Lack of midfield creativity proving hurtful to Manchester City
If Roberto Mancini is determined to sticking with playing just one striker then some added creativity is surely needed in the centre of the midfield if Manchester City are to pick up enough victories to contend for the Premier League title.
Mancini stuck by his regular threesome – Nigel De Jong, Gareth Barry and Yaya Toure – for the drab goalless draw with neighbours Manchester United, with Tevez again isolated for the most part in attack.
Although the three of them do possess strong qualities that are of use for the team, these are all primarily of a defensive nature.
This is all well and good when City do not have the ball, but as soon as they win it back, the pressure is on Tevez and whichever two players are picked in the wide positions to conjure a trick up between them.
Toure was the one to try to join in the attacks at Eastlands, but although he embarked on some impressive runs when breaking into his long stride, it was obvious that this was not the strength of his game.
And after spending close to £200m, a large sum of which on attacking players, this style of football is not going to sit well with the fans and is also not liable to lead to enough victories to remain in title contention.
City remain fourth in the table, seven points behind leaders Chelsea, and are now 12/1 to win the Premier League this season.
Mancini has options open to him if he wants to stick to the same system and may choose to make some alterations for their next game at home to Birmingham.
James Milner played successfully as a central midfielder for Aston Villa before arriving at Eastlands and David Silva has shown a willingness to push inside and could pull some strings behind a lone striker.
Manchester City are 2/5 to beat Birmingham and have done in the last four meetings between the two at Eastlands. See the complete Manchester City vs Birmingham match betting odds market.