Keeping Sergio Aguero fit is crucial if Manchester City want to retain the title this season. So far, Aguero has scored five goals in six 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 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’s performances so far have been inconsistent, although 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 he stepped up to the plate. Does it unsettle him knowing that one off performance and Willy Caballero could replace him? Hart should be the number one keeper, allowing Caballero action in the Capital One Cup and the odd FA Cup game. No disrespect to both competitions, but that is when Manuel Pellegrini should be looking to rotate his side. Pellegrini needs to believe in Hart and instil a confidence in the England No1.
Yaya Toure was a major part of City’s title-winning spine, but since his birthday incident, the great man seems to have lost his way. As a City fan, it is 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. We should drop him for a game to make him realise that he doesn’t automatically deserve a first-team spot, but does Pellegrini have the bottle to drop him? We can handle a game without him, play Frank 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 any more? Time will tell, but as he showed against Aston Villa, he still has the ability to win matches by himself.
James Milner has caught my eye this season and I’m sure yours, too! Showing fantastic work-rate as usual, Milner has a really good engine and has made two assists so far this season – and there is 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, it seemed to spell the end for Milner, but this season, he has kept the Spaniard out of the team and pulled off a string of terrific performances. Saying that, he has been linked with Napoli and Roma who are apparently interested. I think see how this season goes and consider selling him as he is pushing 29 in January and yet to sign a new contract with the club. City have also been rumoured to be weighing up a move for a host of young talents, including Ross Barkley and Paul Pogba as well as Marco Reus. 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 any more so.
Our transfers have made an impact so far this season. Lampard has made his mark, scoring against his former club which was written in the stars. He needs more game time and I think his body can handle it. He is 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. Eliaquim 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-half 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. I still don’t understand why we singed Bacary Sagna, 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.
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 Franck 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 inside a couple of minutes, 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. 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 four points from six in the group so far, but not to be.
Read more from Tom and Dan on their blog.
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