the game I simply can't comprehend the actions of the owners of Manchester City, it reminded me of the circus that goes on annually at Real Madrid. Sacking Del Bosque after claiming the European Cup and parting company with Capello after winning La Liga.

There is no logic to Manchester City's decision. Let's look at the facts;
- City have 2 defeats all season, less than anyone else in the league
- They beat Chelsea just a couple of weeks ago
- They are in the semi-final of a cup competition after beating Arsenal 3-0
- City lie 6th in the Premier League, with a game in hand over most clubs around them
- They have played 17 games out of 38 in the league this season

Where do the owners expect City to be right now? On top of the table? In the top four?

It's clear the owners want overnight success. If they deem 6th in the table right now not to be good enough then surely that means if City finish any lower than 5th Mancini will be gone to?

These guys obviously don't know football, in their heads the logic is simple. Replace a good manager with a better one, but things are never that straight forward.

Does Mancini even speak English well? Yes he's won honours in Italy but the guy has no experience in England. His training methods and way of playing will need time for the team to adapt to. Will the owners give him that time? Probably not if he doesn't finish in the top four this season.

Then you're back at square one again. A new manager, with new methods.

I am beginning to believe it's only a matter of time before clubs start sacking managers after five games, or after a bad signing, its all become a tad ridiculous.

Clubs like Manchester City must ultimately fail in obtaining instant success if the game's newcomers are to learn anything about the English game.

Time will tell whether Mancini does succeed at City but the sacking of Hughes marks a sad day for the geniune football supporter.


A diamond in the rough?

Posted In: . By Red and White Blogger

Liverpool's season to now has been far from memorable. Wins against Manchester United and Everton have provided rare highlights in a desperately disappointing opening. Wednesday's win against Wigan was a sigh of relief more than anything, in truth Liverpool never really looked in danger until Charles N'Zogbia's late goal saw the jitters re-appear.

Amongst all the uncertainty though has been the emergence of of a promising centre forward. David Ngog's first season at Anfield was littered with late cameo appearances and regular reserve run outs, at £1.5 million it triggered the knee-jerk reaction of many to cast the Frenchman as a 'flop' from fans and media alike.

Questions were asked when Rafa Benitez signed the youngster from PSG considering he had only scored one senior goal in two years for the Ligue 1 outfit. His goalscoring exploits were more impressive at French youth levels however and Rafa obviously saw something in the 20-year-old to make a move for the striker.

The Spaniard's decision now looks vindicated. Fernando Torres received the headlines once again on Thursday after making his 100th appearance for the reds but the performance of David Ngog was sensational at times. In fact the mumblings around Anfield were those of excitement for the arrival of Torres yet disappointment for the exit of Ngog, something that would have seemed unthinkable last season.

Ngog has certainly chipped in with his share of goals this season (six in total now this season), but his general game has to be admired. It's clear there is no better mentor to have than Fernando Torres for Ngog's position and judging on this season the Frenchman has certainly improved his game considerably.

While Ngog did score three times as a substitute last season he always looked lightweight and shy of becoming involved in general play. After scoring against Manchester United Ngog hasn't looked back. His movement, pace and trickery look extremely promising for someone who has only a handful of first team appearances to their name.

Despite being slated in the media for his dive against Birmingham (note how Rooney's terible dive against Villa at the weekend was hardly mentioned), his performance that night was excellent, he tormented the Birmingham defence from start to finish, proving to the fans he could perform from the start.

To replace one of the best strikers in the World is not easy, and Liverpool may still need to use the transfer market for a more established forward in January, but the performances of Ngog have certainly warmed the Anfield faithful in a so far chilly season.


Whatever the 'expert pundits' may say, Liverpool have one of the best squads in the Premier League.

Let us not forget this is the team that finished four points behind the champions last season, Liverpool have virtually an identical squad to that campaign, minus Arbeloa and Alonso.You could even argue this current squad tops last years with the introductions of Glen Johnson and Alberto Aquilani.

This season Liverpool have had two major problems - Injuries and a major confidence crisis.

Liverpool's poor league record and Champions Lague exit can't be put down to an 'average' squad as some may have you believe. Liverpool's injury list has been undoubtedly the worst of any of the top clubs. Torres, Gerrard, Benayoun, Riera, Agger, Skrtel, Fabio Aurelio, Johnson and of course Aquilani, have all been inured for various parts of this season.

People may claim injuries are part of the game, and yes, that's true, but for one team to have so many first team players out at the same time is unheard of. We're not just talking fringe players here, Liverpool have been hit hard with the players who would grace their first eleven week in week out.

Of course when a number of first team players are missing and the team doesn't get the result on the pitch, confidence can be drained significantly. Take Liverpool's game at Sunderland this season, a number of first team players were missing (including Gerrard and Torres) and we end up being beaten by a goal that took a deflection off a beach ball.

Instantly confidence dips, the players know Liverpool Football Club are expected to beat an average Sunderland side, the pressure from the fans and media gets only intenser.

Young players especially can be affected by a dip in confidence. Emiliano Insua is a classic example, a promising young full-back who has shown immense potential at reserve level and during the second half of last season in the first team, suddenly looks completely out of his depth.

More experienced players, i.e. your Gerrard's et al. can cope with performing under pressure, a lack of confidence rarely effects them, the trouble is when you're missing so many of them (see the above list!) results can be hard to come by.

Of course to restore confidence you must win games, which despite the result in midweek (which was meaningless anyway), has slowly started to happen again. Last weekend's match at Ewood Park was a disappointment but none-the-less it was the third clean sheet in a row, something Liverpool desperately needed to help consolodate a basis of which to build upon.

Once Liverpool do have a relatively injury-free squad to choose from there is no doubt performances will improve and results on the pitch can only get better.