Friday, 29 July 2016

v Dortmund – what we learnt

At least this one went ahead and with only one pre-season game to go before a ball is ‘kicked in anger’ in the Premier Leagueand with some ‘first teamers’ yet to kick a ball in a game since or even before the Euros – thank the Gods of football it did!

Very proud

Cool character

First thing we, or at least I, learnt - and following on from the Bayern game last week - is that Tosin Adarabioyo is going to be one very good central defender. I’ve had my eye on him for 18-months to 2-years now and have always been impressed with his composure for such a young lad. Not just that but his intelligent positioning and timely tackles too. I saw all of that and more yesterday from an assured fella who also slotted home a cool penalty after ‘the 90’ ended 1-1.

Despite us-having an array of ‘first team’ central defenders that is likely to be swelled by at LEAST the arrival of John Stones, I actually think Tosin will get some Premier League ‘game time’ this season, even if only from the bench towards the end of games.

Do we need to spend on a right-back?

Again, following the last pre-season friendly in Germany, we saw another very good performance from another very calm and confident EDS player. Pablo Maffeo might not just be there this season to cover [for injury and / or suspension] for Sagna & Zabaleta as well as slotting in for them in, say, “just League Cup games”; but he might, as I’ve suggested with Tosin, see some serious league action. I really do like the look of this 19-year old.

Young livewire on the left!

Having come on towards the end of the game – having played much longer in the previous, pre-season encounterAngelino not only looked eager to please but did so to very good effect! He was instantly involved, in fact, with our only goal from open play and sure does like to bomb forward!

I can’t say I’ve seen too much of the left-back actually defending but if his application & work rate on the left touchline otherwise is anything to go off, then I wouldn’t be surprised if it was equally as good. Still might need to purchase a left-sided defender in the summer to, hopefully for me at least, replace Kolarov…but I don’t think this blonde-haired flyer will have to wait too long for a ‘crack at the first team’.

If he doesn’t go out on loan again this season, then he might just be one to use in some of our domestic cup games this season.

Kevin De Bruyne Mark II

There was a fair-haired lad on the pitch in an advanced position who had both myself and my mate squinting at the telly for a few minutes early on in the game. Having missed the line-up before the kick off we were both fairly certainly that Kevin De Bruyne had started in a ‘floating behind the lone striker’ role.

However, it was only when the camera eventually zoomed in after one of several robust ‘comings together’ with Dortmund players that we discovered the livewire had a slightly blonder / less ‘red headed’ top and was our new signing Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Now I had read, when we were about to sign him, that he was not only a player who could play in a ‘behind the striker’ position as well as on the left wing but was also one, who, liked to get ‘stuck in’. What a perfect description of the 19-year old…because that’s exactly what he did before being replaced at half time.

Looks a handful, will probably go out on loan for the season but I’m certainly looking forward to a bright future at City for our ‘Kevin Mark II’.

They must feed ‘confidence flakes’ for breakfast at the CAF!

It’s not just the afore mentioned outfield youngsters who were cool, composed and, who, appeared to play their stuff without any fear yesterday; we’ve got one ‘between the sticks’ too!

We are, apparently, very close to signing Geronimo Rulli - a just-turned 24-year old Argentine who we will, again apparently, be loaning to the club he last played for, which is Real Sociedad.

That being the case and with Joe still our ‘number 1’ - and with Willy likely to be covering for injury and / or suspensions for two keepers ahead of him as well as enrolled as a Goalkeeping Assistant Coach this season following the recent departure of Richard Wright - I’m reading all of that as-us-still-needing a ‘number 2’ 'stopper' to battle it out with Hart for the two-toned-green jersey this season.

Possible incoming names are, therefore, PSV’s, 25-year old Jeroen Zoet and Barcelona’s 33-year old Claudio Bravo (the older one makes more sense if any of these 20-odd year-olds are going to have any future I would suggest).

That’s a likely scenario for the coming season, as far as I understand it anyway, but Pep’s eyebrows must have been raised considerably last night in China at a performance of such conviction from Angus Gunn, especially with the penalties.

At just 20, he might have to be patient…and I hope he is. This fella, as Joe did years ago in-going to Birmingham City, is highly likely to go out on loan to aid his development and I, for one, hope that it’s at a decent level and where there are excellent goalkeeping coaches; because this fella could be our main stopper for many years to come.

Looking sharp

Other mentions go to Jesus Navas who looks to have added a 5% edge to his game and, as I noticed against Bayern, has improved his crossing. Having said that, he looked good last pre-season I recall.

David Silva - who I most-certainly don't hide my huge admiration for and who I believe will be more rested & refreshed for this season - looked full of his usual magic too.

And Sergio scored. Is it me or does he look a little chunky? Could be the new shirts I suppose and, of course, he’s clearly involved and not training alone under Guardiola’s orders for anyone overweight and / or not yet fit enough.

Still work to be done

Still some first-teamers who haven’t made an appearance as yet; Raheem, having played a small part yesterday, still looks bereft of confidence to me, Yaya looked sluggish again at times (although I will-certainly allow for the heavy heat of a Chinese summer where ‘water breaks’ were a ‘must’) and Samir sat on the bench Mr Blobby-like; being one of those asked by Pepe to shed some poundage (so why was he even amongst the subs yesterday?)

I think we still look weak on the left of our defence, although again I will make allowances for the fact that it’s a largely ‘knocked together’ back-line at the moment (great blockage from Nicholas Otamendi in the first half, by the way, after he came ‘STEAMING IN as the Dortmund player struck the ball towards Caballero).

I agree with those who say…

…we do need to spend on an 'out & out' striker in this transfer window. Why?

-       Sergio is brilliant but, as we know, is prone to a ‘break down’ or two.

-       Kelechi is very good; will get even better, I'm sure, but is clearly still learning his trade.

-       Wilfried, despite a neat and strong-body turn & shot yesterday, has not only lost whatever mojo he had; but it’s been found by someone else and jettisoned deep into space never to be seen again, I would suggest (and bemoan).

-       The incoming, exciting attacking prospects that are about to sign for us look to be 'for the future', as plans are to loan them back to their selling clubs or elsewhere for either a half or full season.

Okay…we have Nolito now; an attacking midfielder / left-winger who ‘knows where the net is’. De Bruyne can be lethal too.

And although, otherwise, we have a wealth of creativity with more to be added soon both 'hopefully' and 'in the form of Leroy Sane'; that clinical, ‘just slam the flippin’ ball in the net’ type-player just seems still to be lacking a little for me.

We’ll see of course…but time before ‘the big KO’ on Saturday 13th August 2016 is closing fast!

Next game:

Friendly v Arsenal (but see below).
Sunday 7th August 2016, 7:00pm KO (BST) at the Emirates Gothenburg and only on MCFCTV I understand.

Addition also: City are now to play a 'behind closed doors' game at the CFA on Wednesday 3rd August 2016 against St. Johnstone. This, it is said, is to compensate for the cancelled game against Manyoo last week and to, therefore, give the players extra & valuable 'match fitness time'.

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