Sunday, 13 July 2014


How times have changed, hey? 20, 15, perhaps even just 10 years ago City fans used to get nervous about whether they were going to see their team survive an often relegation-threatened season or, similarly, whether they would attain promotion.

But in recent days I've read comments from Blues who seem to be getting rather nervous about the campaign ahead…and some other sources seem to be backing up those ‘wobbles’.

So what’s the concern?

Well I think it boils down to this, the other title-challenging Premier League teams appear to be concentrating a lot of their early spending efforts on strengthening their attacking midfield and striker departments; making them a far more formidable force next season.

Although Liverpool will be losing one hell of a striker in Luis Suarez, they’ve brought in Adam Lallana and a very shrewd signing, in my opinion, in Rickie Lambert. And WITH that £75M gained from the sale of ‘Mr Bitey’ you can guarantee that they’ll be spending a large chunk of that on at least 2 more creative / attacking options.

Liverpool pushed us all the way last season; you can bet they’ll push us even harder this time round.

Does one signing make a difference? Well in Alexis Sanchez I’ll answer that by saying that Arsenal have now put themselves RIGHT in the mix of the title chase. They still need to add strength to their defence and perhaps need an out & out striker (I see Sanchez more of a goal-scoring, creative wide man) but they now have a formidable attacking midfield at their disposal.

If they can keep them fit (often an issue for The Gunners' midfield) then the likes of Ozil, Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla AND Sanchez marauding forward ahead of Arteta, Wilshere and Ramsey is one hell of a formidable midfield!

Last years F.A. Cup winners are now in serious contention to add to their silverware this time round.

And then there’s Chelsea of course. In my opinion they already HAD the most attacking midfield options in the Premier League last season and so what do they go and do? They add ex-Arsenal and Barcelona player Cesc Fabregas to their already-swelled ranks. Even better than Arsenal; they have an unbelievable array of attacking, creative talent in their ranks.

Up front they also added the threat of Diego Costa and although they also have Lukaku, Ba and Torres in their striking locker, I fully expect them to target another 'front man' before the window closes.

And what about Manyoo? Well they’ve spent in the region of £60M on just 2 players so far and although you can’t class either of them as an attacking threat as such, England left-back Luke Shaw and Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera do have their creativity attributes and will certainly ‘chip in’ with assists.

And, somewhat ominously, the team from Stretford are supposedly wafting away with impunity a hand at the FFP rules; and have another £140M to spend in the next 7 weeks. You can bet that we’ll see some exciting and dangerous attacking midfielders, wingers and forwards joining the team from M16.

Tottenham haven’t spend yet – I’m sure they will soon enough – but with the ex-Southampton manager now at the helm be sure to see a much improve Spurs side this coming season.

As for us…

Well there’s the continued doubt about whether we’ll have the goal-scoring, creative, attacking threat from midfield that is Yaya Toure. If he DOES decide to pack his bags then it won’t be lost on Manuel Pellegrini and the other City officials just how many goals and assists he’ll be taking away with him and, so, I’m certain that we’ll be in the market for a replacement should it come to that.

But all that would take time; Yaya isn’t due to join his colleagues in the USA for nearly another 2 weeks and there’s a fear circulating that he may not show up. So…chuck in a period of tracking down a possible AWOL player and a resolution meeting or three and it doesn’t leave too much time to secure an alternative.

Amongst the growing ‘feelings of dread’ was one City fan who posted a comment to the effect of, City were letting us down with regards to not getting enough business done early (as promised, he added).

Then we had Ladbrokes; whose online headline read, Man City’s transfer apathy makes them most likely top-4 fall guys”.

And if, like me, you’ve been listening to Talk Sport over the last few weeks then it may not have passed you by either; that amongst all pundit-talk of who is going to win the league this season we haven’t been mentioned once…not even as a possible chance-afterthought.

“Letting us down”? “Transfer apathy”? No top-4 finish? Not even in contention?

You don’t have to look too hard to see that there’s serious, mounting concern about the season ahead with regards to the defence of our title. Just have a look here (2:00) at the reaction and answer this young City fan, Logan, gave when asked about the season ahead.

But is the doom & gloom justified?

Well I can certainly understand some of those concerns to some degree. It’s never good to watch your rivals ‘splashing the cash’, especially when it comes to buying flare, goal-threat-type players.

We're doomed!
But to those who are feeling the wobbles - and to those who have already written us off - I say this. Do our rivals see danger in OUR creative/attacking players? Of course they do. And the likes of Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, David Silva, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic, Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero are a stable team with great experience of playing together. Last season’s additions of Navas, Negredo and Jovetic now have that ‘year under their belt’.

For more reassurance I also say this. The team with the second best defensive record in the league last season have now added a quality, experienced keeper in Willy Caballero; a very good and experienced right-back in Bacary Sagna, an excellent defensive midfielder in Fernando and we’re about to spend in the region of £32M for a class, solid partner for Vincent Kompany in the form of Eliaquim Mangala.

Huh…our challengers will NEED all the attacking prowess they can muster!

Not only should the centre of our defence be far more formidable but the competition in goal and at right-back should see an even BETTER Joe Hart and Pablo Zabaleta. Zaba, in particular, should be boosted simply by the fact that, unlike last season, he can now get occasional, well deserved rests…and in Sagna we will have more than competent cover.

The signing of Fernando (or F. Reges as his shirt will display) also changes the dynamic of our midfield. It will, for example, give Fernandinho greater licence to go forward or, on occasions, will allow us to play the ‘Ferd’ pairing as a defensive duo when games necessitate.

We should be a VERY solid unit next season.

Fear not Blues. Yes I think that retaining the title will be very, VERY tough next season (especially with a stronger push in the Champions League I’m sure) but we are still very much a ‘heavy weight’ in the Premier League make no mistake.

Having said that – and even WITH Yaya staying and, hopefully, happy to perform to the same levels as last season – I still think our attacking/creative options should be bolstered before the end of August.

I know we’ve got the Financial (not so) Fair Play to consider but with further sales of, I’m sure, the likes of Micah Richards and Jack Rodwell etc., we could rustle something up. And now that we appear to be getting the centre of defence done ‘n’ dusted soon, I wouldn’t be surprised if City did pull something out of the hat in the attacking/creative department by 31st August.

A ‘quick word’ on the new home kit








More words on the home kit

The controversial shorts...

Yeah it’s neat / smart enough…but that’s where the compliments end for me. I don’t particularly like the collar and the complete absence of white is just wrong. It's very disappointing.

In fact there’s a bit of a hoo-hah about the lack of white - and one City fan has started an on-line protest. I’ve signed it.

What is that colour where the white should be? Navy blue? Black? Either way it’s just not Manchester City. Here are some good pictures that illustrate the point perfectly.

And, as it turns out, the leaked pictures on the Internet WERE correct and so, worrying, this might be our 2nd strip next season…

Like a poor Arsenal or Manyoo away top...
Not the kits of Champions and I’m counting the months & years until our contract with Nike runs out.

Next up…

We’ve got a game today…and it’s live on City’s WEB site! Having already trained there, Dens Park host our first pre-season game against SPL Dundee, 4:00pm KO BST.

Fortunately the KO 'is when it is' as there’s just no competition, is there? Dundee v Manchester City or Argentine v Germany

Now of course it’s gonna be really hard to predict a starting line-up so please allow me some room for a lot of errors. But here goes…

V Dundee











I’m not even sure Milner has returned to the Club for pre-season yet but I’ve stuck him on the bench. I’m pretty sure you’re not limited with regards to subs in pre-season friendlies such as this one and so I’ve included a lot of young players who were recently given pro-contracts, as well as some established EDS players.

Result? A good workout, hopefully no major injuries and a win for City.
Thanks for your patience with regards to me posting a blog entry (first for just over a week) and...


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