‘More U-turns than a dodgy plumber,’ but Manchester City still in good hands despite Yaya Toure’s antics

The Ivorian powerhouse midfielder has been at the centre of intrigue and confusion this week amidst his agent’s claims of ‘disrespect’.

Just a fortnight ago Manchester City clinched the Premier League title, coupling it with the Capital One Cup to cap a successful first season in charge for Manuel Pellegrini.

Yet merely a week later, the steady, holistic ship that the Chilean so gracefully, patiently and impressively sailed to glory has been ever so slightly rocked by claims made by Yaya Toure’s agent Dimitry Seluk. 

There’s a saying at Manchester City referring to the soap-opera nature of the club. ‘Typical City’. The club that never does anything the easy way, it was hoped it would be eradicated with an influx of money from the Middle East.

It hasn’t. 

From Manchester City apparently not recognising Toure’s birthday (they did, there was a cake, a sing-song and numerous birthday tweets), to disrespecting him because Roberto Carlos got a Bugatti from the President at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala whilst Yaya got nothing…it’s the kind of line you would expect to hear at a five-year-old’s birthday party, not from the agent of a Premier League footballer. 

To quote Iain Duncan Smith, Toure has done more U-turns than a dodgy plumber. Yet, even if the Ivory Coast powerhouse does leave Manchester City this summer then the club will still be in good hands.

For as integral to the side as Toure is, the fact is that at 31 he has only a few years left at the top level. He needs replacing in City’s engine room and if his latest alleged tantrum makes the powers that be at the Etihad Stadium start scouting for his replacement now it can only be beneficial.

Putting the Toure debacle aside, there are numerous positives surrounding Manchester City. In an in-house interview, Chairman Khaldoon Al-Mubarak spoke glitteringly of the club’s future – despite the impending Financial Fair Play constraints.

He cast away any doubts from those envious of the regeneration in East Manchester – on and off the pitch. He emphasised Sheikh Mansour, the owner’s, continued commitment to the cause, to the future. He praised Patrick Vieira’s work with the Elite Development Squad (EDS), the man it seems they’re moulding to take over from Pellegrini in a few years time.

He praised the likes of Gareth Barry and Joleon Lescott who will depart on free transfers this summer. He spoke glowingly of Yaya Toure, the man who inspired City’s Capital One Cup win amongst their drive for Premier League glory.

In a nod to UEFA, he spoke about Manchester City’s impending profitability, and declared the running of the club as sustainable, even managing a dig at how City’s neighbours, Manchester United, over the road are run by the Glazer family.

“We have zero debt we don’t pay a penny to service any debt. For me, that is a sustainable model.”

For Manchester City fans it must be refreshing to hear such intelligence, ambition, sophistication and pride at what has been achieved so far, and at what is to come, emanating from the man in charge. 

Yaya Toure may leave Manchester in the summer in a manner that risks undoing all the hard work he has put into City. They would miss his brilliance, his goals, his powerful, driving runs from midfield that leave the opposition staring blankly, shaking their heads in disbelief.

Yet, even if he does go there’s no denying that with the Sheikh bankrolling matters, Khaldoon Al-Mubarak running the day-to-day business and Pellegrini at the helm, Manchester City are in safe hands.

Pablo Zabaleta – the undisputed hero at Manchester City

Manuel Pellegrini’s men claimed the Premier League trophy on Sunday, and Pablo Zabaleta’s form is one of the key reasons why.

In the upper echelons at the Etihad Stadium, where the powers that be must now decide where to strengthen what is a Premier League winning squad, there must be a tinge of disappointment about Sergio Aguero’s fitness.

Manchester City’s mercurial striker has been hampered by muscular problems that have disrupted what could potentially have been a wonderful season for the 25-year-old.

And it was a campaign that surely would have seen Manuel Pellegrini’s men crowned champions sooner than the final day of the season, had Aguero’s fitness not been compromised.

But as important as Aguero is to this Manchester City side, it is another Argentinian that once again deserves the plaudits this year.

Pellegrini has brought the excitement back to the blue-half of Manchester. His appointment was described as ‘holistic’ and it brought much sneering, but those who sneered must now reflect that the dismissal of Roberto Mancini has proved a masterstroke by the City board.

Attacking, attractive football has been at the forefront of the Chilean’s playing style, the likes of Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko and Yaya Toure have been the principal beneficiaries. Indeed it was Toure’s rampaging run, as has often been the case this season, which saw City reach 100 Premier League goals in their 4-0 demolition of Aston Villa last week.

But it was the man who set up the first two goals in that vital win against the Midlands outfit, Pablo Zabaleta, who was the cream of the crop.

Marauding down the right wing, the gritty, tenacious Argentinian is a joy to watch. Zabaleta is becoming an institution at Manchester City and in the Premier League; he is fast becoming part of the furniture.

It’s often said that modern day fullbacks are better offensively than they are defensively, yet Zabaleta is the exception to the rule.

Sunday’s game with West Ham, the final fixture of the Premier League campaign, saw the 29-year-old play his 48th game of the season. He has missed just three Premier League matches, proving how integral he is to the club’s success.

Seven assists, one goal, 15 clean sheets, 120 tackles won, 84 clearances made, the numbers do not tell the whole story for the hugely popular Zabaleta. His determination, passion and ability has helped drive City to a second Premier League trophy, to compliment the Capital One Cup won earlier this year.

Despite the majority of their core players – Vincent Kompany, David Silva and Sergio Aguero – having missed a combined total of 35 games this season, City still earned Premier League glory.

Aguero may be the talismanic striker who grabs the headlines, but it’s his Argentinian teammate Zabaleta who is the undisputed hero at Manchester City.

It’s another gaffe but Hart should not be dropped

As Fernando Torres wheeled away in celebration, much to the delight of the 40,000 Chelsea fans packed inside Stamford Bridge on Sunday, the spotlight once again beamed brightly onto Manchester City goalkeeper Joe Hart.

Whilst the majority of the City team looked to the sky in despair, Pablo Zabaleta, the marauding right-back, sank to his knees distraught at the drama he had just witnessed. As Hart stormed to his goal line to retrieve the ball from the net, the anger etched on his face was plain to see. “Keeper’s, f****** keeper’s,” he could be seen saying. A call his defender Matija Nastasic clearly had not heard…

Read more at:
http://www.wnol.info/its-another-gaffe-but-hart-should-not-be-dropped/

Weekly Podcast: Sir Alex Ferguson, Ian Holloway, this week’s Premier League fixtures and more!

This week the WNOL SportsTalk team discuss all things football. Sir Alex Ferguson’s autobiography, Ian Holloway’s departure and the upcoming Premier League games.

Worth a listen!

http://www.wnol.info/wnol-sport-podcast-251013/