Fairly quiet on the transfer market with only Jack Rodwell arriving from Everton.
6ft 2" 21 year old Rodwell played 85 times for Everton scoring 4 goals as a defensive midfielder. He has played a couple of times for England and many times for the Under 21 side With injuries to Barry and Richards he will be a useful addition to City's midfield.
With Van Persie ending up at Old Trafford the pre- season form of Carlos Tevez has eased the situation up front. His pre-season linking with Aguero has looked very good and Tevez has looked much fitter. The pre season tactical line-up 3-5-2 has caused a lot of talk so we will wait with baited breath to see if we play three at the back in the opening game against Southampton.
Another important piece of news involves the hiring of ex Barcelona general manager Ferran Soriano as the new City chief executive.
I recently attended the launch of the new book by Garry James. It was held at the new National Football Museum in the Urbis building in Manchester.
There were quite a few people attending and you will recognize some of the faces below
It was my first visit to the museum and it is definitely worth a visit. There is no entry fee.
The transfer window is coming to its end with a bit of a burst of action by City. Already we have seen Adam Johnson depart for Sunderland and Nigel de Jong move to AC Milan so on the plus side the surprise move was the signing of a third keeper - Richard Wright who mainly played for Ipswich, Everton and Arsenal .He is 34 and had a couple of games for England in 2000.
The Scott Sinclair saga looks like coming to a conclusion with the Swansea winger finally ending up at City after terms were agreed between the two clubs and Sinclair passed his medical. He is 22 and scored 28 goals in his 82 games for Swansea. He represented team GB in the recent Olympics
Other moves that are likely include Javi Garcia from Benfica. He is a 25 year old defensive midfielder and would replace de Jong's role. Over 6ft in height he can also play as a central defender which would be useful. He scored 6 goals for Benfica in 73 games. He has one Spanish cap to his credit.
Another interesting move is that of Inter right wing back Maicon who has 66 Brazilian caps to his name. He is 6ft and takes a pretty good free kick. However he is 31 but has lots of experience so Zabaleta and Richards will have a bit of competition.
Providing a permit can be sorted out Fiorentina defender Matija Nastasic will also arrive at City with Savic heading the other way. Nastasic is only 19 and the 6ft 2" defender is already a Serbian International.
No doubt we will all be waiting with baited breathe until the final moments of the transfer window.
Well all the above transfers went through without a hitch and there was also the departure on loan of Santa Cruz ( to Malaga) and Boyata to FC Twente. The five signings that went through might not have been the managers first choice with Van Persie gong to United and Rossi staying in Italy but they are not at all bad as we shall see in the coming weeks.
By the way there is no truth in the rumor that Mancini offered Atl. Madrid £50 million for Colombian striker Falcao at half time in their match against Chelsea !!
So we've reached the half way point in the season and like last year we are in second position behind United. However we have some catching up to do in order to repeat last seasons epic triumph but like last year it is not impossible.
It's not very often that Mancini and Balotelli make the BBC 6 o'clock News but the handbags at dawn Carrington episode certainly caused a bit of a stir. As all clubs have their negative training moments it would not be surprising if United's Carrington base which does not have a public footpath nearby does come under attack by low flying model planes with cameras aboard! No doubt Sir Alex will have trained the wolves in the nearby wood to frighten off people with hand controllers!
Back to reality and the good, the bad and the ugly of the first half of the season at Fort Etihad. It was a shame that our home record was broken with that late Van Persie goal after such a good fight back. The lack of concentration at key moments cost us dearly in Madrid and Ajax and an early exit from the Champions League. It was a tough group though and we can only hope we have better luck in the draw next season.
The departure of Yaya Toure to the African Cup is not the ideal start to the New Year and injuries to Rodwell and Richards do not help the situation but the great form of Barry and Zabaleta will help matters and the good form of Silva, Milner and Nasri should provide goal scoring opportunities for the front men. We certainly missed David Silva when he was injured. I don't think we have quite reached the pre Christmas form of last season but despite that City are still in with a fair chance. We have seen quite a few changes to the back four with young Nastasic improving all the time but we still have a very good goals against record so Joe Hart is well protected..
When the opposition have come to defend we have continued to attack down the centre too much instead of using the full width of the park. I wish we would use the wings more and we also tend to waste too many corners. The form of Dzeko has been patchy but he still managed a few goals when it counted. Tevez and Aguero have been in better form and we will certainly miss Aguero for a few games through injury while Yaya Toure is away. There are plenty of rumors about the possible signing of Cavani from Napoli during the January transfer period and we may see the departure of Balotelli. We shall just have to wait and see.
Away from reality a moment and I have been reading Jo Nesbo's Phantom book and surprised to read on page 200 there were several references to City and a Tevez free kick hitting the bar! No doubt after the recent visit of Tom Cruise we shall read in a future Lee Child book about Jack Reacher watching City beating United in a lonely USA motel room at 4 in the morning!
So its Barnsley in the 6th round of the Cup. The last time we played them was in 2004-2005 season. We won 7-1 at home in the Carling Cup.Pics from that game can be found HERE
The first time I saw them was in 1946. City won 5-1 and the team that day was -
Swift, Sproston, Barkas, Emptage, Eastwood McDowell, Dunkley Herd, Constantine, Smith, and Westwood - scorers were 2 each for Gerorge Smith and Constantine and an own goal.
I checked on my records and discovered I first watched City play Barnsley in the 3rd round of the Cup on Jan10th 1948. City won 2-1 before a crowd of 55,000. The teams were
Swift, Sproston, Westwood, Walsh, Fagan, Emptage, Linacre, Black, McMorran, Smith, Wharton.
Kelly, Cunningham, Pallister, Normanton, White, Glover, Smith, Griffiths, Wright, Morris, Kelly J
George Smith and Black scored for City - Lewis for Barnsley. Meadpws from Redcar was the referee.
City beat Chelsea in the 4th round 2-0 but lost to Preston by a single goal in r5.
Well the news that City have sacked manager Roberto Mancini finally came through last night and it was not exactly a shock as rumors of his possible exit prior to the Cup Final spread quite quickly among supporters.
I wonder how much this information affected the players as their performance was well below par.
Mancini was well liked by supporters and his record for City is pretty good. He won the league for the first time in 2012 for 44 years and as I saw both the QPR and Newcastle final winning games to clinch the titles they both will always remain top moments in my memory.
Of all the Premier League managers who have managed at least 100 games his average points per game of 2.05 is third behind Mourinho 2.33 and Ferguson 2.1.
City won three trophies in his reign - the Premier League, FA Cup and Community Shield but it was his failure to progress in the Champions League that has led to his dismissal. It was unfortunate that this season we were in a powerful group but for financial reasons success in the Champions league is a high priority when setting targets.
I am sure he will not have long to wait for another job but he will always have a place in City supporters thoughts.
Good Bye Roberto and thanks for some wonderful moments