Next in the series of fans looking at their side’s prospects in this season’s EPL, it’s Alistair Banks previewing Manchester City in the post Mancini era
The flowing rhythm of ‘Mancini wooaaaaoh, Mancini woooaoh, he came from Italy, to manage Man City’, has long since died out and a new managerial era begins yet again for Manchester City. City fans are still bickering about whether Mancini should have been sacked. Some feel he’d done all he could and his blunt man-management style had worn thin. To others he was a hero who brought City their first trophy in 34 years, and their first League title in 44. In the end his abysmal Champions league record was probably the main reason he’s now on holiday rather than preparing for another season in England.
His replacement Manuel Pellegrini, has a reputation as an overachiever, managing Villareal, and more recently Malaga to high finishes in the Spanish League, and semi and quarter final appearances respectively in the UCL.Now Pellegrini has strong financial resources at his disposal, and is looking to introduce a more attacking brand of football to the Etihad. He has already overseen the purchasing of an exciting group of attacking players in Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic, Fernandinho and Alvaro Negredo. Fernandinho has already shown in preseason he will be a strong partner for Yaya Toure in the midfield. Navas adds speed and width to City’s game, while Jovetic looks an exciting playmaker. Negredo is a strong striker who should be suited to the Premier League. It all adds up to City not wanting for goals like last season, when their lack of width and variation in attack led to a 2nd place finish, well behind arch-rivals United.
Of more concern is City’s backline. Last year’s defensive find Matija Nastasic is out for 6 weeks with an ankle injury, and Joleon Lecott has looked slow and cumbersome playing City’s new high line in defense. City have shipped 8 goals in their last three preseason games vs AC Milan, Bayern Munich and Arsenal. This City fan hopes these figures lead to this new defensive setup disappearing as quickly as it has arrived.
The league title may be a stretch too far this year, with Chelsea being the favourite in my eyes. City’s preseason form won’t frighten anyone. Their chances of winning back the league title depend on how quickly Pellegrini can get his team humming to start the season, and whether the league’s best defence can reproduce the solidity of the last two years. Anything less than the title will be considered a failure of sorts, with Pellegrini set the daunting task of five trophies in five years. This City fan can’t wait to see how it all unfolds.
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