Manchester City’s attacking flair could cause West Ham trouble
PUBLISHED: 10:27 30 April 2011
City are stronger than West ham at both ends of the pitch
After 18 months in charge of Manchester City Roberto Mancini is used to the double edged sword of money and pressure which accompanies the role.
Money no longer talks in football, it shouts and after spending around £90million this season, City’s owners, the Abu Dhabi United Group will expect an improvement on last season’s fifth.
Champions League football is the expectation for the blue half of Manchester this season and failure could spell the end for Mancini at City.
However they are on course to achieve their goals, currently occupying the fourth and final Champions League spot and after beating rivals Manchester United to reach the FA Cup final, Mancini has discovered reasons to be positive.
“When we started the season our target was to reach the Champions League and try to win a trophy,” he said.
“We are one month away from the end of the season and we are in a good way. Now it depends on us - at this moment, we should be happy.”
If they manage to beat Stoke in the final, they will capture their first silverware since 1976 when they won the League Cup.
Their win over United should bring much-needed momentum after an inconsistent month.
They have lost 3-0 to Liverpool and 2-0 to Chelsea and although they beat Blackburn 1-0 on Monday night, their onmly other win was a 5-0 victory over Sunderland, a team who have lost eight of their last 10.
Their fortunes would not have been helped by the absence of Carlos Tevez, their most potent striker with 22 goals in all competitions, whose ability to close players down off the ball is as valuable to his side as his goal tally.
Italian Mario Balotelli has been preferred to the £27million forgotten man Edin Dzeko and although his temperament has regularly been questioned his talent has not.
Yaya Toure is likely to provide the attacking thrust in midfield. Both he and David Silva tore West Ham to pieces in their 3-1 victory at Upton Park earlier in the season and with Adam Johnson cutting inside from the flack, there will be plenty of suuply for Balotelli.
At the back the imperious figure of Vincent Komapany, arguably City’s most important player, marshals the back line well and they have the third best home defensive record in the division.
West Ham must do a better job of tracking the forward runs of Yaya Toure than they did earlier in the season and with both wide men Silva and Johnson always likely to be on the move, concentration levels must be high for the Hammers.
Man for man, City have a far superior side and it is likely they will control both ends of the pitch.
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