Sunday, June 19, 2011

INFTH Top 100: Numbers 68 and 67

68. Yaya Toure- There aren't many who can say that they furthered themselves after leaving Barcelona, but Yaya Toure is one of those few. After leaving the Catalan giants for Manchester City, Toure forged a useful reputation in England, as his powerful play helped Manchester City finally reach the Champions League.

The brother of City defender Kolo, Yaya Toure was an instant hit in Manchester, a goalscoring midfield player capable of taking a game by the scruff of its neck. Eight goals in thirty five league appearances is not bad for a midfielder, but Toure contributed much more to the City cause than just goals. His power in the central area allowed the Mancunians to take control of countless numbers of games, and his aggression also opened up space for the wily David Silva.

Toure wrote himself into the history books late on in the season, his goal at Wembley knocked Manchester United out of the FA Cup, and several weeks later he scored again at England's national stadium to win the Cup for City.

Certainly, Toure's play in midfield was one of the main reasons for City's success in 2011, and you can be sure that his Champions League experience will be vital next season.

67. Giampaolo Pazzini- After managing to escape from Sampdoria's sinking ship, Pazzini avoided a season of relegation battle, and instead helped in Inter's eventually futile fight for their sixth straight Scudetto.

A prolific striker in Serie A, no one was surprised when the Nerazzuri came calling, and Pazzini proved himself to the San Siro faithful almost immediately; scoring twice on his debut against Palermo. From then on, Pazzini was a default starter, and he went on to score another twelve goals before seasons end. Though Inter's chase for the league title eventually ended unsuccessfully, Pazzini did manage to claim one piece of silverware: the Italian Cup.

Due to his early season participation with Sampdoria, Pazzini was unable to take part in Inter Milan's Champions League campaign, a huge blow to Leonardo's team. Next year however, you can be sure that Pazzini will be raring to go in that competition; his only two previous appearances yielded three goals.

Following success with Inter, Pazzini has begun to play more often for Prandelli's Italian National Team, partnering Villareal hit man Giuseppi Rossi in attack. With Cassano in behind that duo, Italy look to have a useful attacking triumvirate; one that will likely prove a boon to them at Euro 2012.

1 comment:

  1. What a stunning piece of tactical innovation by Mancini to use Toure as an attacking midfielder, allowing him to bulldoze his way through defences. I remember the big Ivorian scoring a scintillating solo goal against Bilbao in the 2009 Copa Del Rey final where he started out from his half, whizzed past 3 Bilbao midfielders then thumped the ball with incredible pace into the corner of the net from outside the box. The sheer power, pace and grace of his movement was astonishing for someone so big and I remember scratching my head and thinking, if only he was allowed to go forward more... Well, now he is and the result is there for all to see. I just hope he and the rest are allowed some time to gel and Mancini won't bu 3-4 midfielders again because that will set back the whole team by another year.