Tag Archives: Rodri

Man City’s transfer window: how did Guardiola do?

Whoever thought this Man City squad couldn’t get any better were proved wrong this summer in the transfer window.

Manchester City has come off the back of a season that saw multiple avenues of success. Winning four out of four domestic trophies. Guardiola’s only weakness was European success with Man City.

Many would assume that given a second crack, the Man City squad of last season are good enough to reach the Champions League final. However, with the transfers made this summer, they could go much further in Europe.

Guardiola’s squad had arguably only two weaknesses, right-back and central-defensive midfield. With Kyle Walker losing a yard of pace but becoming more defensively experienced, he is being favoured at centre-back. Fernandinho was relied on as the rock of the defensive midfield. However, at 34 years of age with no competition for his spot, there was cause for concern.

To patch up the holes in his squad, Guardiola in typical Man City fashion has brought in two of Europe’s most elite footballers. Here are the three major factors of City’s transfer window that put the club in good stead for the future…

Joao Cancelo

Joao Cancelo is Man City’s new right-back. The 25-year-old was a starter in a very successful Juventus side, as well as winning UEFA Nations League with Portugal. Guardiola has brought in an exciting talent who knows what it takes to win.


A slightly different character was brought in to replace Fernandinho. Rodri was bought from Atletico Madrid for £62million and has been in favour since proving his talent in pre-season. Rodri is a player, unlike Cancelo, who was not a ‘top dog’ in his previous league. However, bringing in a mix of champions and those who seek that title, will keep a healthy and hungry balance within the squad.

Living in the present and future, not the past

Young players such as Philippe Sandler have been given loan opportunities, demonstrating their hunger to provide a solid future for the club. Players who are deemed surplus to requirements such as Fabian Delph, Danilo and Douglas Luiz have been offloaded from the squad. This allows the likes of Phil Foden and Oleksandr Zinchenko to make more game time this season.

The Blues have gotten off to a good start this season by winning the Community Shield. And with the fantastic and intelligent transfer business in this window, it may be the start of their collection of trophies this season.

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.

Two of Man City’s best deadline day signings, agree?

Wait until the final day, Man City fans. Because these two fantastic servants were snapped up on deadline days.

The transfer window ends in a few hours. Fans and clubs alike are most definitely in ‘panic mode’ as they prepare for the new season ahead.

Man City have already bolstered a squad of champions by adding Rodri from Atletico Madrid and Joao Cancelo from Juventus. However, with the type of signings, Man City have made on past deadline days, Man City fans have every right to hold their breath.

Here are two, of many, brilliant deadline day transfers for Man City…

Pablo Zabaleta

Signed in 2008, when the club came into money, Zabaleta remained at the club for nine years. Through the heavy chopping and changing of players and managers, Zabaleta survived and is renown as one Man City’s best ever full-backs. Bringing ample amounts of success to the squad. Now, at 34 years of age, the Argentinian remains at the top flight of English football with West Ham.

Matija Nastasic

The Serbian defender was brought in on the deadline day of summer 2012, from Fiorentina. During his three year spell at the club, Nastasic was a regular starter for the Blues as they deemed to have found themselves their own Nemanja Vidic.

Playing 51 games for the club, he did play a part in the solidarity of Man City’s defence. It is clear that the Serbian is a talented footballer, currently playing regular football for Schalke in Germany, the defender has far from ‘dropped off’.

Although Nastasic will not go down in history for Man City, he does symbolise the calibre of signing that the Citizens are capable of pulling off on deadline day.

With regards to this, Man City fans should remain hopeful until the day after the deadline. Man City could sign a future servant like Zabaleta, or a talented short-term fix like Nastasic. Either way, it is clear that the recruitment department of Manchester City is second to none in the Premier League.

Two reasons why Man City’s renewal of midfielder is a bad move

Ilkay Gundogan will stay at Man City until 2022 after agreeing to terms with the club. Why is this a bad move for Man City?

The 28-year-old German midfielder was Pep Guardiola’s first signing for the club. In summer of 2016, he signed from Dortmund for around £24million.

Although the midfielder is a quality talent, he has never provided much towards Manchester City’s success. After the arrival for Kevin De Bruyne in particular, the German is not prolific enough to be a regular starter.

Despite understanding Guardiola’s methods, after three years under his reign, here are two reasons Gundogan should have been let go by Man City…

Surplus to requirements

Manchester City has the best midfield three in England, possibly in Europe. With David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri all looking to be the starting three of the upcoming campaign. For depth, the Citizens have Fernandinho, who is still in contention for starting football, and Phil Foden who will feature heavily this season and the seasons to come. It is difficult to understand where Gundogan fits in this hierarchy. He could be taking game time away from upcoming prospects.

Same old?

Gundogan was Pep’s first signing when he arrived at the Etihad. The German may symbolise the style of play that Man City have adopted since his arrival. This is cause for concern as it is imperative for champions to adapt their style over the seasons to keep opponents on their toes. This contract renewal may symbolise the stubbornness and rigidity of Guardiola’s style, indicating to challengers that they can expect to see the same Man City this season. This could allow teams to figure them out a lot easier and prevent dropping the same amount of points against the Blues this season.

Man City will make a season statement against Liverpool with this starting 11 today

Manchester City and Liverpool, the two best teams in England last season, will go head-to-head for the first piece of silverware in the 19/20 season.

Guardiola will be looking to start the season strong with a win over Liverpool in the Community Shield.

Man City’s pre-season has been vastly different from their challengers Liverpool, having the Citizens win three of their four games. They only lost to Wolves on penalties.

Liverpool, on the other hand, has had three losses, one draw and a recent win against Lyon in their last five friendlies. Pre-season often, but not always, dictates what the following season will look like for the club. But with the incredible accomplishments, Liverpool made last season, it would be ridiculous to rule them out of winning any of the trophies.

Despite being the least prolific of competitions, both sides will be eager to pick up the silverware. It also gives each coach a view on where they are compared to their opponents, and the two teams will be trying to gauge each other. Therefore, we can expect a strong line up on each side.

The Football Manc Cave gives you the starting eleven that Pep Guardiola should go with against Liverpool in the FA Community Shield…


With Walker, Laporte, and Stones, Man City have an experienced defence. The three will have dealt with the Liverpool attack in recent seasons. With the rise of the young Zinchenko last season, Guardiola should put trust in him to cope with and learn from his battles against the Liverpool attack.


Guardiola has favoured Rodri since his £62million arrival from Atletico Madrid. The defensive midfielder has put in great competition for Fernandinho, which makes him a fantastic signing as he is intended to be his replacement. Giving Rodri a taste of a competitive match against their biggest rivals for silverware will give the new boy a sense of what life in the Premier League will be like.

David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne are included because they are two of the best midfielders in the world. The two can turn any game on its head and are pivotal to Man City’s success.


Sergio Aguero may well make an appearance, as himself and Gabriel Jesus are back in training ahead of the match.

Gabriel Jesus should begin the game. After scoring in the semi-final of Copa America to knock Aguero’s Argentina out, and bagging a goal against Peru in the final to lift the cup, it makes sense to give the 22-year-old Brazilian the opportunity over the 31-year-old Argentinian.

Jesus could be the future of Man City’s attack and should be given more opportunities has Aguero ages. Against Liverpool Pep can see how he links up with Sterling and Bernardo Silva.

The final touches: What Guardiola should be getting right in Man City training this week

Man City won the domestic quadruple in 18/19, but how can Guardiola ensure European success next season?

Man City’s pre-season has arguably not been a challenging one, losing only one game on penalties against Wolves. Therefore, it is necessary for Guardiola to continue drilling tactics, fitness and work ethic into his side.

After back to back league titles and a domestic sweep last season, the one trophy missing is the Champions League. In order to compete heavily in all competitions, here are a few things that the Citizens need to work on, courtesy of The Football Manc Cave.

Manchester City’s intense build-up play was devastating to the rest of the Premier League last season. However, with their unquestioned dominance, it is obvious knowledge that other Premier League teams will be concentrating on cracking their code and figuring them out.

Although Guardiola cannot be expected to completely change his style of play, he needs to be aware that the competition in the league is growing. Teams such as Man Utd, Leicester City, Wolves and Everton are building to challenge for top four in the next few seasons.

Patching up the weakness

Man City have introduced defensive midfielder Rodri, who joined from Atletico Madrid this summer. Man City’s high and intense press left space at the back for teams to attack. It is important that Rodri learns the ropes and can act as a rock in front of the defence, which would patch up a slight weakness in the squad.

Defending counter-attacks efficiently could combat the rest of the league’s plans to knock Man City off their pedestal.

The depth of quality in the Manchester City squad should allow for them to be successful both domestically and in Europe. However, recent seasons have demonstrated otherwise. Guardiola must have a fully fit squad with enough quality to consistently perform throughout each competition next season.

Man City should line up against Kitchee FC with these two youngsters involved today

As Manchester City continue their pre-season tour of Asia, The Football Manc Cave look at what their starting eleven should look like against Kitchee FC.

Pep Guardiola’s side made the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy at the weekend and even though it’s only classed as a pre-season warm-up, his team failed to collect the award. The game finished goalless which resulted in a penalty shootout that Man City lost 3-2 to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Despite the loss, this game saw a lot of the City squad get a chance to play.

In the second half, there were plenty of substitutes that saw Guardiola’s side have nearly a complete team makeover. As well as giving youngsters a chance to play, this also gives Man City a chance to look at their new captain. Vincent Kompany’s departure has left that role vacant. The name of the player taking the armband has been up in the air. The Man City boss has stated that his squad will be picking their new leader, which is why these pre-season games have seen Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva have a go at leading the side.

Personally, I think David Silva should captain his club in what will be his last season at the Manchester side. With that in mind, this is the side I have picked for their game against Kitchee FC on Wednesday.

Quite a few of the squad such as Sergio Aguero and Ederson are entitled to holidays before joining Man City again, as they’ve been busy in other commitments over the summer. This gives other players a chance to shine for Guardiola.

Claudio Bravo has had a lot to do in pre-season, as he’s had to play in a penalty shoot-out and replace Ederson while he’s not available. He will surely get picked again on Wednesday.


Angelino didn’t get a start in their last game so maybe he should be considered as fans want to see him play. Taylor Harwood-Bellis has played well for Man City in Asia and again, he didn’t start their game against Wolves so he should be considered to be in the starting line up. Aymeric Laporte was subbed in the second half of the last game however he should definitely be in that starting line up. Finally, Kyle Walker, again, he wasn’t started on Saturday and should be given a chance. Guardiola has proven he has other options now.


The midfield line I have changed completely. Players that were brought on to try and drive for a goal in the second half against Wolves, should be given an opportunity to start. Fans want to get a chance to see Rodri in action and he can always be brought on at any point but Lukas Nmecha, Bernardo Silva and IIkay Gundogan should all get a chance.

The main topic of conversation, David Silva should definitely start as captain. Kevin De Bruyne started as the leader of the pack on Saturday, as a bid to take the armband for next season. David Silva should have the chance to prove himself again.


Leroy Sané and Ben Knight should be given the chance to start up front together to see how they work as a duo. Raheem Sterling can always replace the young striker, and there are also other options on the bench in case Pep Guardiola’s side aren’t performing how he imagines.

This is only pre-season and a chance for youngsters to show their worth, as well as senior members to prove they need to stay in the lineup.

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.

2 strengths, 2 weakness that could see Man City struggle in the Premier League

Manchester City winning the Premier League three times in a row may not be as possible as you think.

Last season, Pep Guardiola led the Citizens to win the domestic quadruple. Manchester City came away with their second Premier League trophy in a row after winning the league in the previous season.

Ever since the financial takeover in 2008, Man City have carefully planned and allocated money sensibly. Their club structure has brought the Blues to where they are now.

Man City now have a squad filled with extremely talented players, some of which could walk into the biggest clubs in Europe. Such as Sergio Aguero, Aymeric Laporte, Raheem Sterling, Ederson, Leroy Sane and David Silva. To name a few.

Here are two strengths this Guardiola’s men have which can enable them to secure success in the upcoming season.

Squad Depth

Having Leroy Sane on the bench in place of Bernardo Silva demonstrates their squad depth, despite it potentially causing an issue to Sane. Man City has recently acquired the services of Rodri for £62.8million from Atletico Madrid, according to The Guardian. Man City will have a talented midfielder to come in when Fernandinho is unavailable.


Pep Guardiola has instilled a winning mentality into this Man City squad. Last season, they lost only four games and drew two. Should the Blues have a successful pre-season, they could continue to storm through the Premier League.

However, there may be some weaknesses in this Manchester City team, which could see them have much less success in the 19/20 campaign. Here are two which could see Guardiola’s squad slip down the league table…

They’ve figured you out…

Manchester City plays a very intricate, possession-based build-up. Many teams facing Man City last season feared their attacking quality and sat off the players. This gives some of the best players in the league a large amount of space.

Laporte plays a crucial role as he constantly receives the ball and plays his trademark long-pass.

In Manchester United’s pre-season, we have seen that manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is urging his team to press very high and chase the ball down. We have seen Man City crumble when teams put this kind of pressure on them. The next Manchester derby will be fun to watch.

Chasing the Champions League

There have been rumours circulating about Guardiola having his final season at the Etihad. According to Daily Record, he is considering a break from football. The upcoming season will be his fourth in charge of Man City and Guardiola has never been with a club for more than four seasons.

Having won all domestic trophies with Man City, Guardiola may be setting his focus on the Champions League. This could have a large effect on Manchester City’s domestic success due to the pressure and fatigue caused by European football.

This Man City midfield will blow Wolves away

This Man City midfield three could run rampant against Wolves on Saturday.

The Football Manc Cave bring your attention to Manchester City, who will play against Wolves in the final of the Premier League Asia Trophy.

Pep Guardiola can test the strength of his squad on Saturday 20 July. His side will come face to face against fellow-Premier League side Wolves, who finished 7th in the league last season.

The Man City eleven who start the game could be a strong outfit, and the manager has the opportunity to see how his side will fare against one of the league’s better sides.

The Citizens recently smashed West Ham with a fairly weak squad, by Man City’s standards. However, this is midfield you can expect to see against Wolves…


Rodri made his debut against West Ham United. The £62million defensive midfielder had a shaky start to the game, regularly passing the ball sideways or backwards. But after finding his feet, the Spaniard began to drive the ball forward and pick out positive passes ahead of him. It is important that he is integrated with the squad and figures out his new team, and is likely to start the game against Wolves.

David Silva

Going into his last season with Man City, David Silva is still crucial to the way the Blues tick. He scored a fantastic goal against West Ham, getting on the end of a long pass, bringing it down and slotting it home. The Spanish international will continue to be the heartbeat of the side in the upcoming season, and it is important that he has a strong pre-season.

David Silva will likely be the captain, as he was against West Ham, should he play against Wolves.

Kevin De Bruyne

Arguably the best midfielder in the Premier League. Kevin De Bruyne will be crucial to Manchester City’s hunt for domestic and European glory. With David Silva leaving the club in 2020, De Bruyne will be looking to be the new face of Man City.

The Belgian didn’t play alongside Rodri and David Silva against West Ham. Seeing these three world-class midfielders work alongside each other promises to be quite the spectacle. It is important for Guardiola to set the foundations of his squad, despite the knowledge that Fernandinho will feature heavily in place of Rodri next season.

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