Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Match Reflection: City 5 - 3 AC Milan

City triumph in Audi Cup semi final

By Aaron Leggott

A frantic first half which saw all eight goals scored was the decisive factor in this entertaining friendly at a humid Allianz Arena. 

City were looking in devastating form and gave themselves a five goal lead after 35 minutes, before the Rossoneri replied with three goals of their own within seven minutes.

Manuel Pellegrini named a strong eleven with the Blues lining up with just over two weeks to go until they kick off their Premier League season, and made an immediate start after David Silva tapped home from close range past Marco Amelia in the Milan goal.

Debut: Stevan Jovetic made an impressive debut for City vs AC Milan
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

In truth, Milan named a much weaker team than City, namely down to them being in the early stages of their pre-season - but the defending on show was similar to that of a park team, rather than a Champions League outfit.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

PRE-SEASON: Audi Cup 2013

Part three of in-depth look at City pre-season schedule

By Aaron Leggott

After their victory in the Barclays Asia Trophy last weekend, the Blues will be looking to go out and win their second piece of pre-season silverware in Munich over Wednesday and Thursday.

The Audi Cup, which takes place over the two days at the Allianz Arena, home of European Champions Bayern Munich, will see City come up against AC Milan,  São Paulo and of course Bayern Munich. 

It is City's and São Paulo's  first appearances in one of the biggest pre-season competition's in Europe, whilst Bayern and Milan have contested every Audi Cup to date.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

The competition takes the format of a knockout competition. The winners of the two semi-finals on Wednesday compete for the Audi Cup, whilst the losers face off for third place. 

City have been drawn to play AC Milan in the first semi-final, with the main story being the reunion of Nigel de Jong and Mario Balotelli to their former club. 

And with Bayern Munich taking on São Paulo in the other semi-final, it is expected that City fans will be hoping to see the team tested against the pinnacle of European football on Thursday. 

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Match Reflection: City 1 - 0 Sunderland

Dzeko goal secures the Barclays Asia Trophy for City

By Aaron Leggott

Despite the awful condition of the pitch at the Hong Kong Stadium, Edin Dzeko managed to score a magnificent goal to deliver the Barclays Asia Trophy to City - and hopefully the first of many this season.

In the grand scheme of things, the trophy is rather meaningless, with the main aim during pre-season to improve match fitness. But, Dzeko's sweet volley from 20 yards was an indication to Manuel Pellegrini that he will have a few sleepless nights when picking his first XI in three weeks time.

Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

Dzeko was named as the Player of the Tournament thanks to his performances as the Bosnian grabbed two goals in as many games and really should have had one more but for an awful penalty miss on the hour mark.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Match Reflection: City 1 - 0 South China

Dzeko heads home in Hong Kong

By Adam Bailey

With agony in Africa behind them, Pellegrini’s men cruised to a routine victory in Hong Kong thanks to an Edin Dzeko header on 21 minutes.

The match was cut short by ten minutes due the horrific state of the pitch which had been mauled by the horrendous weather and the boots of Premier League rivals Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland.

The game was characterised early on by the outstanding tenacity and creativity of James Milner down the right flank. If City were going to score, Milner was almost certainly going to be the producer and his floated cross midway through the first half was headed in by Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko.

Edin Dzeko in action today in Hong Kong
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

The Englishman was doing a fine job of staking his claim to start in Manuel Pellegrini’s star studded XI next season and although the City faithful will have been disappointed not to see new signings Stevan Jovetic and Jesus Navas even make the bench, they certainly will have been excited by Milner’s early play.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

PRE-SEASON: Barclays Asia Trophy 2013

Second part of an in depth look at City's pre-season schedule

By Aaron Leggott

After defeats to SuperSport United and AmaZulu in the Blues' pre-season tour of South Africa, Manuel Pellegrini has led his team to the Far East to partake in the Barclays Asia Trophy over Wednesday and Saturday. 

With it being the only Premier League affiliated competition outside of England, it is a great chance for Pellegrini to test his team against two Premier League competitors as Tottenham and Sunderland also make the trip to Hong Kong. 

The knock-out competition will take place over two matchdays, with South China completing the list after being crowned the 2012/13 Champions of the Hong Kong First Division League. 

All four games will be held in the 40,000 capacity Hong Kong Stadium, with the Blues facing South China in the semi-final tomorrow afternoon (1.30pm BST). 

Monday, 22 July 2013

A lesson learnt from last season's misfortunes?

By Alex Mason

Manchester City have certainly learnt their lesson from last years transfer catastrophe, that evidently cost them the Premier League title.

Last summer City signed five players on transfer deadline day, with former City manager Roberto Mancini admitting he only signed one of his transfer targets, Matija Nastasić. It was a transfer window that saw City lose out on Eden Hazard, Daniele De Rossi, Javi Martínez and of course Robin van Persie.

So it's safe to say that after winning the Premier League title in 2012, City's transfer strategy was ineffective in the close season.

Pellegrini's transfer strategy has been a stark difference compared to last season's.
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
However, this summer has been a lot different. City have definitely pushed up a few gears by signing Brazilian midfielder Fernandinho, speedy Spanish winger Jesús Navas, Spanish forward Álvaro Negredo, who I might add finished Europe's seventh top goalscorer last season and Montenegrin striker Stevan Jovetić, a player who shipped in 13 goals in 25 appearances for his former club Fiorentina.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Profile: Stevan Jovetić

Montenegrin becomes fourth signing of Pellegrini era

By Aaron Leggott

It was a great end to the week for all involved with Manchester City after both Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetić made the switch from their respective clubs towards the Etihad Stadium today. 

Jovetic poses with his new shirt
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook
Jovetić becomes the second Montenegrin to play for Manchester City after Stefan Savić and the 23 year old will be hoping to make a greater impression than his fellow countryman. 

Below are some basic stats which help delve into the persona of Stevan Jovetić:

Name: Stevan Jovetić 

Age: 23

Position: Striker

Club Appearances: 167

Club Goals: 48

Match Reflection: AmaZulu 2 - 1 Manchester City

City sunk by late penalty

By Aaron Leggott

City endured their second successive defeat of pre-season after AmaZulu converted a late penalty to beat the 2011-12 Premier League Champions.

The hosts initially took the lead through Bongani Ndulula before City hit back thanks to James Milner just six minutes later.

Micah Richards and James Milner celebrate the equaliser
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

The first meaningful chance of the game fell to French playmaker Samir Nasri on eight minutes, after his free kick forced a great save out of Tapuwa Kapini in the AmaZulu goal.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Profile: Álvaro Negredo

Spanish forward follows Navas to the Etihad Stadium

By Aaron Leggott

Manuel Pellegrini is quietly overseeing the beginning of a new and exciting era at Manchester City. Following the purchase of midfielders Fernandinho and Jesus Navas, the Chilean has  finalised the transfer of Álvaro Negredo from Sevilla for around £20 million pending a successful medical.
Photo: Official Sevilla Facebook

The 27 year old, who was Europe's seventh top scorer last season, has been seen by many to be a steal at just £20 million. 

So what can he bring to the Blues? Here's a quick lowdown on the man who has spent the last four years at Los Rojiblancos:

Name: Álvaro Negredo

Age: 27

Position: Striker

Club appearances (Sevilla): 139

Club goals (Sevilla): 70

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Match Reflection: SuperSport United 2 - 0 Manchester City

City lose first pre-season game under Pellegrini

By Aaron Leggott

Manuel Pellegrini saw his new City side lose to SuperSport United by two goals in the first pre-season game of the 2013/14 season. 

And despite City showing their dominance in the first half, they were unable to exert their dominance in the second period after Mame Niang and Kermit Erasmus scored in the 56th and 81st minutes respectively.

Scott Sinclair in action
Photo: Official MCFC Facebook

City, as expected, made the stronger start to the game and lone striker Edin Dzeko produced two efforts on target within the opening stages.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

PRE-SEASON: Nelson Mandela Football Invitational

Where are the Blues heading? First part of an in depth look at City's pre season schedule

By Aaron Leggott

Modern day footballers are getting used to having to travel around the globe during pre season nowadays - it's a hard life isn't it?

But as demand for extra revenue and sponsorship increases, the hierarchy at Manchester City know that these trips are a must if they want to attract and generate extra income.

The first trip sees the Blues stop in South Africa to partake in the Nelson Mandela Football Invitational.

Manuel Pellegrini's men will come up against two of the countries top teams, with the first fixture against SuperSport United on Sunday, July 14. 

The game is being held in Pretoria at the Loftus Verseld Stadium at 2pm - a ground capable of holding over 50,000 spectators. 

Pellegrini speaks to the media

Gaffer 'not concerned' about title pressure

By Aaron Leggott

After speaking to the English media for the first time, new boss Manuel Pellegrini has insisted he feels no pressure to win the Premier League with the Blues.

But whilst he is confident in his ability, the Chilean knows that immediate success is the aim, whilst also producing an academy capable of rivaling that of FC Barcelona.

Official MCFC Facebook

He said: "I'm not only here to win trophies, I'm here to work with young players.

"As a coach, we want immediate success. I'm trying to have a strong squad that can bring us trophies."