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Manchester is blue. At the latest since the impressive victory against the nemesis from The Theater of Dreams, ManCity rules not only Manchester but also the Premier League. They haven’t lost any match in the league, 9 wins and 1 draw have put them on top of the table. An incredible goal difference of 36:8, every home match won and 4 wins and 1 draw on the road have cemented the Citizens’ status as favorite for the title.
In the Champions League, though, MCFC isn’t as successful as in the Premier League. They’re third of their group (A), have drawn, lost and won one game each. Bayern was too strong for Mancini’s team, Naples couldn’t be defeated but finally, against Villareal, Agüero brought his new club the first win ever in the Champions League. Unlike in England, the Sky Blues have struggled in Europe.
Is it because of the lack of experience? Can’t they handle the pressure in the Champions League? What do we exactly have to expect from ManCity in this season?
Mancini has achieved something that not many people have given him credit for: the Italian has formed a real team out of his 433,5 million Euro expensive squad. Somehow he has managed to build up a serene team without jealousy. People were thinking a pretty well-payed squad, such as the Citizens’ one, wouldn’t be very ambitious because they already get enough money without the premiums for e.g. winning the games. But Mancini and his players have proved everybody wrong and they’re playing amazing football, especially against the big opponents.
They made history with their six goals in Old Trafford and showed ManUtd up. Sir Alex had never conceded six goals in his career before that match and left the pitch all pale and shocked.
Even though ManCity lost 0:2 against Bayern Munich, they did play very well against them in the first thirty minutes. No other team has defended that highly against the Bavarians so far and Bayern did struggle because of that. ManCity’s pressing was almost perfect but after half an hour they weren’t that concentrated anymore and Bayern scored cold as ice.
But these two games should have shown to the rest of Europe how strong the Sky Blues actually are! They’re offense is surely among the very best in the world. Dzeko, Agüero, Silva and Nasri have been pretty expensive but score and give assists as the whim takes them. Dzeko has scored 12 times and given 3 assists in 13 matches so far, Agüero has scored 10 goals and given 3 assists as well. David Silva has scored 3 times and given 8 assists in 14 matches. Nasri, the 28 million Euro expensive French man has netted twice and assisted 6 times in 12 matches. These four players have contributed a lot to the Citizens’ enormous success so far.
Whereas the offense undoubtedly merits the Champions League trophy, the defense isn’t the strongest one for sure. Their defenders don’t seem to be experienced enough or they just don’t have the brass neck in the Champions League. They have already conceded 4 goals in 3 Champions League matches and in the Premier League they have only played against one of the other three clubs of the Big Four so far (ManUtd). More difficult teams such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are still to be played.
But I do think that Mancini can handle this as well. He’s an Italian manager, his fellow countrymen have invented the Catenaccio and Mancini has played pretty defensively in Milan at Inter. If Mancini will really improve the defensive stability of his team, what I do expect him to achieve, Manchester City can play an important role in Europe in 2011/2012 and win against any opponent. I think that it’ll be easier for them in the Premier League because there is barely a team with as amazing and world class players as the Sky Blues.
The only thing that could hinder the team from that are the fans. They expect their players to win everything and won’t forgive them an untitled season. They see the famous players on the pitch, hear about the huge amounts of money spent on them and they expect them to play even better, to score even more goals and just to be the best in the world, no matter how long the players have already been playing together. And the better the team plays, the more the expectations of the fans are growing.
Furthermore their Sheikh also wants to see trophies because the Citizens aren’t just a club for him, they are also sort of a publicity for him. If they don’t win trophies, it looks like the Sheikh hadn’t much success and he can’t allow that.
This double pressure could be a serious obstacle for the players in this season and again Mancini is in demand to avoid this by talking a lot to his players.
Despite this pressure and the problems in the defense I expect ManCity to win the championship and to be knocked out only in the semi-final of the Champions League. Mancini is a world class manager with world class players and nobody should underestimate them!
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