Thoughts on the victory against Lech Poznan

For the most part this season, victories have been largely built upon Roberto Mancini's version of ‘risk-free' football; stifling and snuffing out the opposition, ball retention and playing with strength and purpose.

To the critics of this approach, Mancini has defended himself to a degree, citing injuries in key areas that has meant he has not been able to be as expansive as he may wish. Last night, however, was perhaps a sign that amidst the pragmatism is room for style as well as substance; a touch of the virtuouso.

And it was largely down to one man: David Silva.

Eased into the fray so far this season, whilst he adjusts to the English game, it has been evident that Silva is not deterred by the physical demands, proving he has the cojones as Vincente del Bosque suggested.

His performance last night drew comparisons with players from the past, the most obvious being Gio Kinkladze and Ali Bernarbia. Kinkladze was jinking and dynamic, Bernarbia all about precision. Silva is a different player though. Possessing wonderful balance and control and decision making ability, he was easy on the eye and always picking the perfect pass.

His balance on the ball takes him away from defenders and he is able to split defences, witness his cross for Adebayor's second and the ball to tee up the hat-trick.

It was an enjoyable individual performance as I have seen for some time and was such that it has completely overshadowed Adebayor's very timely hat-trick.

Despite calls through the season for 4-4-2, 4-5-1 without a doubt looks the most natural formation, and following his coming out party last night, Silva surely demands a place.

On the whole it was a good, if not great performance. Mancini was criticised over his rotation policy in the defeat to West Brom but he has got things spot on in Europa League so far. With an eye on Sunday's game against Arsenal it was a much changed with the defence in particular revamped. Also starting with two wingers, Kompany, Milner, Barry, Yaya and Tevez were all omitted.

It should be said though that Poznan poorer than advertised. Apart froma brief spell after they had been gifted a foothold back into the game, they offered little in the way of threat and allowed City to press with relative ease. 

It was pleasing for Adebayor, whom Mancini has continued to back and when he is hot he looks such a different player. With the confidence these goals will bring he is now more than capable of going on a real scoring run. Also positive was the performance of Nigel de Jong. Handed the captaincy in a move to perhaps remove the chance of his introverted display at Blackpool continuing, he made several strong, fair tackles yesterday, proving again his worth to the side.

There were concerns at the back though, where the partnership of Boyata and Lescott looked shaky at times when put under pressure, testament perhaps to the displays and growing partnership of (Kolo) Toure and Kompany as a defensive pairing. Possibly he still needs more games, but Lescott for the most part looked worryingly immobile.

With the draw in the game between Salzburg and Juventus, qualification looks all but assured. A point at Poznan followed by a win over Salzburg will guarantee it and we can really begin to look ahead.

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