Tag Archives: city

Mr Man City Is The Clubs Best Bit of Business – Agreed

This article started its lifespan as describing what we learnt about Manchester City in the FA Cup last weekend. The answer was not a lot.

Manchester City are a terrifyingly superior side and, don’t defend high up the pitch if it means trying to outpace Raheem Sterling. You won’t do it.

The news that was more shocking came the next day and it was that Vincent Kompany would be leaving the Citizens after 11 years at the Etihad Stadium.

The definition of being in the right place at the right time, Kompany joined the week before the takeover and, has been a major part in the clubs remarkable success over the years. He’s started a charity, he had a (pretty decent) racehorse named after him, Kool Kompany. And became a true fan favourite at the Etihad.

Huge names came and went for transfer fees you couldn’t imagine Man City spending in 2008, but Kompany was there for the long haul. His modest transfer fee was an irrelevance as he made himself an indispensable part of the team, and eventually the obvious choice for the Captain’s armband. His passion for the club and his role there remained immensely obvious throughout his City career, occasionally bubbling over to losing his cool.

However fans were always happy to overlook this, and were often rewarded, no more so than with his last Manchester City goal, his only this season and his only from outside the box.

Kompany is one of the most loyal and passionate players to have been on City’s books. A true Man City legend who I’m sure people will be talking about in decades to come.

Who Could Man City Sign as Pep Targets a 200m Summer Spending Spree

Despite becoming the first team to successfully retain the Premier League title for the first time in a decade, Man City manager Pep Guardiola will target up to four new signings this summer.

A fresh financial fair play scandal has re-surfaced since City won the league after beating Brighton 4-1 on Sunday. Yet despite the success, Guardiola is set to strengthen the squad as he aims to conquer Europe for the first time since 2011.

With a reported 200 million budget set to become open at the Etihad, who could come to the Etihad this season as the likes of Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph and Eliaquim Mangala and Danilo all look set to leave the Premier League champions this summer.

We take a look at some potentials…

Matthijs de Ligt

Having recently turned down a move across town to Man United, The Ajax defender may look over to the east side of Manchester as he looks set to leave Holland.

City look set to move for a new centre back this summer and De Ligt could be a key addition. Yet with Barcelona looking like favourites ahead of the blues, Guardiola may miss out, just like with Jorginho 12 months ago.

Rodri

The Atletico Madrid man could swap clubs with Otamendi this summer and indeed replace Fernandinho in the holding midfield role. The 34-year-old is not getting any younger these days either and, Ilkay Gundogan may not be the man to fill the role particularly in the big European games.

According to the Telegraph, City will meet Atletico’s 60 million request for Rodri. With the CDM role such a priority, the chances are this price will be met and equal the club transfer record currently held by Riyad Mahrez.

Harry Maguire

Featuring as a potential signing for Man United last week by thefootballmancave.com, Maguire may not be a bad move to City either and finding negatives for the England international is a tricky one.

Admired by Guardiola, Maguire knows the league better than any up and coming foreign star. At 26 years old, he can play in this City team with John Stones and Aymeric Laporte for many years to come. Captain Vincent Kompany may extend his contract by another year too.

Arsenal and Chelsea will join the Manchester clubs in the hunt at a price of 60 million.

Houssem Aouar

Premier League rivals Liverpool will do battle with City off the pitch this summer before they go again next August on it.

Aouar can play in a variety of midfield roles including the ‘number six’ position, one that will bring music to Guardiola’s ears. Having scored seven goals in his breakthrough Ligue 1 season.

In the Champions League last season, the blues only took one point out of a possible six against the French team. Having been described as ‘incredible’ by the Catalan, it would be no surprise to see him in sky blue come pre-season.

Two Heavyweights Go The Distance and Man City Find One More KO Punch Over Liverpool

It’s been an incredible battle at the top of the table this season in the Premier League, with Manchester City and Liverpool going toe to toe for most of 2019.

Liverpool looked to put some distance between them and Peps men over Christmas, but the relentlessness of Manchester City meant that a hares breath separated the two teams on the final day.

I imagine several fans were nervous, and this was not helped by Liverpool getting an early goal or Brighton going ahead. Had we blown it…Had we heck.

If there is one man you want to get a ball to in front of goal it’s Sergio Aguero, and he scored a cool goal to get City level. Some shocking defending from Brighton helped Laporte pop with an excellent header, followed by a strike from Mahrez that was arguably his best moment of the season. A free kick Beckham would have been proud of saw City win, not only a game against a struggling side as expected but the League title.

The game as a whole was something of a metaphor for their whole season, going behind and leaving it nerve-wrackingly late to land the win.

All season city have been fantastic, less a few odd results losing to Crystal Palace and Newcastle. When they have got going they have been like a freight train, frankly unstoppable. Embodied again in the game against Brighton when they scored four in a show of strength and quality.

Perhaps the most incredible thing about a team winning the league with 98 points, and winning 14 games in a row is the manager doesn’t believe this team is “done.” Guardiola is a relentless perfectionist and thinks there is room for improvement in this side, which arguably on their day are the best in Europe. Perhaps fielding the best players in the world, in the likes of De Bruyne, Arguero and the player he improved beyond recognition, Sterling.

With this in mind City’s domination looks set to continue indefinitely, and it’s hard to see how the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Man United can catch up.

A thrilling end to a thrilling season, and the excitement keeps building for what’s to come.

Man City fans, is this season and back-to-back titles your best yet?

Two Players That Could Be Shown The Man City Door This Summer

If Man City do retain the Premier League title next weekend, Pep Guardiola won’t allow complacency to settle into the squad.

With the need to constantly improve in a league that never sits still, the Spanish manager is always looking for perfection and after such a quiet transfer window last summer, they’ll be no doubt a little turnaround at the Etihad Stadium.

The Manchester City are arguably one of the best teams in the world at the moment, and with such a strong squad there is always going to be huge competition to stay in the squad.

With the summer transfer market approaching, there is likely to be a lot of movement at the top clubs and these are two players I, as a City fan, wouldn’t be mourning the loss off.

Riyad Mahrez

Quite frankly, I would not like to compete with the likes of Aguero or Sterling for game time. There is no doubting that this is one of the strongest forward lines in football at the moment, if not the strongest.

However, I feel Mahrez just isn’t quite up to the standard of the others on the line-up, and I feel that there are other players that City could look to acquire that would further push him down the rankings

Phil Foden

What? I hear you say, he’s one of our own! I agree. However, if anyone needs to go on loan it’s going Foden. I feel in his limited game time at the club his improvement has been enormous, but while there are huge benefits to training with the likes of some of the best in the world there is nothing like game time to hone a players skills.

A player of his talent would be first team material at several Premier League clubs and, a season elsewhere could be the making of a brilliant young player.

Two Things Guardiola Will Learn From The Chelsea Defeat

Perversely, Manchester City’s defeat to Chelsea serves to show us how far City have come, I remember some pretty desperate performances against the south London side, and a shock win all over a decade ago.

This time around City fans expected their team to win, with arguably the strongest team in Europe and one of the best managers currently working, fans have come to expect results week in and week out.

Take nothing away from Chelsea, who have staked their claim as contenders this year, they played incredibly well. However, there are some areas we need to improve on.

City also played well, Pep himself said if you thought City had an off day you didn’t see the game, City were dominant in the first half and the first goal was scored somewhat against the run of play, but in the dying moments of the first half, which is mentally a tough place to come back from.

I recently went to go and watch City with a friend who supports a third division team, and midway through the first half they turned and said: “they need to stop messing about with it and shoot.” (Language may be slightly altered). Here they may have had a point, in the first half city were dominant but slightly polite about the whole thing.

You can pass the ball into the net against Burnley and Southampton, but not against a team like Chelsea, and Sarri seemed to have set up his tactics perfect to frustrate City’s pretty football. Sometimes it’s fine for it not to be pretty if it gets the job done, and if they had capitalised on their first-half dominance it would have been a different story altogether.

Over-dependence on certain players is something all teams slip into at times, City really missed Aguero up front on Saturday, and one can’t help but think how much De Bruyne’s creativity and vision in the middle may have helped at points in the game where City was struggling for a breakthrough and looking a touch flat-footed once they had gone a goal down. David Silva going off with injury further exasperated City’s issues. More work needs to be done to ensure these world class players cope without the anchors.

City remains one of the best teams in Europe and winning every game is unrealistic, and Hoffenheim at home on tomorrow night followed by Everton should be two easily winnable fixtures and, they can get all the cylinders firing before the congested Christmas period.

Why Pep and His Team Will Dominate The Premier League For Years To Come

When I started writing this, out of curiosity I googled when it was that Joey Barton mooned some Everton fans, it was a mere 12 years ago. Around that time I was travelling to watch City be beaten by Charlton, Reading and Wigan and couldn’t have imagined that in that short window City would become completely imperious domestically, and a real force to be reckoned with in Europe. Noisy neighbours, we are most definitely not anymore.

Cynically it is easy to say City under Pep have a lot of money, and there is no point pretending that top-level success is possible without big money backers, however, rich clubs do sometimes struggle in the league, and having money doesn’t necessarily mean it is always well spent. Clever decisions need to be made or you can be saddled with expensive players on huge wages who are just getting a run out in the Carabao Cup a couple of times a season.

Pep inherited some fantastic players that were well established in the team, De Bruyne, Aguero, Silva to name but a few, however, he has managed some exceptional signings, Gundogan being his first, setting a high bar. Obvious standouts with regards to goals to their names would be Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, and the genius signing of Ederson.

There have obviously been a few less successful signings, and that is inevitable, however generally Pep has a good eye for the transfer market, and being able to bring new talent in, as well as developing and improving his current squad means there in constant competition to be in the starting line up. Meaning everyone needs to be at the top of their game all of the time, even Aguero has seen the likes of Jesus snapping at his heels as the chief striker.

This means that there is no getting a two-goal cushion in matches and sitting back, everyone plays ruthlessly and to their best all of the time, which means they often get impressive scorelines, further cementing their reputation, and making them hard to crack, as they simply don’t switch off

Tactically City are remarkable to watch, the pace, speed of passing, accuracy, pressing high and hard on and off the ball and remarkable amounts of possession help to make them so impressive. They have very much developed their own style of play, which did take some time to perfect.

Guardiola’s’ first season took a lot of adjustment and some fans were underwhelmed with the first set of results. However, with players adapting increasingly well to this, and domestically at least, other teams finding this very hard to play against, City are looking seasons ahead of other teams.

Football that people, and most importantly the fans want to watch is good for everyone. Modern football is a pretty fickle affair, and managerial positions can be incredibly short-lived, and the longer clubs can keep off the merry-go-round the better for everyone.

Security can breed success, fans being happy with the manager means there is no pressure or negativity. The manager being secure in his role means the players are more secure in theirs, they have a place in the squad, they will not have to adapt their style of play to a new manager every season, and players stay long haul, which means they aren’t having to spend time adjusting to playing with huge number of new faces every season. Which means fewer mistakes on the pitch, better results, and more importantly, the fans and the board are happy.

Add this to the spending power it becomes a club players want to go to, which goes back to my earlier point about competition to be in the squad, meaning everyone is always playing as well as possible, which further feeds into getting excellent results. It’s a great cycle and it’s hard to see where this will fail.

It’s a fine balance, but currently, City have got it about right, and while the clubs history itself serves to show quickly things can change for better or worse, it’s hard to see a return to the days of finishing 15th, relegation and inflatable Bananas (which for what it’s worth I think are overdue a return).

My Best Manchester Derby AND FA Cup Moment in Sky Blue

It seems no coincidence when outgoing City legends talk about their favourite moment in a sky blue shirt.

Despite both Pablo Zabaleta and Yaya Toure witnessing arguably the greatest moment in both City’s and the Premier Leagues history – Sergio Aguero’s goal vs QPR in May 2012 – they choose to talk about an FA Cup semi-final moment in 2011.

With the first round of the Cup around again this weekend, sitting alongside Sunday’s Manchester Derby, it only seems right to talk say the narrow City win at Wembley seven years ago was the first mark of proper success after the Abu-Dhabi takeover in 2008.

It was Toure who scored the only goal against Manchester United in the Cup semi-final seven years ago, nicking the ball off Michael Carrick to score the winning goal, a goal that proved pivotal as City went onto win the cup a month later.

The cup victory that day paved the way for more trophies and really set the ball rolling in a golden period for City.

The old knockout competition was crucial to the years since, which has seen three Premier Leagues and three League Cups. You only need to listen to the comments made by Zabaleta and Toure to realise it’s significance.

Although they may have charmed and humoured the fans, it’s hard to find a reason not to question their reasoning.

Whatever happens on Sunday in the latest clash of Manchester’s greatest clubs or indeed in the FA Cup this weekend, you will probably not as significant a moment in a club’s history as there was for City back in 2011.

Both Zabaleta and Toure would say similar if you ever asked them. In a time when the Champions League takes top priority outside The Premier League, City fans probably have more of a reason to thank The FA Cup for than most.

Pep Should Continue to Blood The Youngsters When City Resume Carabao Cup Action

Despite not being a top priority for Premier League title-chasing clubs, the Carabao Cup offers City the chance to continue to breed in their young guns.

Last time out, eighteen-year-old and boyhood City fan – Phil Foden made his mark against Oxford in the last round, capping off a wonderful night with his first goal for the club.

City’s academy are surely banking on Foden and co to deliver on the big stage in the future.

The reigning Carabao Cup holders take on Premier League strugglers Fulham tomorrow night, and it would be nice to see how these academy graduates perform.

Brahim Diaz

It’s been a long while seen we saw Diaz in a City shirt. In fact, it was the last round at League Two Oxford when the Spaniard stepped over the white line. Reports suggest Diaz is unlikely to remain in Manchester in the long run, with Spanish giants Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund amongst the teams who have been interested.

A place for the City winger in tomorrows starting eleven may give Diaz some believe that his football career lies here in Manchester.

Despite the Nineteen-year-olds future up in the air, it would be nice to see him make a rare start against the Cottagers tomorrow night.

Arijanet Muric

A slightly surprise selection, however, it is most likely City’s current number two goalkeeper Muric will get the nod in goal tomorrow again.

With Claudio Bravo unavailable through injury, the nineteen-year-old will again start for City as he fills the void of ‘domestic cup goalkeeper’.

Tomorrow will again see the young goalie get a chance to impress under the spotlights. The chances of him featuring in sky blue permanently are very little at this moment. Yet a good game tomorrow should ease all nerves that the Kosovan is a more than a fitting replacement should Ederson suffer an injury.

My Greatest Season in Sky Blue? It’s a No-Brainer!

There was a seven day period where I felt a mixture of anger and disappointment. It began against Liverpool in the Champions League and was promptly ended less than a fortnight later at Tottenham.

All this was ended by the weekend when City won the league, their third in just seven seasons. As a fan, I hadn’t felt sad about the Blues for near enough a year. That’s how good we were.

From a defeat to Arsenal in the FA Cup Final in April 2017 to April twelve months later, City played near enough the perfect match every game. One week it was 5 against Liverpool, six against Watford then battering Chelsea in every department on their own turf.

Kevin De Bruyne was the star as was the timeless David Silva alongside him. The best moment? A 2-1 win against Southampton with a last minute winner by Raheem Sterling on a rare night when we didn’t play well at all. At that point, I just knew we would win the Premier League.

It took another six months or so to be confirmed, but the procession began as soon as 2018 dawned.

When United lost to West Brom on Sunday the 15th of April, it was all done and dusted. Probably the weirdest yet most wonderful way to see a Premier League title won. West Brom was relegated a month later, the Red Devils lost the FA Cup final to Chelsea.

The season ended on 93:20 day, Gabriel Jesus scoring a last-gasp winner to seal a perfect season and a perfect points total of 100. In the sun at Southampton again, it really was the best way to end the season.

I was told it couldn’t get better, yet after watching the blues recently it might just get better.

But let’s only think about last year for now. The memories of Pep singing ‘We’ve got Guardiola’ at Leicester may just do the trick.

Ryan Lowe Takes Full Advantage of The Checkatrade Trophy…

Not many fans seem to care about the Checkatrade Trophy, the fans at Gigg Lane are no exception.

Just 454 fans watched Bury’s win over Leicester’s under 21’s last night, this trophy just isn’t a big pull as fans and players alike target promotions and FA Cup runs in order to make their season a success.

However, like when the Premier League clubs play in The Carabao Cup, these ‘so-called pointless competitions’ give clubs an opportunity to unearth new rising stars.

Young Bury striker Dom Telford would certainly not have been complaining about the Checkatrade last night, scoring both goals as Bury edged past a Premier League youth side to extend their unbeaten run to five games in all competitions.

When Telford signed from Stoke in this summer, he surely knew finding opportunities to make his mark would be difficult, especially having Football League stalwarts like Jermaine Beckford in the ranks.

Yet Telford wasn’t the only youngster to make his mark. He was taken off by Lowe on sixty-nine minutes and replaced by sixteen-year-old Aaron Brown, recently called up to Northern Ireland’s under 17 squad.

As Brown gained some valuable experience with his cameo appearance, Telford gained more in terms of confidence, showing off his potential once more. ‘Dom’ notched a double against Morecambe in September too, he has only played three times in the league as well.

Who knows what Telford and his fellow young Bury stars can do in the Checkatrade trophy, yet attendances may not show a huge rise unless Lowe’s men start pulling up trees in this competition.

But with six of the starting eleven under or at the age of twenty-one, it was a promising night for the club despite the low gate numbers across the country overshadowing an otherwise impressive night for Bury’s young guns.