Craig Bellamy has always been a talented player and has scored goals at every club he has played for. He is one of those players you love to hate, someone you would love to have at your club but hate when he plays against your team. Bellamy could, as Bobby Robson once brilliantly put it, “start a fight in an empty room”. The striker has had numerous fall-outs with managers and players, notably Graeme Souness, Alan Shearer, Jon Arne Riise and recently, John Terry. But Bellamy has put his attitude to one side and really delivered for Manchester City this season, with a string of excellent performances.
Bellamy’s pace and excellent finishing has made him a success at every club he has played for, whether it be Coventry, Newcastle, Celtic, Blackburn, Liverpool or West Ham. But it is at City where the Wales international has really flourished. Many people queried the £14 million City paid for Bellamy in January 2009, believing it was a lot of money for a player that was talented, but carried a lot of baggage and problems.
Bellamy’s success has always been overshadowed by his off-the-field problems. Whether it was hitting John Arne Riise with a golf club in Portugal or being accused of assaulting two women in Cardiff, Bellamy has always been a magnet for controversy. Maybe it is the fact that he has matured (he is now 30), but those problems don’t seem to be affecting Bellamy this season.
This season, Bellamy has scored 8 goals for City and has 7 assists. The stats don’t really justify the strikers performances though, as in some games this season, Bellamy has completely dismantled the opposition with his pace, power and ability to do the spectacular. Take the 4-2 demolition of Chelsea the other week: Bellamy was instrumental in City’s victory, scoring two goals. Also in the Manchester derby, Bellamy took United apart for most of the game.
What is the reason for Bellamy’s excellent form this season? Bellamy is at the stage of his career where he wants to win a major trophy and obviously believes that City are capable of doing so. Because of this, Bellamy’s work ethic has improved drastically: he is focused and determined to help the team and is focusing that aggression and passion that used to get him into trouble properly and in the right way. Bellamy obviously understands he is not bigger than the team and just a part of it, therefore must play well to keep his place in the team. Playing with the likes of Tevez, Adebayor, Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry every week doesn’t hurt either.
The shift out to the left wing has seemed to aid Bellamy’s transformation at City. Because of the competition for the centre forward position with Adebayor, Tevez and Santa Cruz, Bellamy has made that left wing position his own, where he can use his pace to damaging effect. He has been so good there he even made Robinho expendable at City.
Bellamy’s transformation at City has been a great one. He seems to have solved the attitude problems and got over the injuries that plagued his stints at Newcastle and West Ham. On his day, Bellamy is world class and is capable of destroying any team in the league.What do you think of Bellamy’s form this season – Is he the key to City establishing themselves as a top four side?
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