How do you top a season where you won your first league title in 44 years with the last kick whilst simultaneously depriving your city rivals??? I don’t think it can get much better than that for the blue half of Manchester. Yet thats the challenge for Roberto Mancini this year, he must repeat his success in the league whilst providing a threat in the Champions League. But if City can show the same tactical class and strength required to win the Premier League, then you can be sure they will be up at the top of the league table when it matters.
Following on from last year, this has been a mundane transfer window for City. With their red rivals spending this transfer window to ensure they continue to challenge, City have been more relaxed in their approach. With no big signings to show for it. They have, however, had some activity this summer so I’ll take a look at that and their proposed signings that may or may not happen.
Rodwell joining from the blue half of Merseyside was a sudden signing that I don’t think many people would have expected. City were probably spurred into the signing by the injury that Barry picked up in pre-season. Even though the signing may have appeared rash, the young englishman shows lots of promise with consistent performances for Everton last season. City fans will be excited by the prospect of the youngster growing into the team in the future, but whether or not he will get a regular place in the starting line up proves daunting. If Mancini can allow Rodwell more game time, than Johnson who appears to want to leave City, then he will be able to utilise and nurture him into the team and build for the City team of the future.
With no other signings, that I know off….. (please update me if there are). Then I will simply touch on the fact that Scott Sinclair may sign from Swansea in the last week of the window. He has always been an interesting player for me to watch, with both moments of brilliance and moments of hopelessness. City may have the same problem with Sinclair as Johnson but as long as he gets a decent amount of game time then he may be able to flourish at a higher level of football. Even though some may say he already got his chance at Chelsea before being released. Second time lucky eh???
Manchester City’s Tactics
Plan A: City will aim to keep things tight in the first half before putting pressure around the opposing team’s box. Fact: City scored 66% of their goals in 2011/12 from the 50th minute onwards; only 7% came in the first 20 minutes.
Plan B: If the original approach doesn’t work, which we rarely encountered last season, then Mancini can unleash Yaya Toure further up the pitch and we may see him cannonball some shots into the back of the net. Simple but brutally effective, the only problem Mancini may face is when the Ivorian has to go for national duty in the African Cup of Nations.
Richards, Komapany (C), Lescott, Clichy
Note: Mancini may play with one striker, Balotelli or Dzeko, and then play 3 players behind them.
Lessons From Last Season
Other teams should never count City out. With 10 stoppage time goals last term- the most in the division, four more than Arsenal- the Citizens have shown a knack for grabbing points late on. Just like the Manchester United of old, some might say.
The strong and settled squad should have fewer title race jitters, this should make Mancini’s men hot favourites to retain the title and possibly go far in Europe.