Tag Archives: john stones

Man City to kick off the title defence with this starting backline

Man City start their Premier League campaign at West Ham this weekend and the Football Man Cave is taking a closer look at their defence.

Following Vincent Kompany’s departure from the club at the end of last season, Man City fans have been wondering who will fill that space and how exactly their defence would line up throughout the season.

Pep Guardiola has had the chance to see a range of different players over the pre-season period, and it’s given everyone a clearer picture of how the squad might line up. We have picked out who we think might line up against West Ham…

Kyle Walker

He was always going to be a part of the team, however, the clearance he made off the line against Liverpool in the Community Shield was something that has proven to fans, management and the club why he’s in the squad. The defender will be ready and raring to go this weekend after his performance last weekend and the reaction he received.

John Stones

Proving that they can work well together, Stones and Walker will be the first two defenders in mind when it comes to Saturday. He’s known to make mistakes and has had a bad reception from England fans in the past. However, his league game is always better and he proves exactly why he should be in the City squad.


This week, the Daily Mail reported how the midfielder has been in talks with Pep Guardiola over filling Vincent Kompany’s position at the back. Now that the squad is full of fresh midfielders such as Rodri, it has become harder for Fernandinho to be picked in his known position. However, Guardiola has had a plan of action again and that’s to get the versatile player to drop into a centre back position.

It’s probably risky to start him on Saturday although it would be a good chance to see him in action and if things aren’t working, he can be replaced by one of the other experienced defenders that Guardiola has coached.


Relied on a lot in pre-season and for Man City over the past year, he is looking to be a great asset to the growing City team. The 22-year-old started against Liverpool at the weekend and should be given another chance to shine at West Ham.

3 things we learnt from yesterday’s Man City defeat to Wolves

The final of the Premier League Asia Cup saw Man City and Wolverhampton Wanderers go head to head yesterday.

Man City fans were hopeful that their side would conquer yet another cup, even if it’s just part of preseason. Unfortunately, just a preseason warm-up is all the fans got as Wolves went on to win the game 3-2 on penalties.

Pep Guardiola must have realised that his side didn’t look like finding the back of the net as he kept on making changes. At one point, Kevin De Bruyne, John Stones, Raheem Sterling and Adrián Bernabé all were subbed at the same time for Kyle Walker, İlkay Gündoğan, Bernardo Silva and David Silva. The Man City boss also replaced Rodri, Laporte, Zinchenko and Sane with Lukas Nmecha, Angelino, Harwood-Bellis and Alex Garcia.

Even with nearly a full squad change, Man City still couldn’t bag a goal which took the game straight to penalties.

So after this loss, the Football Manc Cave explores three things we have learned from the Manchester side today…

Captain Issues

Obviously, with Vincent Kompany leaving the club at the end of last season, this gave the armband a new owner and today that player was Kevin De Bruyne. Weeks ago, it was reported that David Silva was looking most likely to take the responsibility of leading Man City out next season. Now Guardiola has stated that his players will pick their next leader.

Having a player on the pitch who everyone respects and values are vital to a football team. Vincent Kompany will surely be missed as he stepped up to the role confidently. Now it’s up in the air as to who will replace him and after their performance today, Kevin De Bruyne must be a sceptical choice. Who do you think should take the armband?

Low Expectations

It’s clear that the Premier League Asia Cup isn’t something that is taken too seriously and is more of a preseason warm-up than anything else. A lot of Man City fans have stated how this was just a fitness session and a warm-up before the start of the season, and they don’t seem too bothered about the loss. However, some have noted their concerns over the fact that this should have been an easy win that ended up in a draw at full time. Some are concerned, that these are the kind of matches that the Blues need to pick up all three points in when the Premier League starts again.


Even though Guardiola’s side lost on penalties, you can’t argue that his team has such a variety and good quality of back up options. In a friendly, most teams use nearly all the subs possible to give every player a chance and opportunity. This was no different. Four or five changes at a time should usually see a team bring on players that aren’t as experienced and senior as other teammates, or players that fans are sceptical about.

Not this team. When you can take the likes of your new signing, Rodri with players like Zinchenko and Sane off. Then replace them with the likes of David and Bernardo Silva, surely it proves the talent in your squad.

The loss aside, Man City fans will look forward to the new Premier League campaign, new players and hopefully another title.

Man City’s starting 11 tomorrow against West Ham Utd should look like this

Manchester City will face West Ham in the Semi-Final of the Premier League Asia Trophy tomorrow at 13.30pm. How could their starting eleven look?

West Ham opened their pre-season matches with a 3-2 win against Rheindorf Altach, however, this clash will be Man City’s first fixture since the FA Cup final almost two months ago. The winner of this competition will face Newcastle United or Wolverhampton Wanderers.

West Ham United is also Pep Guardiola’s first game of the Premier League season, although the starting line up may be very different. Sergio Aguero and Nicolas Otamendi are both missing for Man City this week following their exertions for Argentina at the Copa America. Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho And Ederson are all missing for the same reason. Riyad Mahrez has been in action for Algeria at the African Cup of Nations. Benjamin Mandy misses out to injury and Phil Foden is also not with the current squad as he is representing England’s under 21’s.

So with the players that this list leaves and the fact that Rodri has flown with the team to hopefully play, here’s the Football Manc Cave’s prediction for Man City’s starting 11.

Man City line up

Bravo will be looking to make an appearance after Ederson’s absence has been made apparent. Stones will be looking to impress as he fills in the hole that Vincent Kompany has left. Rodri may start as everyone is excited to see him in action, not just the fans but the team and management. This will give everyone a taste of what he’s capable of. With Aguero’s absence, Sterling will be raring to go.

It’s a hard pick for a team with so many players missing. This, however, does give a lot of players the chance to prove to Guardiola that they deserve a chance. Not only players that have been benched last season and not been the first pick, but also the new signings. Rodri should get his first start and it will give everyone a glimpse of how he fits in that middle line up.

‘Absolute Joy To Watch’ ‘Sterling Played Very Bad’ England Fans Split Over Man City’s Sterling Performance

Raheem Sterling captained England for the first time last night on his 50th appearance. The Three Lions lost 1-3 in their Nations League semi-final vs Holland, with Man City team-mate John Stones making a huge error at 1-1, to gift the Dutch a lead in extra-time.

Sterling was voted PFA 2018/19 young player of the season, after playing a pivotal role in City’s domestic treble winning side. The winger finished his campaign with 25 goals and 17 assists, his best stats yet since joining The Blues from Liverpool in 2015.

Sterling is often criticised for his performances in an England shirt, particularly at last summer’s World Cup when fans thought he wasn’t effective enough. Had Harry Kane squared it to Sterling in the semi-final at 1-0, he would’ve been entered into folklore. If only, ey.

‘I’d Rather Have Kidney Stones Than John Stones’ England Fans Humorous Reactions to Man City’s John Stones

I think it’s safe to say that England fans were hoping for victory last night but instead, they were left disappointed by another semifinal loss.

The Three Lions managed to score first in the second Nations League Semi final last night when a penalty was awarded, but couldn’t cling on to the lead as the Netherlands equalised and took the game to a painful extra time were England ended up losing 3-1. 

After the disappointing loss to Croatia in the World Cup, I along with many other England fans were expecting a performance last night that showed the team were hungry to make it to the final but instead, a sloppy defence made the game unbearable to watch.

John Stones is the man in the firing line today as he was blamed for a lot of the mistakes at the back. Last night, most England fans were frustrated and fed up but, I’ve managed to cheer myself up this morning by having a scroll through Twitter.

Jamie Carragher was in the studio for Sky Sports last night and he had a lot to say about the City player if you missed it, I’ve attached his rant below but in my opinion, he is absolutely spot on.

This particular tweet and the replies had me laughing this morning. England fans have become that used to the disappointment and can make a joke out of a bad situation.

Some missed England’s previous stars.

There were very few fans this morning jumping to Stones’ defence, some thinking that the Nations League isn’t that important.

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.


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 of Man City’s Ageing Players Pep Has To Look For Long Term Replacements This Summer

Manchester City’s squad contains some of the most exciting young talents in football, however, it also has plenty of players who have been with the club since their first taste of success.

There is no escaping the fact that some of these old fan favourites will at some point need to leave the club. City are always evolving and looking for the best players out there, and no doubt the players below have provided more than enough value for their money, and they’ll be sure to try to find similar long term investments.

With the old guard soon to be outgoing, Pep Guardiola’s team will be looking to seamlessly integrate any new signings possibly this season with City looking to tie up their summer deals as quick as possible with the club on the verge of back-to-back titles.

We have a look at the two players below…

Sergio Aguero

I hope Aguero is with the club until he retires. However, part of what has made City so imperious is their incredible front line. There are some seriously talented players but none quite as sharp footed. Sterling looks a potential heir to that throne, but then who replaces Sterling? With Mahrez maybe not to the standard, it’s maybe time to start looking for another star striker.

Vincent Kompany

Another one that might not be well received! I don’t want to see Vinny out and again hope he stays with City until he retires. But the captain is an important role to fill and fill correctly. While occasionally hot-headed he is a loyal, passionate player who will wear his heart in his sleeve and be very unselfish in many ways as well as an excellent leader to the many young player’s City has.

A huge act to follow and it would be a hard man to replace. It is more likely that the likes of John Stones will fill this role, but then it’s making sure that there is another young player waiting in the wings as a deputy.

This looks set to be a fascinating transfer window across the whole league, but I imagine several neutral eyes will be on City, and a lot of summer talk will be about what Pep does.

City Fans can say a fond farewell to Nicolas Otamendi as he heads for the summer exit door

Nico Otamendi was a shining light in City’s 100 points title-winning season 12 months ago. Playing alongside one of either Vincent Kompany, John Stones or Aymeric Laporte, The Argentine became an irreplaceable figure in Pep Guardiola’s back line.

Many pundits called Otamendi for his defensive errors during his first two seasons in England, but after working with Pep Guardiola and his coaching staff, he had pundits and even fans eating their words for his huge improvement.

Yet, this season something has gone wrong for the Argentine finding himself out of the first-team action, particularly in the Premier League. Mostly due to the partnership built by John Stones and Aymeric Laporte, the centre backs warrior-like approach has been well down the pecking order in City’s title defence.

Due to the fact, the Blues are on course to retain their title, with a projected total of 98 points-pipping Liverpool to the title by a point and within a potential domestic treble – Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, the decision taken to bench Otamendi has been hard to disagree with.

Clearly unhappy with his lack of game time, the man nicknamed ‘The General’  now looks ready to leave the City project for a new challenge, here in England or even abroad.

Linked with Wolves, West Ham or a return to Spain with Valencia, any club wanting to recruit a new centre back should give careful consideration at least. There is no reason to suggest he couldn’t slide straight into a top Champions League club defence.

Atletico Madrid are that leading club chasing the City defenders signature. Diego Simeone’s side certainly knows what they’re purchasing. A player with a no-nonsense approach to defending with a risk-free gun-ho approach to the beautiful game. Should Otamendi come out of a 50/50 duel as the winning man, he looks a world beater. If he’s the loser in the challenge, he can look the obvious weak link in City’s current back four.

Pep Guardiola’s quest for domestic and European dominance will go on with or without City’s General. But this departure will hurt more than most at the Etihad. His performance levels last season means he deserves all the credit he will no doubt receive when he eventually departs Manchester.

Aymeric Laporte: City’s Invisible Rock

If you ever wanted to throw a foreign player right into the deep end of stereotypical English football grounds, Aymeric Laporte is probably the man to ask.

In the space of his first sixteen days, The French defender had already taken on Burnley and Wigan Athletic, hardly teams who play football Laporte would have experienced when at previous club Athletic Bilbao.

His experiences at Turf Moor and The DW have most probably been forgotten. The form he is in currently, no City fan will remember Laporte’s slightly rocky start in English football.

Seven months on and City’s January buy is playing in near enough the form of his life. His performance against Fulham last Saturday was as good as it gets. With the ball, his pass completion rate was 95.7% and won 75% of his individual battles.

Add to that a further two clean sheets and a goal at Wolves, its been harder to find a better player in a sky blue shirt this season. At a joint high of six appearances, the Frenchman has fitted the demands of playing in a Guardiola system.

We all know the demands of playing in a defence managed by the Catalan. He doesn’t expect row Z defenders, he wants players as good with their feet as they are in 50/50 challenges. Laporte has done everything that the above states. His defensive ability is probably the best of City’s centre-back quartet, yet only one bad game and Laporte can find himself watching with his tracksuit on.

With John Stones, Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi as his rivals as well as teammates, one slip up and two of these defenders will be more than ready to take his place. One of which is the club Captain and fans favourite, the other was in last seasons team of the season.

In my view, Stones compliments Laporte the best, they look a ready-made partnership and fit Guardiola’s blueprint the best of any.

Perhaps that’s the biggest compliment to Aymeric Laporte. He’s keeping out Kompany and Otamendi which is no mean feat, let’s not forget they were City’s best centre-back partnership last season in the one hundred points title-winning season.

For all our sakes, let’s hope old Laporte can keep up this form. Nobody has mentioned how much he cost the club as of yet, surely that’s a good sign!