Blue Blogger: Case for the defence
- Fri 01 Feb 2013, 6:38AM
- Posted by @dclayton_MCFC / Words by View From a Blue
In the second of our guest fan blogs, Steven Allweis of View From a Blue takes the podium - here, he reveals what he believes to be the bedrock of another title challenge...
It is often said that strikers win you games but defenders win you titles over the course of the season.
At the moment for City, whilst we are not exactly in control of the race for the Premier League trophy, the resilience and ruthlessness of our defence is keeping us in with a shout.
For the opening month or so of the season, it seemed the done thing for critics to attack our back-line. True, we were conceding more goals than during last season’s title-winning effort, but it was still nowhere near enough to be deserving of the criticism aimed in our direction.
In fact, despite what was widely perceived to be a sluggish start, we have only conceded 19 goals in 24 Premier League games and that record is the solid foundation upon which our efforts to retain the title are based
Since the turn of the year, we have played six games, won five and not conceded a goal. It is a remarkable record, made even more impressive when taking into account absences of key players through injury and other factors. At times, we’ve looked near-impenetrable.
Pablo Zabaleta is our player of the season without doubt so far: his tenacity and spirit, notwithstanding how much he has improved during his time at City, typify what fans love to see so much.
In central-defence, Matija Nastasic has been a resounding success since arriving in the summer. It is rare to witness such composure and elegance from one so young and his assurance at the heart of our backline has been admirable.
On the left, Gael Clichy’s dynamism and boundless energy in closing down opponents so often sets the tone for others, his understated presence in both an attacking and defensive sense playing a key role in our displays.
While we have not quite clicked going forward throughout the season, with such a compact backline making sure the opposition don’t get too many chances, it only needs one moment to secure the victory. Remember how we won the FA Cup final and that pivotal home game against Manchester United in the title run-in by a 1-0 scoreline?
We may not have sparkled for 90 minutes, but thanks to the fact we were so secure in keeping a clean sheet, it required just one glimpse of quality in attack or even one header from a cross to secure the points
Of course, it would be exciting if we returned to the swashbuckling, fluent football we saw for much of last season, but while we still search for that form, the battling spirit displayed in grinding out results will stand us in good stead.
It may be a tough ask to retain the Premier League title, but it’s thanks to our defence that we’re still noisy enough to trouble our neighbours.