Monday, May 21, 2007

2006/07 season - Player reviews

I originally intended to post up some of the season review stuff last week but with the Pearce sacking and the takeover news things got sidetracked a little.

Looking back over the season, not too many players can come out with a great deal of credit but here is a rundown of how Bitter and Blue thought the players fared over the course of the 2006/07 season:

Nicky Weaver
Finally recovered from his injury nightmare and got the nod at the start of the season and was solid enough. Surprisingly lost his place towards the end of the season though and is now out of contract.

Andreas Isaksson
Began to make noises when he could not dislodge Weaver from the side but has proved his worth since becoming the first choice and looks to have a good grip on the number 1 shirt now and is a better option than Weaver.

Joe Hart
Made a solitary appearance this season and looks to have a slight edge ahead of rival Kaspar Schmeichel in the pecking order. Spent time on loan at Tranmere and Blackpool and will be looking to push Weaver hard for the back-up spot.

Micah Richards
Still only eighteen years of age and probably could have done with a rest at some stage before his injury towards the end of the season. Only his first full-season yet is also established in the England set-up. A dominant player at the back and provided vital support in attack.

Danny Mills
Only seems to surface now when delivering an opinion on outgoing managers. Popped up on loan at Hull and the BBC commentary box and has no real future at the club. How long until his contract is up?

Nedum Onouha
Suffered again with injuries this season but when he had a long run in the team he reminded everyone of his quality. Clearly more comfortable in the centre than at right-back and he may help soften the blow should Distin leave.

Sylvain Distin
Another excellent season and his partnership with Dunne is up there with the best in the league. Strong, quick and a good distributor - will be sorely missed if he leaves but the new ownership/management have a lot of work to do to convince him to stay.

Richard Dunne
On the pitch for every minute of every game and is vital to the side. Again (and deservedly) won the supporters player of the year. Captain who leads by example and an under-rated player who does not get the league-wide credit he deserves.

Matt Mills
Just made a couple of appearances this season and spent time out on loan at Colchester. Didn't overly impress and faces a battle next season to establish himself in the reckoning for a first-team spot.

Ben Thatcher
A season now remembered for his infamous challenge on Pedro Mendes. Was solid enough during the season but was in, out, then back in favour with Pearce and then out of the blue sold to Charlton during the January transfer window.

Michael Ball
Was brought in on a short-term contract during the season following the sale of Thatcher and immediately looked a better option. Offers an option going forward and his performances earned him a new contract shortly before Pearce's sacking.

Stephen Jordan
Looked to have stolen a march on Thatcher at the start of the season but his performances and form slipped so badly that he lost his place when Thatcher returned from suspension. Never really kicked on or progressed as hoped and was released at the end of the season.

Joey Barton
His off the pitch antics have clouded what was an impressive season ON the pitch for a player who had his best season and saw him make his England debut. Unless there is a change of tact it does seem he is on his way out this summer in a move that will see everyone lose out.

Didi Hamman
Showed in patches that he does still have quality but another who spent too long in the treatment room and struggled to put a consistent run together all season. Difficult to see him being a viable long-term option in the midfield.

Claudio Reyna
His largely unfulfilled City career came to an end in January as he moved back to the USA. Again struggled through injury for part of the season and he was in and out of the side when fit but never really impressed when he got his chance.

Ousmane Dabo
Whatever happens in his City career, he will now forever be remember for being on the receiving end of a beating from Joey Barton. Never really got into his stride this season but fit in well in the holding midfield position when Pearce opted for the 3-5-2.

Trevor Sinclair
Another injury wrecked season and we never saw the best of him during his time at the club thanks to ongoing injuries. Released at the end of the season and unlikely that he will pick up another Premiership deal.

Michael Johnson
Looks a real talent. Was thought of highly by the Academy and made his debut in the 4-0 defeat at Wigan. Recovered to force his way into the side in the latter part of the season and appears to be set to stay in the set-up.

Sun Jihai
Again, another who missed a large part of the season through injury but was back in the side at the end of the season. His versatility is an asset to the squad, but is probably detrimental to him as he struggles to get a consistent run in any one position. Filled in well enough on the right side of midfield at the end of the season.

Hatem Trabelsi
Promised a lot at the start of the season and looked to be a promising signing. Injuries and falling out of favour saw his chances limited as the season wore on and he was not offered a new contract at the end of the campaign.

Stephen Ireland
Broke through this season and turned in his best and most consistent season at the club (also being a regular at international level). Offered options in a number of positions and formations. Signed a long-term deal and should cement his place in the line-up over the next few seasons.

DeMarcus Beasley
Flashed in patches and offered a different attacking option from midfield, but failed to show the overall consistency needed, and perhaps mindful of clearing the decks for a new manager he was not retained at the end of the season - going the same way as Rieira and Musampa before him.

Ishmael Miller
Appears to be more of an athlete than a footballer. Still very much in the early stages of his career and mainly limited to substitute appearances but I don't see him as being a long term success but perhaps he needs more time (or to play as an out and out striker).

Darius Vassell
The archetypical confidence player. Either is very good or very bad. Admittedly out of position a lot of the season, he worked hard for the team but looks well short of confidence in front of a goal - as evidenced by his penalty miss in the derby. Not looked the same without Andrew Cole.

Bernardo Corradi
I described him as a 'poor mans Luca Toni' when he arrived. Perhaps just poor would have been more apt. Should have shown more than he did and seemingly on his way out in the summer, but could Ranieiri offer him a lifeline?

Giorgios Samaras
Probably regressed in all honesty over the season. Frustrating as he does have undoubted talent but has not shown it often enough. He is still young though, but you sense that next season is a critical one for him. Could be Pearce's legacy.

Paul Dickov
Why oh why he was brought back to the club is a mystery. Yes, I remember 'the goal' but that's no excuse. Went goalless through the yeay and succeeded only in annoying goalkeepers/referees/fans during corner kicks.

Daniel Sturridge
Has been more hype than anything else so far but all who have seen him below first team level seem united in the view he has something special. Limited to a couple of (brief) substitute appearances so far but arguably should have been pitched in at some stage.

Emile Mpenza
A good pick up by Pearce in January and nearly stormed to the top of the scoring charts. Gained in fitness and confidence as the season went on and offers goals and a presence up front. Thankfully signed through next season at least.

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