The Phil Foden -ikay Gundogan Show and The Nakamba Performance!

It was a horror show by Liverpool goalkeeper , the usually reliable Alisson Becker. He made it easy for Manchester City to put defending champions Liverpool to the sword. He gifted Manchester City three goals in the 4-1 hammering. That catalogue of errors does not however take away from what was a dominant Manchester City performance. It was a great team performance but two players deserve special mention, German international iIkay Gundogan and rising English star Phil Foden. It is not often that there are two man of the match nominees in one match but allow me in this match to make this nomination. The two delivered a masterclass.

Gundogan has slowly emerged from the shadow of injured midfield maestro Kevin De Bruyne. When De Bruyne is on the pitch , he hogs the attention of fans, pundits and opponents alike. Very few people will talk about Gundogan who usually goes about his business with little fuss and fanfare. He gets the job done. Since the injury of the superstar De Bruyne, he has proved his mettle and reminded all and sundry what a good player he is.

In this match, he missed a penalty. Any other player would have allowed this to affect his performance but he did not allow that to happen. He produced a dominant midfield performance which was rewarded with two goals,. This is what seasoned players do, they rise above setbacks. I am glad that he is now getting the recognition that his talent fully deserves.

In England, they love their football heroes. The press does not hesitate to crown any emerging young footballer who puts in a descent performance as the new real deal. From Jack Grealish, John Maddison, Marcus Rashford, Jordan Sancho and even Ross Barkley, the press has lauded them as the next great thing. Most of them remain promising to conquer the world while others like Barkley are trying to revive a career which seem to have gone off the rails.

Phil Foden will be the latest to fall under this spell of English press fascination. Will he be the next great thing ?A future England captain as the press is so fond of predicting. I am impressed by the progress that the young man is making. If he continues like this then indeed he can go on to have many caps for England. The good thing is that he is under the tutorship of football thinker Pep Guardiola.

Guardiola can indeed take credit for the development of Phil. He has shown a lot of trust and he keeps pushing him. The man is a tough taskmaster , he is not easily satisfied. The rising star has not disappointed and has repaid the faith with some spell binding performances. The match against Liverpool was one of of his best. It might be the match which has turned him from a boy to a man. His two assists and a beautiful goal were due reward for the performance he put in . It is always good to see the emergence of a young star and i hope he stays the course. There have been many false dawns before like David Bentley who was once touted as the next “David Beckham “. It turned out to be a cruel joke.

The race to the title is a marathon but judging by the way Manchester City played yesterday, the money is on them. Pep Guardiola the tactical genius has added variety to their style. Recently he said, ” We have improved because we run less !” That came as a surprise to many since he his teams have always been known for high tempo pressing at breakneck speed. ” We are more calm because we run less and we make better decisions !” he added.

Indeed this is evident in Raheem Sterling who seems to even stop with the ball at his feet, deliberately choosing the best option, the best pass to play. Pep has also introduced the long pass which some cynics might call the long ball. The long pass is usually executed by Ederson the goalkeeper who can pick a teammate with one long range long pinpoint pass. If executed to perfection, it can take the opponents by surprise. As Guardiola once said , ” The long ball has to be the right ball !”. They say variety is the spice of life . Guardiola is not the football ideologue that he was in his early days, he is now an innovator and keeps improving his football modus operandi.

In the Midlands, our boy Marvellous Nakamba played for Aston Villa yesterday. When Villa lost to West Ham in a midweek match, i thought that Marvellous deserved to be included in the next match. I felt that West Ham had found it easy to play through the Villa midfield where Douglas Luiz and John MacGinn did not offer much protection to the back four. Indeed Dean Smith the Aston Villa manager seemed to have picked

my mind. On Saturday, he included Marvellous in the team.

I sat and watched. Yes Mavhe delivered a performance which made his manager declare, ” I decided to rest Luiz , Marvellous offers us something different, he is strong defensively ” That i think is what our hero brings to the team, defensive solidity.

I however was disappointed by the number of touches he has on the ball. For long periods of time, he does not get the ball. I want him to get involved more, to open up for a pass from his keeper and even to receive the ball in tight spaces. I want to see him advance with the ball into more threatening areas. Hopefully he will stay in then team for the next match and he will build on his confidence. With more confidence, he can demand the ball more and use it better. All the best to him! He is Zimbabwe ‘s representative in the EPL and we all want him to succeed !

We remain engrossed by the EPL and i hope nothing happens to disrupt the season. All the best to the teams and to our boy Mavhe!

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