With phase one complete Manchester City won't be content with a top four placing this year. An exciting season beckons, starting with another encounter with their quieter neighbours at Wembley this weekend...
Pre season: Good, bad or ugly?
Mostly astonishingly good. Highlight of course is the signing and accompanying enthusiasm of Sergio Aguero, who looks ready made to more than fill the boots of fussy eater Tevez. And the signings of Gael Clichy and Stefan Savic have been shrewdly negotiated at 13 million for the pair. But a Gallic cloud of ugliness has been wafted over the Etihad stadium by a certain Arsene Wenger, who is obsessed with City’s sponsorship ties and how they fit with UEFA’s new restrictions. There’s also the small matter of Nasri being linked with a move to the Blues. C’est la vie, Arsene. On the pitch – a 100% record in America followed by a 3-0 win over Inter Milan makes the picture extremely rosy. Dodgy Balotelli backheels aside, that is.
Hopes for the season:
To be in real contention for the title come March. And a proper run in the Champions League would be amazing. Let’s face it, we’re going to get all giddy just hearing the theme music playing over the speaker system – the Chaaaarrrmpiaaarrnnnnns. Plus more high-stakes derby victories too, starting with the Community Shield on Sunday. Those Reds fear us now. Bring. It. On.
Fears for the season:
We do a Spurs and compromise our league position in pursuit of Champions League glory. Nigel De Jong becomes disaffected over his ongoing wage dispute and decides to leave the club. Balotelli gets thrown in prison for dangerous driving. We lose the opening match against Swansea and Mancini gets fired. Aguero decides he doesn’t like Manchester due to the lack of choice at the Arndale Centre Food Court and hands in a transfer request by October. The club’s Etihad deal is deemed illegal by UEFA and City are relegated to League 1. We may be a very different club than we used to be, but that doesn’t mean things can’t go belly up in the most ridiculous manner possible.
Absolute bare minimum you’ll accept
More silverware. After 35 years without any, we’ve now remembered what it tastes like. And we’re hungry for more.
Fixture you’re most looking forward to?
United at Old Trafford. An opportunity to give the Reds some humiliation on their own turf.
Throughout the recent US tour, City players spent much of their free time engaging in the craze of “planking.”
Got the right manager?
Mancini likes to build his teams in his own mould - stylish, no nonsense, intelligent. The gorgeousness of City’s football was only evident in patches last season, but the team’s strength demonstrates Mancini’s understanding of what it takes to win. Absolutely, unquestionably yes.
By Christmas you’ll be…
Top of the league. But only on goal difference.
Player you’d most like to sign?
We can still be flimsy in the centre of the park if De Jong is rested or injured, so cover for him in the shape of a veteran-warrior-but-still-bloody-good type would come in handy. Gennaro Gattuso would do just nicely.
Which player should we look out for?
If he avoids injury, this season will belong to David Silva. Arguably the most technically gifted player in the Premiership, he leaves City fans drooling into their pies. It will also be interesting to see if genial wing wonder Vladimir Weiss can force himself into the first team after a year at Rangers.
Which player would you love to ditch?
Regrettably Aleksandr Kolarov has failed to prove himself capable of defending. For a defender, that’s not good. He looks good on youtube, though.
Opposition hate figure?
David Moyes. He’s got a real issue with our club and Mancini, particularly after a weak post-match handshake last season. Worst of all, though, is that Everton keep beating us.
Tell us something we don’t know about your club?
City are the only team to both score and concede over 100 goals in one season (1957-58)
What won’t happen this season? No other team will have their own jumbo jet.
(to the tune of “No Limit”) Toure. Yaya Toure. Toure Yaya. Yaya Yaya Toure. etc
Where will you finish?
It promises to be another great season, I think we’ll fall just shy of 1st place.
Any other news?
Throughout the recent US tour, City players spent much of their free time engaging in the craze of “planking.” That’s going to sleep in unusual positions. Shaun Wright-Phillips came up with the most impressive plank by hanging himself by his feet upside down on a door, and having a kip.
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