The Premier League returns this weekend and Man City need to perform as they finished before the international break. So far I am happy with the way we stand, 5 points behind the leaders Chelsea but I know we could have done so much better. The loss to Stoke at home hasn’t helped us show our true title credentials. However I believe a point at Arsenal could well prove to be a very good one, as you never know which Arsenal side is going to come out. So far gaining 5 points from a possible 9 against the top four teams from last year I believe is a good return.
Keeping Aguero Fit Crucial
For City to reclaim the title this year, keeping Sergio Aguero fit is crucial. So far Aguero has scored 5 goals in 6 games and gives the City team pace, aggression, determination and gives the whole team a belief that he will score in every game. He has played fairly well so far and if he manages to rekindle the form that previously fired City to two Premier League Titles, scoring over 20 goals they have a great chance of lifting the Premier League trophy once again. As we know it’s not just about keeping Aguero fit, City need their star players and spine to remain fit and at the top of their games.
Joe Hart should be Undisputed Number 1.
Hart’s performances so far have been inconsistent; he was absolutely outstanding in the Bayern Munich game making a string of superb saves. Does the possibility of being dropped once again play on his mind? It happened to him last season when Pantillimon stepped up to the plate, does it unsettle him knowing that one off performance and Caballero could well replace him. Hart should be the number 1 keeper, week in week out and occasionally play Caballero in the Capital One Cup and the odd F.A Cup game. No disrespect to both competitions but that’s when Pellegrini should be looking to rotate his side. Pellegrini needs to believe in Hart and instill a confidence in the England Number 1.
Yaya Toure’s Inconsistency
Yaya was a major part of the spine, but since his ‘Birthday’ incident the great man seems to have lost his way. As a City fan it’s painful to watch, going from one of his best seasons in his career to downright shambles! I have yet to see one of his infamous bursting runs from deep and he just looks absolutely shattered. I think we should drop him for a game to make him realise that he doesn’t deserve a first team spot, but does Pellegrini have the bottle to drop him? We can handle a game without him replace him with Lampard and have Fernando and Fernandinho playing the anchor role. Let him wake up and smell the roses! Has the World Cup played a part on playing too much football? Has his age caught up with him? Or is he just not happy at the club anymore? Time will tell, but as he showed v Aston Villa he still has the ability to win matches by himself.
James Milner Unsung Hero
James Milner has caught my eye this season and I’m sure yours too! Showing fantastic work rate as usual, has a really good engine and has had 2 assists so far this season and a feeling of more to come from him. Normally a centre midfield player but since he signed for City, his majority of play has been on the wings, mostly the right hand side. When Jesus Navas joined I thought that would be the end for Milner, but Milner this season has kept him out of the team sheet and pulled off a string of terrific performances. Saying this he has been linked with Napoli and Roma who are apparently ‘Interested’ I think see how this season goes for him and consider selling him as he’s pushing 29 in January and yet to sign a new contract with the club. City have also been rumoured with a host of young talents including Ross Barkley and Paul Pogba also the highly rated Marco Reus has been tipped to move to the Ethiad according to various reports. Looking back at the game against Aston Villa our starting line-up had the average age of 27, it shows we are no spring chickens anymore so, will we get more youngsters coming through as we still have to comply with financial fair play rules.
New Signings have made Positive Impact
Our transfers so far this season, Frank Lampard has made his mark scoring against his former club which was written in the stars. I believe he needs more game time and I think his body can still handle it, such a good player to have in the dressing room and a good mentor for the youngsters coming through. Lampard has also won the fans player of the month for September. Fernando has some similarities to Nigel De Jong, De Jong was a massive loss to us as there wasn’t much protection in front of the back four in the season we tried to retain the title. Fernando is a no nonsense defensive midfielder who takes no prisoners which is what we needed, yes Fernandinho is a good player but doesn’t give that aggression and fear factor that Fernando provides. Mangala had a great debut against Chelsea showing his tackling, strength and aerial ability, he is going to be a quality signing for us and has a great future ahead of him, but why didn’t he featured at the start of the season? Didn’t have the greatest game against Hull but that just shows lack of experience. He’s a young talent and with arguably the world’s best centre back next to him in Vincent Kompany, his game is only going to elevate in a positive manner. I expect big things from this young promising French talent. In regards to Bacary Sagna I still don’t understand why we brought him in, maybe sending a message to Micah Richards that he was free to leave. I’m still yet to see a good performance from Sagna and he is no way near on the level as Pablo Zabaleta, he needs to step his game up in order to feature more regularly.
Champions League Problems Once Again
The Champions League is back in a couple of weeks and yes I do believe yet again we have been dealt the group of death, lady luck isn’t on our side when it comes to Europe. However there is no when we played Bayern as they were missing some crucial first team members such as Javi Martinez, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Frank Ribery. They also didn’t have a fully fit Arjen Robben, but as soon as he was introduced there was belief in the Munich side and the City team started to crumble as a result. We should have capitalized on this and we should have at least earned a point at the Allianz Arena. The same could be said about the Roma game, after such a fantastic start, with a penalty being awarded with only a couple of minutes gone and to go one up. We didn’t go on and punish as we normally do against Premier League opposition, we sat back and let them play which cost us. They were also missing two big name players, Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman, there midfield spine was missing. We aren’t being aggressive enough and we need to attack from the off and keep pressing. When it comes to the European games we just aren’t the same team some big name players just don’t perform and often go missing. For us to qualify now, it is pivotal beating CSKA both times. A win at Roma is probably going to be necessary and a point at home against Bayern could well be required. We should have had at least 4 points from 6 in the group so far, but not to be.
Overall I’m happy with the way things are going in The Premier League but our Champions League performances need to step up once again. I believe we can retain the title this season; Chelsea will have a blip as every team does and I just hope we will capitalize when the opportunity presents itself. For the Champions League if we qualify for the knock-out stages I believe we can get as far as the semis and getting through this group will give the team a boost and belief.