Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Better with age?
As Man City ran rings around Blackburn last night the depth of their squad was well in evidence. No Ireland, no Adebayor, no Lescott, no Toure, and no real problems getting past Fat Sam’s army of the utterly average. Amongst all their buys in the last 18 months though if there’s one sulky git who may well be able to unravel everything then it’s the large, moody presence of Paddy Vieira.
This is the man remember who gave Thierry Henry a first hand crash course in dressing room mood-swings.
Now that he’s finally got his chance to return to football in Good Old Blighty (what what what), there has to be some questions asked of the reasoning behind the richest club in the world’s decision to bring in a 33 year-old who, while he no doubt carved out a frankly brilliant few years on the domestic front in Italy, is more than likely well past his best.
That best was six years ago, in the middle of Arsenal’s unbeaten season in the Premier League. Man City’s reasoning is that quality is quality I suppose and that there will be times when he can add a touch of class to City’s midfield against the weaker sides. Also in the ‘plus column’ is his knowledge of former Inter manager Roberto Mancini meaning he may well be a good man to get the manager’s ideas across on the pitch.
Vieira himself has said that he headed to City because of a desire to get back into the French squad before the World Cup comes around and while money was obviously a factor too, his stated aim to get to the World Cup could see City weakened in vital games. Indeed the idea that he can come straight into the team perhaps shows that he still sees City through the eyes of a man who never perceived them as a title threat in his Arsenal days.
If Mancini lines up against Chelsea, Man United or Arsenal with Vieira in his team most top class midfields should outmuscle and outrun him these days. Sacrificing a good midfield combination of Ireland and Barry seems a little odd too (when both are fit obviously), with the latter especially good at doing the running of two men in most games.
There’s something about the Vieira deal that gives me the impression that it won’t last beyond the end of the season too, when more new recruits will no doubt saunter over to City. The Frenchman becoming a weak link in the midfield might mean however that those new recruits for next season line up without a trophy at their feet or possible a Champions League place to look forward too.
Another reason that City’s season is the most interesting in the Premier League this season. Plus it gives an excuse to show this again…
Later folks, JJ