It’s a bit strange that City’s side loan this 32-years old midfielder from The revolution army AS Roma in Serie A. I wonder why Mancini loan him despite of his lack of play in the first season. I think this post enlight me a bit.
With a slew of central midfielders at his disposal, many will have questioned Mancini’s decision to bring in a 32 year old player whose strong suit isn’t brawniness and his fitness is questionable considering the amount of playing time or rather lack of it at Roma this season.
Those questions might be justified but they miss the bigger picture; Manchester City is in transition and clubs are beginning to change their approach towards Mancini’s men, they are beginning to treat it as the giant that its squad suggests it now is. In 2012 we’ve seen more teams play deeper, narrower and more compact against City and Mancini is going to have to adapt his team’s style to the rigors of playing against these ‘park the bus’ tactics.
That’s where new ‘loanee’ David Pizarro comes into the picture. Surprisingly snubbed by Luis Enrique in his bid to reshape Roma for one reason or other, the Chilean play-maker has only managed 7 appearances this season. Yet his 90% passing statistics in those games prove that he’s still ‘got it.’
Does City need a deep-lying playmaker?
Underrated, the Italian tactician might be, but he understands that the foundation stones for building a winning team is defence and with those bricks laid last season, the finishing touches of flair can be introduced this season- that’s why Pizzaro, if he can hit top gear, could usurp Barry in midfield.
Mancini’s pursuit of the likes of Fiorentina’s Ricardo Montolivo and Roma’s De Rossi (though more combative than creative) suggestshe definitely thinks that his squad could use some creativity from deep areas. The advantage of having a deep-lying play maker is two fold- firstly and more obviously, he adds creativity to the side but secondly and more importantly, opposition players are forced to play higher up the pitch to close him down.
The second aspect is exactly what City need in the second half of the league as teams are going to sit even deeper and deeper in a ‘come break us down if you can’ sort of manner. Space for people like Silva, Nasri and Aguerro will be limited and a deep lying play maker can be the difference between wins and draws in such ties.
Teams like Everton and Napoli did brilliantly in this regard against the Citizens and more premier league teams will adopt that strategy. The dimension Pizarro offers is one that would create more space for the Silva and co. to operate in. it’s hard to find a better description of the Chilean international than that of Goal.com’s Julian De Martinis
Pizarro is technically gifted. Similar to Xavi in style, if not in pure talent, the affectionately nicknamed ‘Pek’ loves nothing more than to be the deep playmaker of a team.
Deemed unwanted at the turn of the century, the breed of players of whom Pizarro is part have made a real comeback and it’s easy to see why. Xabi Alonso for example might play the role of part-destroyer against Barcelona but against most every other side he puts on his creative mantle in turn directing, dissecting and debasing the opposition from deep forcing them to come out and play.
That’s what makes Pizarro a brilliant addition to the City cause, he might be a playmaker by trade but over the years, just like Pirlo and Xavi, he’s learned to do what his brawny defensive-minded counterparts do well-win the ball back, mostly through intelligent positioning rather than tackling. While his presence is most useful to force teams that are intent on defending deep to press higher, in big ties where City are pushed to the ropes he could easily morph into a ball winner.
Why David Pizarro?
Naturally, there will definitely be despondent murmurs at the Etihad stadium from fans who would’ve hoped for an Eden Hazard-sort of signing but even though it may irk some to admit, soccer is still a business and even though the owners have opted to play their cards closer to the chest this January, it seems like the days of wild spending are coming to an abrupt halt.
Pizarro, like Xavi and Pirlo are players who are only as dangerous as their options and while Xavi’s assists fall to Messi and co. and Xabi Alonso picks out the Ronaldo’s and Benzemas of this world, the talent at Pizarro’s disposal- though no slouches of their own- have not been as technically gifted. That is all set to change during his spell at Man city.
That’s part of the reason why the Chilean playmaker hasn’t been as appreciated in soccer spheres as other deep-lying playmakers. While AC Milan has gone the opposite direction replacing Pirlo with a more combative, cynical ball winner, Mancini whose side last season were the harbingers of an ultra defensive 4-3-3 that had three quintessential anchormen, has opted for a much more attacking trio this season- beauty has finally overcome the beast.
Deep-lying play making is a rarified quality and getting this breed of players in the market is a tad bit harder than your average box to box player let alone the month-long January shopping window. Mancini worked with Pizarro at Inter Milan and he knows what the Chilean can offer. The Italian tactician has taken a gamble on a player whose future appeared murkier than ever but it’s definitely a calculated risk worth taking. His experience could prove invaluable to a side that needs every ounce of assistance they can get on the pitch and in the dressing room.
In conclusion, Pizarro might be lacking in match sharpness and adjusting to the Premier league at 32 can be a tough ask even for the most technically gifted (anyone remember Shevchenko), if he doesn’t set the league ablaze then the citizens can cut the cord and send him back to Roma in the summer, if he does, they will probably be the team on the podium come May, either way, it’s a win-win.