Sunday, November 08, 2009

What to do with Joleon Lescott?

When Stuart Atwell pointed to the spot after he was adjudged to have handled in the box, Joleon Lescott's face said plenty. Lescott wore the expression of a player both low on confidence and struggling for form.

After small steps forward in the goalless draw at Birmingham, it was very much a case of a step backward in yesterdays 3-3 draw against Burnley, a frustrating fifth draw in succession. All three goals were as a result of poor defending on our part, with Lescott very much at the heart (and hand) of all three - although he was not helped by Wayne Bridge (something that was well scrutinised on MOTD) throughout.

Hughes has been very careful not to criticise Lescott (or the defence as a whole) so far, trotting out the 'collective responsibility' line:

"Defending is a collective duty. We have to stop things at source before they develop. Maybe we have to work exceptionally hard to stop balls coming in to their front men. That's a part of our game we are not doing very well at. It's about working hard and making sure we improve."
Although his City career is very much in its infancy, with Lescott playing only 9 (league) games since his big money, protracted move, the statistics are not favourable. Since his arrival, we have shipped 14 goals, with two clean sheets in two games prior to him signing.

Defensive partnerships though do take time to develop and there have been formative signs that a Toure-Lescott one can be a fruitful one, but not only does it seem to be a confidence issue (which is understandable) but more worryingly, a technical one too. His positional play has at times been questionable, with goals - even prior to yesterday - coming from errors that can be attributed directly to Lescott's positioning.

It is a difficult decision for Hughes. Not only did he pay such a high fee for Lescott, but jettisoned Richard Dunne in the process - a huge decision on his part so naturally he will be reluctant to cast Lescott aside so soon, given the best way to usually fix defensive problems is through playing time to help develop a partnership.

But what the riches ADUG have brought has done is allow Hughes to increase quality competition in the squad, where names and ego hold no water and the likes of Petrov, Robinho and de Jong have all spent time on the sidelines. In recent games, Vincent Kompany has stepped in and looked very assured (alongside Lescott it has to be said) so Hughes has options and can only go so long justifying not making a change.

The dropped points in recent week have not caused terminal damage to our hopes, but there is no doubt we have let a big opportunity this past month slip by, and there is an urgency in that the recent slide has to be arrested.

What has been shown so far in his time at the helm is that Hughes hasn't been afraid to make tough decisions so far during his time in charge.

The issue of Joleon Lescott is fast shaping up to be his next one.

vote it up!


kippax said...

I have no idea why we got rid of Dunney and signed lescott. Jagielka carried him for two years at Everton. We should get rid and offer Chelsea a sum they cannot refuse.

Anonymous said...

Big Thanks for Dunney great leader of the second best defense in the premiership

lescot is a good left back at best


john said...

Unfortunately Hughes has his chosen ones: Lescott cannot be dropped, Barry can't even be substituted, Tevez starts even when he's playing like a drain.

So much for our super squad with competition for all places. This concept has been undermined by the manager.

Anonymous said...

Can you now see why we Gooners were so pleased to get shot of Adebarndoor? The reason we're scoring more goals than ever before is precisely because we no longer have the permanently offside, leaden-footed oaf leading our attack. And you gave us £25m quid for him! Just wait until he gets dropped to the bench - then the bitching to the press will start, as will the stories about wanting to move to a 'big club' like Real Madrid or Juve. Enjoy...

Anonymous said...

"What to do with Joleon Lescott?"....don't tempt me. And Wayne Bridge?? - an absolute, total donkey of a footballer. It can't go on for long and i'm quite sure it won't. You make your decisions and live by them - if they don't work out then you have to fall on your sword don't you. Pitiful yesterday ...again.

The Angel of Truth said...

"given the best way to usually fix defensive problems is through playing time to help develop a partnership."
I think you've answered your own question.
Fabio Capello, David Moyes and MH all think lescott is a top class player, he needs time and matches to get his confidence back.
The media furore and the way Moyes destroyed Lescott in front of his team mates at Everton has obviously affected him badly - not all players would be bothered by this treatment, but he has been, so lets back him up, and give him as long as it takes, otherwise it's £25m and a young man's career down the drain.
I think Dunney had to go because he loves hoofing the ball out of defence, not passing it out - no matter which manager tried to get him to change, he ended up playing like a Conference player, safety first. He infuriated Sven, and probably helped get him the sack when that lovely passing game was by-passed in the second half of Sven's season.
All that happened under dunney's captainshipp was the ball came straight back at us with knobs on - no wonder Dunney was the busiest player in our team, and got all those player of the season awards, it wasn't going to be one of our midget forwards was it? They never saw the ball until it came out of the sky with icicles on it! It wasn't going to be a midfielder either cos they never saw the ball at all!
No wonder we couldn't score to save our lives under Pearce and Sven.
He was a bad influence on the younger defenders too, they took to punting instead of passing, shame we didn't get rid of him sooner, and he certainly was never true captain material, he never gave valuable instruction in the middle of a game.
Nice guy, not good enough for a top team - Villa will find this out.

Unknown said...

lescott was not to blame yesterday. He was trying to cover 2 positions, his own and Bridges. He also had an assist and in the 2nd halve started to look like the player we thought we had bought. The problem yestarday was not shutting up shop once we had the lead. Why did Hughes not bring Dejong or Johno to close out the game?

Benji said...

I think it's pretty obvious (or should be) to anyone who watches City matches that individual errors are not to blame for our recent run of draws/poor form. Can no one else see how unorganised we were against Burnley? And how poor RSQ, Bellamy and Tevez were against Birmingham? How many times did Barry and De Jong either give the ball away or get simply by-passed at St. Andrews??

Hughes is actually right. It is the collective effort that is not up to scratch. Therefore he shares the blame. When we attack, we have Bridge charging down the left, SWP up front, Bellamy on the right. What position is everyone playing again??? When attacking, it is great to have fluidity and interchange between players. But the second it breaks down, whichever poor guys remained in their own half are then subject to 3, 4 and 5 players running at them with the ball.

When one player is covering for another, someone else then has to cover for him and so one. Surely everyone can see this? We have great attacking options but Hughes needs to outline players' roles. E.g. if Tevez and Ireland have license to roam, then SWP and Bellamy DO NOT. They stick to their wings. If we have three strikers and two attacking midfielders, then Bridge does not need to make his lung-bursting dashes into the penalty area.

Stop blaming Lescott, Bridge or any individuals. They are all proven quality. Organisation, discipline, etc is what we are lacking.

Anonymous said...

To the idiot who has used Lescott's poor performance to imply it's because we got rid of Dunne - you are a complete muppet who knows little of football. Dunne was one of my favourite players in a City shirt but letting him go was definately the right thing to do. He was abismal at times last season and his time as a first team regular had come. At the same time putting him on the bench would have been harsh on him, hence let him go for his own sake aswell as ours. Richards was also abismal but as Richards is only 21, I am hoping he may come back into form at some point. Lets leave Lescott alone, I think we're all expecting a little too much too soon. He and Toure have played how many games together??? A defensive partnership will take time. Stick with Lescott and Toure and I believe things will come good. I have questions over Bridge, and personally would have Lescott at left back with Kompany and Toure in the middle. However as I said, give it time and stop whinging about Dunne going as it's pathetic. You've probably never even been to a City match.

PS Lescott has also looked effective going forward


Nathanmon said...

Just too many individual mistakes by the team really. And I can't remember the last time more than three players had a good game in the same game.

Last week SWP was awful, and this match, he was our best player.

Still don't know what toi do with the mid-field. Ireland plays in some brilliant passes, but do we then miss de Jong too much? Barry has been largely dissapointing.

I like the look of Petrov to play a full game at right wing, but what to do with Bellamy who is, along with Shay our most consistent player...

Anonymous said...

Stick Lescott at Leftback, far better than Wayne Bridge

Anonymous said...

Have to say after watching Lescot at Everton and now Man City,god only knows why you let dunny come to the villa; but we thank you very much indeed because he is a natural winnerand has bolstered our defence greatly.

Wooderbeen said...

I've got to say that I think the criticism of lescott is harsh based on the Burnley game. In the second half in particular, I thought he was one of our better players. It just seems that it's the current 'fashion' to heap the majority of criticsm for a loss on this young man's shoulders and it's immensely unfair. His career at City hasn't got off to a flyer, but to jump on him after every game, regardless of his overall performance is just unfair.

Trading Losses said...

I think that some of the criticism of Lescott is unjustified. He's a good player who has made some mistakes, including a particularly silly one for the Burnley penalty on Saturday, but he's not the only one.

Kolo Toure is a more experienced player than Lescott but he was caught ball-watching and then lost his man for Burnley's second and he was out of position, as was Lescott, for their third.

The situation is not being helped by the form of Gareth Barry who is undoubtedly a class act but who has lost his way a bit since the Villa game. Barry made a significant mistake when he overran the ball as he brought it out of defence and lost possession in a dangerous position in the lead up to Burnley's second goal.

We're not conceding goals because Joleon Lescott's rubbish - we're conceding goals because we're not playing well.

There's no question that Dunne was a terrific player for us and the move to Villa has obviously been a good one for him. Good luck to him. However, there was a general feeling of concern last season that Dunne was becoming increasingly error-prone and was possibly past his best. Maybe some of you have short memories. Perhaps we should have kept Dunne for his experience but just because he's playing well for Villa doesn't mean that he wouldn't still be making mistakes for us if he was still playing for us.

I think there has also been some unhelpful criticism of Wayne Bridge who has had some decent games for us in the last few weeks. If we were plotting a graph of Bridge's performances this season i think we would see that he is on an upward curve. Hopefully, he can become more consistent if the team starts to settle down.

One of the undoubted successes of last season was Vincent Kompany and, as he regains full fitness, i would like to see him reintroduced into the side at centre back, preferably alongside Lescott. I think Toure could move over to right back which is a position causing us problems and where he has looked pretty useful when he has played there for Arsenal. If this doesn't work then we have other options.

I feel Kompany would bring some maturity into the centre of defence which i feel has been lacking when Lescott and Toure have played there. Whilst i've always rated Toure as a player he has never struck me as captain material. On the other hand, i feel Kompany is a confident leader and i think his presence in the centre of defence would help to bring the best out of Lescott.


Benji said...

Alan Hansen was an absolute prick the other night on Motd. Completely exaggerating a couple of errors and slating a player in almost comical fashion to enhance his own reputation in the eyes of the public. -6/10??? He just felt sorry for Wayne Bridge? Football fans, unfortunately some City fans included, seem to be under the deluded impression that Bridge is a poor player out of his depth. I have watched every game he has played in at City (compared with Hansen who will have seen a combined total of 4 minutes) and particularly this season, his performances have been much improved. His good play continues to be ignored however and every slight positional error is highlighted and vilified.

"When you talkin aboot...when ya talkin aboot".....blah blah fuck off Hansen!