Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Yaya Toure's absence leaves Manchester City short-handed at a crucial juncture of the season.
Yaya Toure's absence leaves Manchester City short-handed at a crucial juncture of the season.

Toure brothers are missed but are not missing the action

With Vincent Kompany's red card, Roberto Mancini will now all the more miss the services of Yaya and Kolo Toure.

At around 5.12pm on Sunday, just as Vincent Kompany, the Manchester City captain, was being sent off in the FA Cup third-round tie with rivals Manchester United at the Etihad Stadium, more than 5,000km away on a plush training pitch in Abu Dhabi, Kolo and Yaya Toure, surrounded by their Ivory Coast teammates, were laughing.

It was a sight that, had he been here to witness it, would have grated on the retina of Roberto Mancini, the brothers' coach at City.

The Italian had pleaded with Francois Zahoui, the Ivory Coast manager, to allow him to retain the two players for one extra day, but was denied.

Instead Zahoui spoke of the need for cohesion and a strong team spirit ahead of the Ivorians' African Cup of Nations campaign.

City have benefited greatly from Yaya Toure's form this season.

The 28 year old has been a driving force in midfield, the one player Mancini does not rotate, scoring six goals in his past 13 games.

Yet statistics, depending how you spin them, can substantiate any argument.

Even before Sunday's 3-2 defeat to United, City had managed just one win in their previous three games and had claimed only 10 points from a possible 18 in the league over the course of the past month. Early-season domination appears to have ebbed.

Mancini, who has bemoaned his multimillion pound squad's lack of depth, confirmed he will appeal the red card shown to Kompany, but if it is not rescinded - and with recent appeals by Queens Park Rangers' Joey Barton and Wolverhampton Wanderers' Nenad Milijas being rejected, it is unlikely - the City coach will find his side missing three of his international performers for the visit of high-flying Tottenham Hotspur next week.

Title challenges hinge on how clubs cope in the face of such adversity, and the match with Spurs on January 22 will be viewed by all at City as critical. All except the Toure brothers, that is.

The Ivorian pair will, on the same day, be preparing to take to the pitch to begin their African Cup of Nations campaign with lowly Sudan.

Unlike a light-training session in Abu Dhabi, the Elephants' match will be televised.

Mancini, should his side fail to secure the desired result, may want to avert his eyes.

 

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament was kicking off at Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Wednesday with plenty of excitement in store. Ravindranath K / The National

In pictures: IPL 7 kicks off in Abu Dhabi

The first match in the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament, between Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders, was held at Zayed Cricket Stadium amid plenty of colour.

 Al Rayyan's Yakubu Ayegbeni, left, tries to escape the attention of Jazira's Khamis Ismail. Karim Jaafar / AFP Photo

Late strike qualifies Al Jazira for last 16 of Asian Champions League

A dramatic late goal gave Al Jazira a 3-2 victory at Al Rayyan of Qatar in the Asian Champions League (ACL) on Wednesday night and it was just enough to push Walter Zenga’s side into the knockout stages.

 Zayed Cricket Stadium had not witnessed so electrcic an atmosphere before Wednesday evening. Pawan Singh / The National

Packed house gathers in Abu Dhabi for Indian Premier League opener

In less than half a day, Zayed Cricket Stadium witnessed the force that is Indian cricket, with the sound drowning out the controversies that have dogged the Twenty20 tournament, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 Lionel Messi of Barcelona looks down after being defeated during the Copa del Rey Final between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona at Estadio Mestalla on April 16, 2014 in Valencia, Spain. David Ramos/Getty Images

Plenty of life still in Barcelona, says Gerardo Martino

Barcelona coach maintained his side can still return to their former glories after they were beaten 2-1 by a Gareth Bale-inspired Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final.

 Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton, left, and Nico Rosberg at the official press conference following qualifying for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 15, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. Mark Thompson/Getty Images

F1: Toto Wolff says Mercedes have all the right ingredients in place

With Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg at the wheel, Mercedes have so far dominated the first three grands prix going into this weekend’s fourth round in China.

 Sunderland manager Gus Poyet, left, reacts as Manchester City's manager Manuel Pellegrini looks on during their English Premier League football match at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester on April 16, 2014. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. AFP PHOTO/Andrew YATES

Poyet says ‘I am sure that Luis Suarez is going to be happy’ after Sunderland draw at Manchester City

Sunderland’s survival chances remain slim because now they face Chelsea away at the weekend but manager Gus Poyet insists they are not trying to benefit Liverpool or his fellow Uruguayan, Luis Suarez.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National