Friday, February 22, 2008

City's Reverse Striker Issue Conundrum

Talk about famine and feast, it wasn't so long ago that City's firepower looked like it was going to have to rely on academy lads still green behind the ears and not well acquainted with the daily bathroom encounter with Mr Gillette or Mr Wilkinson.

Now, by a combination of new signings and players return from injury, Sven has got quite a problem choosing his best strike partnership from what now looks almost like a bottomless pit of forwards.

I say strike partnership, but Sven's favoured formation so far has been one up front, which if he sticks that line-up will make the problem of what to do with all the forwards much more acute. Strikers tend to be a highly strung lot by nature and none will relish the prospect of keeping the bench warm.

By my reckoning, the following are now all vying for two or maybe just one place:

- Bojinov

- Mpenza

- Benjani

- Vassell

- Caicedo

- Castillo

- Sturridge


Add to that list the strikers out on loan and you have the likes of Bianchi, Samaras, Dickov & Corradi, plus the precocious talent of academy graduate Ched Evans, who to me has top premiership striker written all over him, and you get a sense of scale of the issue City now have. Oh, and I forgot Etuhu.

Granted, some of the loan strikers are unlikely to return, but nothing is certain and City will have to do some serious thinning out of the herd in the summer, especially if Sven fancies other players during the transfer window.

I guess, after all we've been through over the last few years, it's a nice problem to have for a change, however, we've still yet to find our regular 20+ goals per season striker. Once we do that, I think we can start talking more realistically about trophies and a successful European campaign.

It'll be good to see City adopt a more attacking formation for the rest of the season, now that we seem to have an abundance of riches up front. Let's park the 4-5-1 formation and go back to a 4-4-2, maybe even throw the boat out and try a 4-3-3.

As for the best strike partnership, I haven't got a clue, but Sven needs to find it quick and stick with it. Any ideas ?

22 comments:

Anonymous said...

Benjani has to be number one choice for now, and I would say that Bojinov when fully fit would be the logical partner, but you have a good point and it's going to be a difficult juggling act for Sven

Tord Grip said...

Don't think Mpenza is in the reckoning any more so that's one less to worry about. Caicedo will spend most his time in the reserves, Vassell needs to drop back into a deeper role behind the front two and that leaves Castillo and Sturridge to slug it out between them .... problem solved

Anonymous said...

I'd like to see Benjani and Sturridge play together, although Benjani and Castillo might also be interesting.

Anonymous said...

I dont think he needs to 'find it quick and then stick to it'. Nor do I think he will. Its not his style.

I think he'll give them all a chance and then settle on who he wants to keep and who he will let go just like he did with his goalkeepers.

For Sven this is a long term project not a one season wonder. He will want to qualify for Europe this year but I dont think he will seriously worry if we dont make 4th place. The position he will be in the summer though is that he will have a much stronger starting squad compared to last summer, more time and possibly more money to spend.

Can wait for next season. Top 4 is the target then and beyond!

Viva la Sven

Bluesology said...

I think you just have to look at Benitez to see what happens when you constantly chop and change and never find your best line-up. There's no substitute (no pun intended) for a settled formation that works well.

ashy said...

how nice to have these dilemmas and not checking the run in to see where the magic 40 points will be won sat back and enjoying the months of february march april and may with a smile as wide as the mersey

alphieblues said...

I don't think you will find Sven doing a Benitez. He will no doubt sort out over the next few weeks who his preferred striker is. At the moment I am sure it will be either Benjani or Bojinov. Then as is the case with Elano, who I believe has been substituted 17 times this season, play them for sixty or seventy minutes with a choice of two from the bench which for me would be Sturridge & Caicedo, the latter being left footed would also be cover for Petrov.

At least we won't be in the position of the Rags who have struggled at times to find a SECOND striker this season.

Captain Dunkirk said...

If it's one striker it has got to be Benjani or, when fit, Bodger.

Two strikers is anyone's guess. I think in the long term Caicedo and Sturridge could well come through

Anonymous said...

surely his first 2 strikers would be bojinov and benjani, with caciedo and sturridge challenging and maybe getting the odd start or sub role.
vassell is more of a right midfielder/ behind the strikers man now (which we also have a lot of) as in my opinion is castillo. mpenza is more-a-less gone as are dickov, bianchi and corradi.
I think that the long term partnership could well be evans and sturridge with caciedo playing as the lone striker when sven chooses to play 4-5-1.

Wigan Blue said...

Think it will be horses for courses on Monday. Everton won at Goodison by bundling our lightweights off the ball - a tactic that seriously unsettled Elano. Sven will do everything to ensure that doesn't happen. So I wouldn't be surprised to see him play it safe with 4-5-1 again, not risking Bojinov. Benjani (proven Prem playmaker, and big lad) up front. Johno boosting Elano, and possibly Garrido and Charlie both in midfield to mix it up.

When we're 3-0 up he can mix and match!

Anonymous said...

Sven's strength this season has been to pick a team depending on the opposition. In most games his tactics have been spot on with perhaps one exception and we all know which game that was.

If, as has been suggested, that next season the bench will contain SEVEN SUBS then the number of strikers available to him will prove to be a great advantage especially as we will have at least SIX more games to play if we make it into Europe.

alphieblues said...

p.s. the above anonymous comment was from me, pressed the wrong button !!!

Skratcher said...

I cant see Vassell or Mpenza still being around for another season to be honest. In this mornings news, Bojinov has been reported as saying he dreams of a move to Roma, hardly the kind of thing to endear him to the fans and team he's only played minutes for. Castillo who knows? I personally cant see us matching the 14 mil Shaktar want to recoup for him from what little we've seen from this VERY one sided lightweight. My biggest fear in all of this is that Bianchi, Corradi and Samaras get found out and sent back making the current dilema even worse.

Anonymous said...

Ideas? Yeah: give it a couple of weeks. Benjani's only played one match and Bojinov is still on the mend.

Besides, we'll need more than two forwards in the Champions League!

alphieblues said...

What chance a penalty on Monday ??? ... Neither team have had one yet this season !!!

Bluesology said...

I think there's every chance as Rob " Red Card" Styles is the referee on Monday night :-(

alphieblues said...

Oh dear !! which way will it go ...

Wigan Blue said...

We are the self-preservation society!!

Sing up on Monday boys.....

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