Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mancini May Have Solved Best Form

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Mancini May Have Solved Best Form

Article excerpt

Byline: John Gibson

THERE is great puzzlement among Newcastle United fans as to how Leon Best couldn't hit a barn door at three paces when performing in the Championship last season, but has now gorged himself on a glut of goals in the Premier League.

At first glance it doesn't make much sense.

Best failed to score a secondtier goal for United in 13 appearances en route to the title and promotion - he had six starts and seven sub outings without notching a solitary single time.

Yet in the much more rarified atmosphere of the Premier League where he had never performed before, the same young centre-forward has scored five goals from only seven starts, plus one sub.

It beggars belief - or does it? Has Roberto Mancini, that suave muffler wearer from Man City, the answer to our teaser? Does it lie in the misfortune of Fernando Torres and his own expensive import Edin Dzeko? Torres cost Chelsea a stupendous pounds 50m and Dzeko was secured for nothing less than pounds 27m. That's pounds 77m worth of misfiring talent. Not a solitary Premier goal for new pay masters between the pair of them.

The reason why they are shooting blanks, reckons Mancini, is that they only arrived in the January transfer window, halfway through a season with no time to get to know the style of the team or their colleagues to work out which way they prefer the ball to be played. What runs they make and what to expect.

The Mancini suggestion is that time is of the essence and being allowed to bed in during pre-season is a must, even for sophisticated strikers.

Best cost but pounds 3m, a most modest sum in comparison, but he too arrived in the short January window of last season and spectacularly flopped in front of goal.

So much so that come this campaign he lay way down the pecking order behind Andy Carroll, Shola Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands and even Nile Ranger. …

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