Taxi for Tottenham

Thursday 15th November 2012 13:20

Maicon: never wants a game to end!

Maicon: never wants a game to end!

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Man City FanZoner Tom Wilkins is not a man to make knee-jerk reactions... unless you're a Brazilian full-back!

Brazilian magic returns to the Etihad

Plenty of eyebrows were raised when Maicon signed for Manchester City, at least they were amongst those who even realised he had joined the club. His arrival was relatively low-key and underwhelming, but the Brazilian announced his arrival with a bang on Sunday.

Maicon made his home debut for City at a difficult moment for the team. Trailing one nil against Tottenham, Gareth Bale's eyes lit up at the prospect of counter attacking against the ageing Brazilian. So too did the Spurs fans, gleefully resurrecting the 'Taxi for Maicon' chants.

Their cheers increased yet further when he took his first touch at the Etihad, calmly rolling the ball to Bale, who in turn managed to air kick to complete a comedic 30 seconds. Fortunately, things would only get better.

It's been a while since we had much Brazilian flair at the Etihad. The Samba vibes at the club have faded in recent years after the stars - Robinho, Elano, Jo and, er, Glauber - left one by one. But it looks like the glory days are coming back now. Maicon immediately took up position on the touchline, just about parallel to the opposition 18 yard box. Clearly defending wasn't particularly high on the agenda.

Almost instantly Maicon became the default outlet ball. Taking up excellent positions on the touchline and downright demanding the ball, Maicon took the game to Spurs and stretched the defence yet further. For a man in his 30s he also didn't seem to mind taking players on, usually winning the footrace too.

confusion

Ultimately, his introduction changed the game. Maicon's pace and movement unsettled a defence that had hitherto looked reasonably comfortable. Defenders suddenly swiped at clearances and confusion reigned as to who was picking up who. The Brazilian started the move that ended with the winning goal too, dragging two defenders out wide and freeing up space in the middle for Silva and Dzeko.

His passion can't be questioned either. The referee blew the full time whistle with the Brazilian thundering down on goal, one on one with Friedel, albeit with about 50 yards to go. Hilariously, Maicon seemed genuinely furious that the referee had stopped the game at this point, as the rest of the stadium blew a large sigh of relief.

Now I'm all for a knee jerk reaction, and that's exactly what this is. 30 good minutes against Spurs does not make him a City legend, but it bodes well for the future. If he can cause Vertonghen and Bale so many problems, there'll be a left back or two out there nervous about facing Maicon in the future.

The signing and performance were also vindication for Mancini and his much-maligned 3-5-2 system, for which the Brazilian seems ideally suited. For the first time this season the change in tactics worked perfectly, and the ability to change formations so drastically will be a huge advantage for City over the rest of the season if they can properly master it.

For Maicon, it has finally put to bed the mockery from English fans and press about a game which his side, let's not forget, actually won. Maicon arrived at City to prove a point and has done exactly that in his home debut for the club. He also took a pay cut in joining us to do exactly that and there can't be many who have done that at Manchester City recently...

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