Weekly Report: Mancini’s Mistake, Happy Hammers & Butt the Maestro

by Luke Bradshaw

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

In the Europa League last night Adam Johnson was excellent; again. Ask anyone who has watched the Prem this season what City lack and they’ll say spark and creativity. Johnson is all spark and creativity, and not only that, he tracks back and harries far more than most wingers do. If Mancini doesn’t know what he’s got, we’ll have him at Chelsea please.

I understand City have a vast array of talent and Mancini wants to rotate the use of them, but he still has his first choice picks: Tevez, De Jong and Kolo Toure don’t get rotated. Neither should Johnson. We’re not talking about a fragile youth who needs sheltering from the rigours of the league, he’s 23. Jack Wilshere starts virtually every game at Arsenal and is benefitting greatly from it, as are England.

Johnson has only made five starts in the league this season and completed 90 minutes just twice. At the back end of last season he ripped full-backs apart and he is fully capable of doing it every week this term.

For all his faults, Mario Balotelli is a devastating finisher, as is Tevez. Johnson will give them some ammunition. You can still keep the likes of Milner or Silva on the pitch; just remove one of Barry or Toure and play a warped midfield with the creative players interchanging. I don’t think it will happen, but I wish it would.

On a bigger stage, David Beckham is being his polite and immaculate self while convincing the murkiest bureaucrats in the world to stage the World Cup in England. Meanwhile, England’s second city was trying to remind them that we can still be incredibly stupid. The cup tie was brilliant; the flares, ripped seats and confrontation, not so much.

Elsewhere, Big Sam bent over and offered up the first half of his obligatory six points to Sir Alex; with Blackburn getting battered the camera cut to Fergie just rubbing Sam’s belly and laughing. Incredible.

Lawro made a joke about Italians never seeing snow even though they have more snow than we do, Bolton are the new Arsenal and someone with too much influence thought DJ Campbell would be a good addition to MOTD2 (I know he filled in for Paul Robinson, but really?)

Spurs came from behind yet again (see last week’s blog), Everton still struggle despite having really good players, and at the end of November West Ham managed to save their entire season by beating Wigan at home – well done Hammers. Although a genuine pat on the back for dicking on United last night, they played really well and surely Jonathan Spector is the new Frank Lampard no? His finishing is certainly better than John O’Shea’s effort.

Congratulations to the Premier League for every single team managing to get on the score sheet last weekend.

Favourite thing this week: Nicky Butt as South China’s answer to Zidane, well sort of. Now that he’s in the Hong Kong First Division he can be the libero we all knew he was destined to be.

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  • darren

    Adam Johnson would walk into any side in the Premier League, it’s a mystery why Mancini doesnt start him every week, would be scary if City did line up as you suggest

  • dexylongshot

    HAmmers dicking on United, lovely image you rustled up there Luke. Just got confirmation of my Semi (insert dicking pun here) Final ticket against Big Eck’s lot, bring it!

    Johnson is quality and is indeed wasted on the bench, you are so right about his form at the end of last season. He was magnificent agaisnt West Ham on the last day of the season and I was gutted he didn’t make the WC squad.

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