July 2011 notes
Were these the last views we would have of Carlos Tevez who once again has asked to leave in order to spend more time with his family? Only time would tell as City were asking for £50 million and there are few clubs able to afford him.
The only two transfers that have gone through so far are those of Stefan Savic from Partizan Belgrade and Gael Clichy from Arsenal. Savic is a 6ft 1inch 20 year old defender.with 6 full caps for Montenegro. He played 20 times last season for Partizan and 27 appearances for BSK Borca the previous season.
Clichy who is a left back played 187 times for Arsenal with one goal to his credit. He has 10 French caps and he cost City about 7 million on a four year deal. He will probably be first choice left back in the coming season.
There is a lot of talk about Samri Nasri also coming from Arsenal and also possible replacements for Carlos Tevez in the shape of Argentine Aguero from Atletico Madrid and Samuel Eto'o from Inter . We wait with baited breath!
Main news in July was the renaming of the City of Manchester Stadium (COMS) or Eastlands as many called it to the Etihad Stadium. There was the small matter of the few hundred million pounds sponsorship by the airline that also came into the equation and there are the Financial Fair Play rules to consider too.
Tevez leads the team out in the last game of 2010-2011
Tevez waves to the crowd as he leaves the pitch subbed in the last minutes
Clichy defending against City last season
Looks like Carlos Tevez will be departing for Brazil as his old club Corinthians have put in a bid for about 40 million pounds. The Brazilian club have come in for a few bob via sponsorship and TV rights so maybe the deal will go through as City would prefer his destination not to be a possible rival. His likely successor Sergio Aguero scored twice as Argentine beat Costa Rica 3-0 in the Copa America to reach the quarter finals. Tevez was on the bench for this game.
Whilst the future of Tevez still hangs in the air with now Milan the possible destination as Corinthians dropped out of the chase, one certain transfer is that of Sergio (Kun) Aguero who has now arrived at Etihad for a mere 35 million or so. This is now a record buy for City, the previous one being 32.5 million for Robinho - remember him!
Sergio Aguero is 23 years old and is 5ft 71/2 in tall. He scored 23 goals in 54 games for Independente between 2003-2006 and 74 goals from 175 games for Athletico Madrid. He has scored 13 goals for Argentina in 30 games and last season he netted 20 goals in 32 games - a similar tally to Tevez. He had slightly less assists than Tevez but more shots on goal. Only 4 players ( Messi, Villa, Forlan and Kanoute) have scored more goals in the Spanish league since he arrived in Madrid.
He was the youngest player to play in the Argentine Primera Division making his debut at the age of 15 years 35 days -breaking the record held by Maradona who incidentally is his father in law so it is quite possible we may see Diego sitting in the stand at Etihad one day.
With his low centre of gravity, speed and work rate he will be perfect for the Premier league and soon will be a hit with City fans.
City were well represented at the RHS Flower Show at Tatton the other day. Blue Moon, a garden designed by Heather Battisson-Howard won a bronze medal. Below are a few pictures of the garden.
Other clubs represented at the show were Liverpool, Blackpool, and United.
The open training session at the Etihad Stadium attracted several thousand supporters. Like last year it was very quiet at the front entrance and we did not see any of the players until they came out of the field for the training session. With the season almost upon us unlike last season this was a proper session without any of the fun games. There was no sign of Tevez - excused until Monday and it was very disappointing that new signing Kun Aguero was absent too - apparently ill with stomach trouble. I am sure this will lessen his chances of making an appearance at Wembley on Sunday. I would think Dzeko and Balotelli will start on Sunday. Dzeko looked a new player against Inter Milan so deserves a chance.
One youngster looks like getting a TV close-up
Looks like a spot of finger problem for this youngster
Mike Summerbee was very patient with a long queue of supporters wanting his autograph
One of the free stylers demonstrating his skill
The session began with warming up exercises
As the players went through their routines manager Roberto Mancini looks as though he is picking the side for Sunday!!
Roberto joins in to show off his skills
New signing Stefan Savic on the ball
Silva showed lots of his ability during the session
Mario marked by Nigel behaved himself throughout
The coaches watch the technique of Nigel de Jong
Good to see Vladdy Weiss back with the squad
The lads applaud the supporters as they finish the training session
Joe Hart showed good form in the goal keeping training sessions
City have made a surprise signing - a new keeper - Costel Pantilimon from FC Timisoara who had a good game against City in the Europa Cup. Above are a couple of pics of him in action. He is 24 and is 6ft 8 in tall - wow- taller than Crouch. He's played 13 times for Rumania and will be the cover for Joe Hart now that Given has departed.
Roy pictured on the left of the image taken at the final game at Maine Road in 2003 was actually born in Newport in 1925 and was signed from Cardiff City. He played 370 league and cup games for City scoring 79 goals and played on the left wing.
Debuts to be remembered
The amazing debut of Sergio 'Kun' Aguero against Swansea City
the other day made me think of others who have done City proud in their first game.
The first one that came to mind was that of Roy Clarke who made his debut on the very last game of season 1946-47. City beat Newport County 5-1 that day George Smith scoring all five goals. It was also noticeable for being the latest date to finish - June 14th. The team that day was
Swift, Sproston, Barkas: Fagan, McDowell, Walsh: Dunkley, Herd, Black, Smith and Clarke
Roffi scored for Newport.
Another outstanding debut I remember was that of Ali Benarbia. This was in September 2001 against Birmingham. City won 3 nil
City scorers were Goater 2 and Dunne but man of the match was the incredible Ali Benarbia who made two of the goals and his accurate passing and ability to read the game really shone.
Dickson Etuhu also made his debut that game.
The City team was Weaver, Edghill, Granville, Dunne, Howey, Pearce, Benarbia, Etuhu, Wanchope, Goater, Tiatto
Another debut remembered was that of Georgi Kinkladze in August 1995 when City drew with Spurs one each in the opening day of the season. He had an exciting style of play that City supporters always enjoyed. He scored 22 goals in his 120 games for City. The City side that day was
Immel, Edghill, Phelan, Lomas. Symons, Brightwell, Summerbee, Walsh, Rosler, Flitcroft Kinkladze,
Aguero's debut lasted just 31 minutes and in that time he showed his ability to work hard for the team - ability to get into position to score goals from near goal and finally the ability to hit a swerving ball from 30 yards to score. We are told he is not quite fit yet! He is fitting in so well so quickly I can't wait until he is really fit!
The nearest debut to Aguero's was in August 2000 when Paulo Wanchope netted a hat trick in a 4-2 win over Sunderland. New boy Wanchope signed from West Ham United played a major part in a great attacking display of football.
He played 64 games for City scoring 27 times.
The City team that day was
Weaver, Edghill Tiatto, Prior, Howey, Horlock, Wiekens, Haaland, Wanchope, Weah, Kennedy
over on the right is Wanchope celebrating in front of the old Kippax after one of his goals against Sunderland
It now looks as though the Nasri transfer from Arsenal will be going through very shortly so the team is now going to be very hard to pick, especially as Tevez is now likely to stay for a few months at least. Roberto Mancini must have noticed the form of Dzeko so who is going to be on the bench? My guess is for Balotelli, Johnson, Milner, Kolarov, Savic. and perhaps Barry to feature there. I think we are likely to see a more attacking eleven at home and I hope Will Kolo Toure regain his place when he gets back to full fitness after his suspension?
At last Nasrigate is sorted and Samir is due to make his debut at Spurs shortly. Samir Nasri a 24 year old attacking midfielder has signed for City with the fee being about 25 million pounds. He will add a lot of creativity and goal scoring ability to the ever improving City. He played for Marseille 121 times scoring 11 and for Arsenal he played 86 games scoring 18. He also has made 23 appearances for France scoring twice.
After such a good attacking display against Bolton in the 3-2 win it is going to be difficult for Mancini to select his team for Spurs. Against Bolton Dzeko again showed his improved form - is he a clone I wonder? - and once more notched a good goal. Silva was terrific and we had the return of Carlos Tevez who looks like staying now. Aguero missed a couple of chances before being subbed and another player to shine was Milner. However he is likely to be on the bench with Nasri taking his place on Sunday.
So now we know who we are playing in the Champions League Group. Naples, Villareal and Bayern Munich. Not the easiest of groups but at least we avoided Barcelona.
Adebayor has departed for Spurs on loan - not too many regrets there!
The display against Spurs was amazing. The attacking was wonderful to watch and the debut of Nasri could not have been better. To cap everything Dzeko scored four tremendous goals that showed that the new Edin had come of age and his form of last season was gone. To have won 5-1 with both Tevez and Balotelli sat on the bench was amazing. Dzeko showed brilliant close control, speed when necessary and he actually defended occasionally too. His holding of the ball and linking with both Nasri and Aguero was first rate. Barry had an good game too.
I liked the way Silva and Nasri interchanged positions to confuse defenders and when we defended corners instead of having all eleven in the box we kept players up field and in addition when we took corners we were much more creative than usual. It was great to watch and more importantly it lead to chances that were well taken. It was such a change from that backs-to-the-wall game at Spurs last season.
The transfer window has now closed and a clever but surprising addition to the squad was the signing of Owen Hargreaves who did not cost us a fee as he was given a free from United after his injury prone seasons there. Obviously he has to prove he is now back to full match fitness but he will be a useful deputy for De Jong in front of the back four..
Wright-Phillips has left the club for Queens Park Rangers and Bellamy has gone to Liverpool. Also departing were Santa Cruz, Adebayor and Weiss - all on loan. Also going on loan were Guidetti ( Feyenoord) McGivern ( Bristol City) and Behail (Rochdale).
Looks like Tevez will be with us for a while and no news of Bridge or Onuoha.
So how many shall we score today!
Dzeko's amazing reverse header
Dzeko celebrates his fourth and City's fifth goal against Spurs
Dzeko fires in from close range for his hat-trick
Now available from Amazon ( click on image for link)
WH Smith and the City shop
Looks like the door is finally closing on Tevez's time at City. The result of the Tevezgate affair was a four week fine and he was also suspended for two weeks but that has already been served.
With City now ahead in the Premier League with quite a few goals under their belt there cannot be many City supporters hoping he will stay. There have been conflicting reports in the press as to whether he refused to warm-up or go on as sub.
As we all now this is not the first time Tevez has caused problems in the ranks and I fully expect his departure come the January sales. The Munich affair has proved to be the final straw.
Now I understand the fine has been reduced to 2 weeks after the PFA got involved!
The quite amazing 6-1 win over United at Old Trafford will have a special place in the history of Manchester City. Ok so it was only three points and there is much to do before we get too carried away but it sent out a message to the football world that City have finally arrived. It was Mancini's 100th game as manager of City so it was special for him to have such a dramatic result. Long may he reign!
It was in 1926 when City last beat United 6-1 at Old Trafford and being typical City they reached the Cup Final (losing to Bolton) and were relegated!. When City won the First Division in 1968 I was at Old Trafford in March to see City win 3-1 with goals from Lee, Bell, and George Heslop. Best scored for United. The City side that day was Mulhearn, Book, Pardoe:Doyle, Heslop, Oakes: Lee, Bell, Summerbee, Young and Coleman.
So will City win the Premiership this season? The signs are there but it is early days and we still have to play Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool.
For me man of the match on Sunday was David Silva. His sublime pass to Dzeko for the final goal was a touch of real genius. His work rate wasn't too bad either as he helped in defence too. In work rate terms Milner was not too far behind either and now he is showing some excellent form. Other highlights were Balotelli's first goal as he passed it right into the corner of the goal and the general inter passing by City. Dzeko came on as a late sub and notched a couple and might have had two more.
Fullbacks Richards and Clichy did really well and the central defence left Hart with little to do. Barry and Yaya Toure ruled the midfield leaving the forwards to ruin riot
Balotelli opened the scoring with a precisely steered pass into the far corner
Evans pulled back Balotelli just outside the area and got a red card
Balotelli finished off a Silva Milner move from close range to make it two
Aguero finished off a cross by Richards for number three
Dzeko's knee next starred as it nudged home a pass from Lescott at a corner for number four
A pass from Dzeko gave Silva the chance to shoot under De Gea for number five
A wonder pass from Silva gave Dzeko the chance to crack the ball past de gea for number six -WOW
To quote Victor Meldrew - " I don't believe it!"
Above are a couple of images of Gary Speed playing for Newcastle United and Bolton against City in recent years. His recent death was a real shock as I had seen him the previous day on Football Focus. He played for Leeds United, Everton, Newcastle United, Bolton and Sheffield United playing in total 677 games and scoring 103 goals. He played 85 times for Wales and was the present Wales manager. He was appointed a MBE in 2010 for services to football and will be sadly missed.
The City aircraft at Kuala Lumpur airport
Well the January transfer slot has been and gone with not a lot happening as far as City are concerned. The only new face will be David Pizarro a 32 year old midfielder from Roma on loan. He comes from Chile and has played for their national side 36 times with 3 goals to his credit. Before Roma for whom he scored 14 goals in 142 games he played for Udinese ( 18 goals in 117 games). He has a similar build to a certain Ali Benarbia who lit up our midfield a few years ago. If he can show similar football nouse as Benarbia then he will be a useful addition to the squad especially in the absence of Yaya Toure away in Africa. How we have missed the Ivorian in these last few games.
At the departure gate were Bridge on loan to Sunderland and Onuoha who has been transferred to QPR. Sad to see Nedum go. I thought he would eventually become a regular in the first team defence.
It looks as though Tevezgate has returned with the possibility Tevez will return to the team. His name has been added to the Premier League squad following his failure to depart to distant shores. What kind of welcome he can expect from the Manager, players and supporters (and restaurants) will be very interesting. How fit he will be following his absence will be a factor also with his return. The suspension of Balotelli has left City with a problem up front and with no extra striker coming in during January we may actually need him to win the league!
David Pizarro making his debut against Fulham
This was not so easy as the score suggests. Porto played quite well but their finishing let them down and when they went down to ten men City finished them off with finesse. With Aguero scoring with a great finish within the first twenty seconds City's journey into the next round looked pretty secure. Porto did have a far amount of the play but Joe Hart only had one difficult save to make and in the second half when Aguero made a goal for Dzeko after 75 minutes Rolando got a second yellow for dissent We were then able to relax as further goals by Silva and Pizarro put the icing on the cake. Aguero was the star man today and although the Tevez situation looks as though it has been resolved following his apologies it will be difficult for Tevez to regain a regular place in the team when he gets fit.
Not many pics this time as I was stuck in a bad position having been moved from my good position on the third tier. So it was a bit annoying to see the third tier quite full after all!
City made one change from the side that won at Porto aguero was in for Balotelli
The City players celebrate Aguero goal in the first minute
An early effort by the visitors goes wide
Joe Hart dives but the free kick goes just wide
Porto players dispute a decision
the referee has to get the ball back from Rodriguez
The referee has to sort out another problem
Another free kick goes just wide
keeper Helton manages to clear a City corner
Looks like this Porto player has gone very pale!
At half time City lead one nil but he Porto fans made themselves heard
Treatment required for players on both sides
Despite the efforts of Porto City once again kept a clean sheet and now play Sporting Lisbon in the next round
With one of the most important derby games between City and United about to take place at the Etihad my mind went back to the last time won the league -back in 1968. At the end of March that season City went to Old Trafford and I saw a great 3-1 victory with goals from Lee, Bell and Heslop. George Best scored for United. City ended that season with the famous 4-3 victory at St James Park against Newcastle United to take the title.
City need to win this vital game and then they need wins over Newcastle and the final home game against QPR.
With City's superior goal difference
even if United win their last two games City will win the Premiership title as long as we win in this vital derby game. It will be some battle that's for sure. With the return of Tevez and his excellent linking with Aguero helping City to return to their pre-christmas form I am confident we can win and take the challenge to the final game of the season. I only hope we get some good refereeing as there have been some terrible errors by referees and linesmen in the Premiership in the last few weeks.
I was not able to get to the Albert Square celebrations on Monday ( working on the bumper web page) but a friend of mine Ashley has kindly sent me some images and here they are
The press and TV are here waiting for the players
Warren Clarke is about to make some arresting remarks!
Mike Summerbee and Tony Book have a few words for the crowd
Well the season is over and what a finale. For it to go to the final seconds of the final match was amazing. It was surely the most exciting end to a Premier League season let alone a City one. For diehard City supporters who have survived the tough times in Div 2 in the 80's it was a day to cherish. From agony to ecstasy in seconds. Simply staggering for all who watched on TV all over the world
When I did the calculations for the final marking of the players in the games I had seen this season there was little to choose between them. It was a team effort For the record the final count is below
Aguero ( 22 games ) 7.7
Richards (19) 7.34
Zabaleta (11) 7.3
Silva (24) 7.29
Yaya Toure (21) 7.23
Barry (20) 7.2
Nasri (18) 7.16
Clichy (18) 7.08
Kompany (21) 7.02
Hart (25) 7
Lescott (20) 7
Milner (11) 7
De Jong (14) 6.85
Johnson (18) 6.83
Kolo Toure (9) 6.8
Balotelli (18) 6.8
Tevez (7) 6.8
Kolarov (11) 6.68
Dzeko (15) 6.6
Savic (8) 6.2
Not much news yet on the transfer market as far as City are concerned. Plenty of rumours however with Robin van Persie who has been seen all over Alderley Edge, Wilmslow etc and even chatting to Glen Miller in a garage near Sale, the favourite to join the Champions at the Etihad. Lots of talk but no real action yet!
I have neglected the web site for a few weeks I am afraid as I have at last done somethimg about my large LP collection which will be going up for auction at Omega Auctions in Stockport in September. Listing them all took for ever.!