Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini made a big decision to drop midfielder Yaya Toure from the starting lineup against Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night, but was vindicated as City delivered an effective performance that will now raises the question of where the Ivorian’s future lies past this summer.
City finally moving on without troublesome Toure
Toure came on late in the game as Kevin De Bruyne was given a rest for his excursions on the pitch, but City were more than deserving of their narrow victory over the French Ligue 1 without having their long-serving midfielder present. It was a big call to make by the manager as Toure has been a regular in the side for many years, but it appears the club are moving on as the former African Player of the Year is no longer at the peak of his powers.
In his place, Pellegrini named De Bruyne to operate behind striker Sergio Aguero, and David Silva also played a supporting role. The pair could put better pressure on the Paris Saint-Germain defenders to get possession back, and they move the ball a lot quicker than Toure does in games. De Bruyne and Silva have real chemistry on the field, and their combined creative powers would normally work wonders with the likes of Sergio Aguero benefitting.
Man City weren’t exposed in the central areas
It’s was De Bruyne’s technique and finishing that was the difference, however, with the Belgian curling an effort into the bottom corner from distance – a skill Yaya Toure has in abundance ironically. But Pellegrini made a big statement by finally dropping the 32-year-old. The player’s agent has been talking up a move all season, and the City manager has had enough of bullying tactics from the Toure camp.
His lack of work rate in the big Champions League games had been partly the reason they were often overrun in matches, leading to an inevitable exit, but now they have a balanced squad with their most effective players all sticking to their assigned roles. Toure has to fit the system his manager bestows on the side or he will continue to miss out on such occasions.
It’s widely expected the experienced midfielder will be leaving Manchester City in the summer when Pep Guardiola becomes the new manager, and he looks set to exit the Etihad Stadium as one surplus to requirements, rather than leaving on top. Toure has scored six goals and made five assists in 27 Premier League appearances this season, and is now no longer the main man at the club. Pellegrini was rewarded for being bold, and Toure now has to wait his turn for game time.