Monday, 31 October 2011

Pipe down Barnes, you tool.

The oracle and fountain of management insight that is John Barnes should really keep certain opinions to himself and today is a perfect example. "Clash of egos is City's Achilles heel" reads the The Independent with a picture of ESPN's new 'football analyst' underneath.

Here's what he said;

"Football is all about togetherness, spirit and players being on the same level."

No shit Sherlock so what's your point? As though I don't already know where this is going.

"Manchester City are playing really well but I've always believed the test of a good side and the mentality and the character of champions is when things are not going so well."

You mean like having a man sent off after just conceding a penalty?

"I have no worries that United wont come back from that 6-1 defeat, because they have the character, as we've seen for the last 10 years. I remember United coming back from 2-0 down in key matches. Can City do that? They're playing well, winning in style, but Chelsea this time last year were doing the same thing."

Am I missing something or did City come back from being behind to beat Villareal recently? City also went on to increase their lead against Wolves despite being 2 men down (taking the ref into account).

"You can have too many star players. When a superstar coming off is replaced by another superstar, then he sees him as a threat, someone who can take his position. When City players have come off I can see a lot of them haven't been happy because they feel under threat."

So a player seeing another player as a threat to his position in the squad is a bad thing? Aren't pundits always saying competition for places is what drives players to perform better? And how many players does Barnes consider "a lot"? As this season the only players to have shown any real frustration have been Mario Balotelli in pre-season who was dragged off early and Edin Dzeko during the Bayern Munich game. Ok AJ didn't look happy at being hauled off in the first half against Villareal but seriously, what player would be?

What would have me worried is if players were quite happy to be taken off the pitch, but as it is now, the players are desperate to keep their places and are playing out of their skin for as much game time as possible.

But lets face it, all of City's new signings knew what they were getting into before signing the contract, they knew the players that were already here and they knew they weren't all going to play all of the time, and Mancini is doing a great job of managing them all.

"There are always sticky patches... So I reserve judgement on Manchester City until I see how they respond to adversity."

It sounds to me you're judge, jury and executioner here John and the verdict is already in. Yes we're only a quarter of the way through the season but I think we've seen City respond to certain adversity already.

I assume playing Last season's Champions League players in Spurs and last season's League Champions United is a cake walk is it? And City hammered them both in their own back yards. Lets also not forget the ludicrous number of headlines and stories designed to put pressure on the club, a lot of which a completely fictitious. Are they not some sort of adversity? What about the debacle that is Tevez and all the agro he has created that so called experts said would derail City's season? Has that not provided the club a measure of adversity to overcome?

"What Sir Alex Ferguson and Kenny Dalglish are doing is signing players they think will stay for years. Phil Jones, Ashley Young, Stewart Downing and Charlie Adam, they're not going to be looking to move anywhere else. Look at City now with Tevez, and what you get with foreign players who really have no allegiance to the club."

Oh my it gets better! You are correct that Jones, Young, Downing and Adam wont be going anywhere in a hurry because no other top team outside of this country wants them or would even want to pay the kind of fees United and Liverpool would ask for because of them paying over the odds for them in the first place (apart from Adam who is the only one out of those 4 who could even contemplate being sold for a profit at this moment in time).

Andy Carroll for £35m anyone? Stewart Downing for £20m? Ermmm....  Thought not.

And I love the part about "foreign players who really have no allegiance to the club." You're kidding right? So De Jong never said he would willingly see out his career at City as long as they wanted him at the club? David Silva didn't say he would turn down any advances from Real and Barca to stay at City? Kompany hasn't married a local lass and is well and truly settled in Manchester? Zabaleta is itching for a move isn't he?

What makes Barnes think that none of the 4 players he mentioned and the other English players transferred to United and Liverpool this summer wouldn't want a move? I bet if City or the likes of Milan, Real, Barca etc did come knocking for any of them (which I'm pretty damn sure they wont), I wonder how long it would take for United and Liverpool's English players' heads to be turned. Lets face it Rooney would jump at the chance if they offered more money seeing as he used City as a bargaining chip to get himself a better contract at United. And lets not forget the utmost loyalty they all showed to the clubs they have just left eh?

Does he really think City are buying players they feel will move on in a couple of seasons? Does ANY club at the top do that? I think we all know the answer.

City certainly haven't done that. If you look at the ages of the players that have come in it's a team specifically built for longevity. Lets quickly look at the 1st team players who have come in during Mancini's tenure and the age at the time of transfer

Patrick Vieira (34)
Adam Johnson (22)
Jerome Boateng (22)
Yaya Toure (27)
David Silva (24)
Aleks Kolarov (24)
Mario Balotelli (19)
James Milner (24)
Edin Dzeko (25)
Gael Clichy (26)
Stefan Savic (20)
Sergio Aguero (23)
Samir Nasri (24)
Owen Hargreaves (30)

Out of those 14, Vieira has retired and Boateng left due to family circumstances and the fact he didn't have the fight in him to compete with the other defenders.

So with Hargreaves and Vieira who were a 'quick fix' and seasoned tutor respectively, the average age of the signings whilst Mancini has been here is 24.6 years old. Without those two it's 23.3 years old. They're hardly seasoned veterans in the autumn of their careers are they?

Then take into account the current age of the likes of Richards (23), Hart (24), Kompany (25), Zabaleta (26), and De Jong (26) you begin to see that the vast majority of this team could potentially be together for another 6-7 years. How's that sounding now John? 

"I think Liverpool will be back in the top four. You can see that Arsenal are a bit inconsistent and Tottenham are similar. Manchester United will be first or second. Liverpool could pip Chelsea or even Manchester City."

In other words, and in a pretty round about way, he sees the top of the league table looking like this come May
  1. Liverpool
  2. Manchester United
  3. Manchester City
  4. Chelsea

Oh please! I really could go on and on and on about this, but anyway. On a final note... 

John Barnes, ESPN's new football analyst, analyse this...


No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments containing abusive, foul or discriminatory language will not be published.