Writer: Lorna Silva
Date:Wednesday August 21 2013
Ahead of City's first mission to Cardiff in close to 20 years time, VMC's Lorna reflects upon The Blues opening day win and the importance of an early season flying start...
Well, the proof is in the pudding for our international signings this summer especially now we have seen three of them in action against Newcastle!
In the hot seat we now have Roberto Mancini's successor, Manuel Pellegrini and so far, so good. Nothing other than the top spot is what our South American coach is aiming for this season. To say the signings of Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho, Álvaro Negredo and Jesús Navas have been impressive is an understatement. That excellent, early summer business now places us in the position of being able to challenge for top honours at home and in Europe. Whether we will sign anyone else is as yet unclear but if we do, it will have to be in central defence given that Matija Nastasic (who had a fantastic first season), Micah Richards and now captain Vincent Kompany are all out with injuries. It would seem logical to get a replacement in to play alongside Joleon Lescott for when moments like this occur, unless a Dedryk Boyata or Javi Garcia option is deployed. Atlético Madrid's 32 year old Argentinian stopper Martín Demichelis remains heavily linked with City.
Aside of this conundrum, as it stands, backed by Joe Hart, a back four of Kompany, Nastasic, Clichy and Zabaleta is as good as any other in Europe.
We do however have Joleon Lescott who can take over deputising in the centre. Micah Richards and Zabaleta will compete for right back whilst Gael Clichy and Aleksander Kolarov remain options for the left side of defence (providing of course Kolarov stays). Let's see what Mr Pellegrini has up his sleeve for defensive options before the transfer window closes.
Looking into midfield, some are saying the squad looks a little bit overloaded with everyone competing to play in the centre of the park. The pairing of Fernandinho and Yaya Toure looks to me to be the most likely partnership and this will prove to be a nightmare for opposing sides this season. Both players have the engine to get up and down the pitch rapidly with a good range of passes and clearly provide a goal threat.
Talking of Fernandinho; for me he is the player that City have needed especially over the last couple of seasons. He is the one who can turn defence into attack in the midfield arena. He may have cost us a fair bit of money from Shakhtar Donetsk but he is eager for a good debut season in England - if that good season means he can force his way into the Brazil team ahead of the World Cup next summer...then crack on! I predict he will be a powerhouse for us. I am placing high hopes on him at City this season and hopefully he won't let me down!
We then of course have David Silva, nothing much needs to be said about him apart from our goal threat is not as dangerous when he is out of form or injured...Merlin makes City's attacking line tick and things just click into place when he is around. Even moreso now Jesus Navas is dragging defences out wide. Pellegrini will need to technically speaking, wrap Silva in cotton wool when required and keep him fit.
When it comes to City's forward line, with City's new high tempo approach we need strikers to drop deep and look for the 'ball to feet' a lot less. Edin Dzeko and Alvaro Negredo will battle it out for the place of furthest man forward and Sergio Aguero and Stevan will no doubt add to the creative ability that our midfield offers. Negredo, Jovetic, Aguero and Dzeko are all class acts.
With all these top quality players our title chances will depend upon how the new players settle in alongside our coach and his backroom team, how quickly they find their feet and get into their stride. If we can come out of the blocks strongly again at Cardiff this weekend we will without a doubt be confirmed as a force to be reckoned with this season. To win that first game against Newcastle was an absolute must for The Blues especially as all our main rivals won their games in advance.
Finally, let's hope Nastasic and Kompany are back in full form for next month's Derby Day. We will need their stability and familiarity then more than ever. We want our title back.
UPCOMING DATES for Your Filofax
all times East Manchester BST
Su 25 Aug 16h00 Cardiff City, Cardiff City Stadium PL
Th 29 Aug 12h00 Champions League Group Stage Draw, Monaco
Sa 31 Aug 12h45 Hull City, The Etihad PL
Mo 2 Sep 23h00 Summer Transfer Window Closes
Sa 14 Sep 15h00 Stoke City, Britannia Stadium PL
Su 22 Sep 16h00 The rags, The Etihad PL
Sa 28 Sep 15h00 Aston Villa, Villa Park PL
Date:Wednesday August 21 2013
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