City: resistance is futile
Just as movie audiences fell in love with King Kong, long before the giant ape fell to its doom, football fans are developing a soft spot for Manchester City. Ogres aren’t necessarily as bad as they are painted.
The moment resistance became futile for me was not Man City’s 6-1 win at Old Trafford last Sunday, even if that result retains a surreal, dream-like quality. It was on a wet Wednesday in Wolverhampton that I realised we might as well lie back, and think of Barcelona.
The Carling Cup is a mere bauble, an afterthought. Yet as Man City reached the quarter-finals, they played with a verve, fluidity and intelligence more suited to the Camp Nou than Molineux. Their five goals were works of art.
This was not a team containing behemoths, like Yaya Touré, or expensively hired hitmen, like Sergio Aguero. This was a reserve side, featuring unheralded youngsters who have the world at their feet. Their potential is terrifying.
Has anyone, for example, seen David Silva and Denis Suarez in the same room? At the very least, Silva, an early candidate for Footballer of the Year, has a 17-year-old body double. Suarez looks, moves, and thinks like him. The only definable difference is that the kid is right-footed.
Suarez gave an uncanny cameo performance, finding space and fashioning opportunities in Silva’s style. Little wonder Barcelona were hovering, when City signed him from Celta Vigo in the summer. His £850,000 fee looks like larceny, on a grand scale.
Abdul Razak was spirited away from Crystal Palace’s academy. He’s 18, going on 29, a prototypical athlete of African descent. Born in the Ivory Coast, he has the physical characteristics of a young Patrick Vieira. Handy that, given that the former Arsenal star is his mentor.
The world’s richest club may be used to defending eye-watering sums, paid for football’s finest eye candy. Yet they also have an eye for a bargain if Luca Scapuzzi, only 20, is anything to go by. He was a free agent, who hadn’t scored in two seasons in the Italian third division, when he signed a three-year City contract. He dovetailed perfectly with Edin Dzeko, and deserved a goal on his first start.
Scapuzzi, like Suarez and Razak, will be back in the shadows tomorrow, when City play Wolves again, this time in the Premier League. The mood at the Etihad Stadium will be euphoric. They have seen the future, and it works.
Follow Mike Calvin on Twitter @CalvinBook
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QPR v Man City, live 4:45pm, 5 November, ESPN
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