Newsletter #1664

News from Alex tonight on the final 25-man squad for City, the last of the transfer dealings, previews and ambition for the season together with international Blues’ news as we go into the weekend games.

We also have opinion on the transfer window dealings and squad.

Next Game: Blackburn Rovers, home, 3pm, Saturday 11 September 2010


General News

The 25: The club’s final squad of 25 was revealed this week and included very few surprises. Despite talk of moves away from the club, Shay Given, Roque Santa Cruz and Shaleum Logan were all included in the Blues’ Premier League side for the coming season, whilst the injured Michael Johnson also takes one of the spots. Twelve of the Blues’ 25 were classed as ‘homegrown’ and players under the age of 21 need not be registered but may still compete for the club in the Premier League. This is the case for £24 million arrival Mario Balotelli. Mancini will now be hoping that the talent and depth of this 25-man squad will be enough to bring success to Eastlands this season.

Spending Wisely: City’s Football Administrator Brian Marwood has responded to claims by Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson that the Blues’ spending this summer was ‘kamikaze’. Following claims by Ferguson that the club’s spending would ultimately damage the Premier League, Marwood reminded the United boss that he is hardly one for low budgeting himself and explained that the project is not a search for immediate success but an ongoing project: “We are fortunate to have owners who are prepared to invest in the whole of the club and it’s not just for now, it’s for the future. There has been a good conveyor belt of players coming through the Academy over the years and we are proud of what we’ve done since it was started. We want to maintain our heritage in terms of the Academy and producing good young footballers. Sheikh Mansour, [chairman Khaldoon] Al Mubarrak and those involved want to be in it for the long haul. They want to put a structure in place they can enjoy for a number of years.”

Let the Games Begin: The draw for the Europa League group stages has been made and the Blues will welcome European giants Juventus to Eastlands in one of the Group A ties. Drawn alongside not only Juve but also Austrian side Salzburg and Polish team Lech, the Blues will play six fixtures in all (two against each side) and the top two in each group will then qualify to the knock-out stages. Fixtures will be played across September, October, November and December, with the visit of the Italian side coming on September 30th. City boss Mancini understands the excitement fans will be experiencing and hopes his side can compete with the ‘Old Lady’: “Juventus are traditionally one of the very top sides in Europe, and are maybe the biggest name in this year’s Europa League. It is a big test for us, and one which we are all looking forward to. I know Juve well from my time in Italy. They have some excellent players and also have a massive support, so both games against them will be great occasions.”

Carling Cup Challenge: The Europa League draw was not the only one in town this week as the Carling Cup Third Round was also decided. City will travel to The Hawthorns to take on Roberto Di Matteo’s West Brom on September 22nd. Though it would seem a draw against the Premier League’s yo-yo club would suit the Blues, Brom have a decent record against the Blues and are widely considered to be one of the club’s bogey sides.

Squad News

Don’t Drop the Ball! Belgian centre-back Vincent Kompany is one player who believes City should not only be aiming to reach the top four this season but should be challenging for the title. He understands however that to do this, the club must not drop silly points. Speaking ahead of his side’s 1-0 loss against Sunderland, Kompany asserted that positions at the end of the season can change dramatically by only a matter of points and City must be sure to perform to their potential in every game and try to claim points in each fixture: “The top of the Premier League is probably going to be very tight at the end of the season and the odd unexpected point dropped or gained here or there will determine the finishing order. It is not all about how we fare against other teams with the same ambitions as ours. It is just as much about making sure we don’t drop too many of those unexpected points. Of course you can lose to anyone at any time in the Premier League because the competition is so fierce but you must minimise those to be successful.”

Bouncing Back: A return is on the cards for left back Wayne Bridge following a spell on the sidelines with a fractured foot. With Bridge and new signing Aleksandar Kolarov both struggling with injuries, centre back Joleon Lescott has been covering for the left sided duo. Now, hoping to regain full fitness within the next week, Bridge knows he must fight Lescott for his place and then prove that he is good enough to out-play Kolarov upon his own return: “The injury seems a lot better the past few days. It’s been frustrating but it’s one of those where you have to wait in case the fracture gets worse. I should be back in training some time this week or next week. If I don’t train by the end of the week they’ll x-ray the foot again. But the pain is half what it was, so it’s definitely healing. I’ve been working hard doing bike work, rowing, a bit of boxing, core work. I feel fit, so hopefully I can slot back in and not find training too hard when I get back. Fingers crossed for Blackburn. We’ve got an even stronger squad now. It’s a great squad, and everybody’s going to get the chance to play. You need a squad this size if you’re going to compete for everything you go for.”

Fight for a Place: Following the close of the summer transfer window, winger Shaun Wright Phillips remains a City fixture and intends to fight for his place in the XI. With David Silva, Adam Johnson and James Milner all providing stiff competition for SWP, the England international admits he never had any plans to leave the club and is excited for the future: “I don’t believe in quitting. I have always wanted to stay and there’s no reason to go. The club wants me to stay, too, and the challenge for me now is to help City achieve the goals they want to achieve. I don’t think about being on the bench – I think about playing my part, even if it does mean coming on to clear one off the line. I’m excited about all the players coming in. We learn from each other, there is great banter and great team spirit.”

The Rumour Mill

Close of the Window: Deadline day brought a number of transfers, none more prevalent than the €22 million deal which has seen British record signing Robinho move to Italy. The Brazilian star spent six months of last season on loan at boyhood club Santos having failed to live up to his price tag at Eastlands and has now signed a permanent deal with European giants AC Milan. Ecuadorian striker Felipe Caicedo has also left the club temporarily as he transferred to newly promoted Spanish side Levante. Adam Clayton has signed a permanent deal with Championship outfit Leeds United, only weeks after moving to Elland Road on loan. The 21-year-old Academy product was deemed surplus to requirements at City but is expected to have a bright future at his new club. One player who didn’t end up moving away from the club was striker Roque Santa Cruz. The Paraguayan had been in talks with Italian side Lazio towards the end of the window but a deal fell through. Lazio President Claudio Lottio admits he may bid for the striker again in January: “It’s a disappointment (to miss out this time). But we decided to take time and wait for the market in January to consider whether he will be a necessary inclusion.”

One player who arrived at CoMS this week was young Ghanaian midfielder Mohammed Abu. The 18-year-old had played a number of games for the Elite Development Squad this summer before making the move from Sporting Club Accra. The youngster has agreed to move away on loan in order to gain some first team experience, joining Norwegian side Strømsgodset until June 2011.

Post-Match Reaction

Return of the Romanians: Only a week after the Blues’ 1-0 win over in Romania against FC Timisoara; City progressed to the group stages with a 2-0 win in the return leg. Whilst the Blues may have been expected to win in style, the boys got the job done and goal from Shaun Wright Phillips and Dedryck Boyata mean the club can now look forward to two massive ties against Italian giants Juventus as a reward. Roberto Mancini was delighted with the workmanlike performance of his side and picked out goal-scorer Dedryck Boyata for special praise: “In the Europa League, you meet other good teams, but I hope that we can get to the final. It might not be the Champions’ League, but it is still important. The Europa League will be important to the development of the team. It is difficult because you play more games, but I think if you can change some players every game you can get there in the end. Dedryck is a good player, and he played very well. I’m happy that he scored his first goal. He was ready to step into the team when he was needed, and that is important. We had a good focus. If you think it’s an easy game then you can have a problem, but we started very well and had a good performance. It was difficult because they had ten men behind the ball, we couldn’t find any space at times.”

Goal-scorer Boyata revealed that he was chuffed to make an impression during the Europa League tie but now has eyes for a permanent place in the first XI: “I will have to wait for League games, but in the Europa League, FA Cup and Carling Cup I’m hoping I can get my chance and replace players who are rested. Thursday was a good chance for me to play, and I’m happy with how I did. With those players around you, they make it easy. Vinny, Patrick and Ade, they all talk and help you a lot. But it’s going to be harder to get a game. My parents came over so it was nice to score in front of them, my little sisters and my girlfriend.”

Luck of the Black Cats: Any City fan would have been happy to take four points from a season opening that saw the Blues take on Tottenham and Liverpool and any true City fan would have probably expected what happened next. Travelling to Sunderland, with a fantastic record against the Black Cats behind them, City stumbled to a 1-0 loss and undid much of the good work from those opening two fixtures. Despite dominating much of the game, when Carlos Tevez missed an opening goal, the writing seemed to be on the cards for the Citizens. It took a last minute Darren Bent penalty to win the game and City chief Roberto Mancini was left bemused at the result: “Football can be very strange; we played some fantastic football in the first half, we had three or four real chances but if you don’t take your chances sometimes it can happen that you lose like this. Carlos had his chance, we had some others but that’s how football is. All the games are difficult and you have to play until the end, to the very last second. I am frustrated because now we have two weeks before we play again. It’s better to go into a break with a win or even a draw, but after the first half today, I would not have thought we could have lost this game.”

International Blues

Super Six: A number of City stars have made their way across the globe this week as they represent their various nations on international duty, but it is the England squad that has most of the papers talking. Six Blues have been called up by Capello to take on Bulgaria and Switzerland over the international break and Mancini expects his players to be an integral part of Capello’s overhaul of the England side. Joe Hart, Joleon Lescott, James Milner, Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips all joined stalwart Gareth Barry in the squad and Barry expected much to come from the City youngsters: “Adam could make his mark. He joined us in the middle of last season and came into the team full of confidence. He hasn’t stopped. He has kept improving. The more he plays at this level, the better he will become. Joe’s confidence is sky-high at the moment. He is performing very well for us at City. It is the same as Adam, if he gets a run of games at this level he will go from strength to strength. I have every confidence in him doing a great job for England for years to come.”

England Chance No Joe-ke for Hart: Newly established club number one Joe Hart is hotly tipped to become the first choice England ‘keeper for years to come and for Hart the challenge is one that he can’t wait to sink his teeth into. Though he admits his sole focus is currently on his club, Hart is aware that putting in a string of excellent performances for his club will ensure his place in Capello’s starting XI and he sees a bright future for the ‘Three Lions’: “Everyone is looking forward to it – there are a few opportunities for people who maybe wouldn’t get the chance if the established players were here. They have the opportunity to be involved in something special. The manager is as focused as ever, doing his best to try to build a successful and winning team. That is what we all want to be part of. I don’t think anything has changed too drastically. A few players retired at the end of the World Cup but there is always fresh talent coming through. I’d love the opportunity to establish myself but I’m just working hard and enjoying every game at the moment with City. We’ve got a few extra games in the Europa League as well, so there are lots of opportunities to play and that is what I love doing. I’m enjoying it at the moment.”

Alex Rowen <news(at)>


At the end of the transfer window, looking back I think that MCFC have done very well. City have signed some very good players, including “Super Mario” who will not count in our 25 players for he is only 20 years old.

We were disappointed with the City US tour results, but we can all now see why Mancini wanted to see the City younger players play against stronger sides in the friendly games, so as to have lined up the players if needed to play if some players can’t play out of the 25 players named, or even to help the team when needed.

I think that many of us were happy to see Robinho leave and go to AC Milan; if Robinho had shown a desire to play good football for City we would have been pleased if he had stayed, but he turned out to have been a wrong signing, just like I said in a MCIVTA article last year. Pepe the manager of Barcelona was happy to get rid, then Barca went on to win trophies. I wonder how long before Robinho wants another club?

Some good news that Shay Given wants to stay at MCFC and do his best for the club. The media wrote that Adebayor wanted to leave; we all know that you cannot trust everything that you read in the British press. However, I just wish that Adebayor will play in every game as he did in his first game versus Arsenal. I must admit I was not over the moon when City signed Adebayor but now he has a chance to prove himself by working hard.

Roberto says he is happy with his new signings, whilst not all surplus players have left. Many of the other clubs have been looking for loan players. Lazio just missed on signing Santa Cruz, whilst Fulham had shown interest taking Santa Cruz on a loan. Some of City’s players have gone on loan, some to get more experience.

MCFC are now set for going after four trophies; many of us will be just happy to get one trophy, so we can go to the “Evil Empire” and take that sign down, but if City can win more, we shall love it.

I trust Roberto to help City get at least one trophy. The season will now be an exciting one.

Come on you Blues (win more games away from home)!

Ernie Barrow <britcityblue(at)>


League table to 01 September 2010 inclusive

                              HOME          AWAY        OVERALL
                    P  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F  A  W  D  L  F   A   GD Pts
 1 Chelsea          3  2  0  0  8  0  1  0  0  6  0  3  0  0  14   0  14   9
 2 Arsenal          3  1  0  0  6  0  1  1  0  3  2  2  1  0   9   2   7   7
 3 Manchester Utd   3  2  0  0  6  0  0  1  0  2  2  2  1  0   8   2   6   7
 4 Aston Villa      3  2  0  0  4  0  0  0  1  0  6  2  0  1   4   6  -2   6
 5 Bolton Wndrs     3  0  2  0  2  2  1  0  0  3  1  1  2  0   5   3   2   5
 6 Birmingham City  3  1  0  0  2  1  0  2  0  4  4  1  2  0   6   5   1   5
 7 Wolves           3  1  1  0  3  2  0  1  0  1  1  1  2  0   4   3   1   5
 8 Newcastle Utd    3  1  0  0  6  0  0  1  1  1  4  1  1  1   7   4   3   4
 9 Manchester City  3  1  0  0  3  0  0  1  1  0  1  1  1  1   3   1   2   4
10 Sunderland       3  1  1  0  3  2  0  0  1  0  1  1  1  1   3   3   0   4
11 Tottenham H.     3  0  1  1  0  1  1  0  0  2  1  1  1  1   2   2   0   4
12 Blackpool        3  0  1  0  2  2  1  0  1  4  6  1  1  1   6   8  -2   4
13 Liverpool        3  1  1  0  2  1  0  0  1  0  3  1  1  1   2   4  -2   4
14 Fulham           3  0  1  0  2  2  0  2  0  2  2  0  3  0   4   4   0   3
15 Blackburn R.     3  1  0  1  2  2  0  0  1  1  2  1  0  2   3   4  -1   3
16 West Brom A.     3  1  0  0  1  0  0  0  2  0  7  1  0  2   1   7  -6   3
17 Wigan Athletic   3  0  0  2  0 10  1  0  0  1  0  1  0  2   1  10  -9   3
18 Everton          3  0  1  0  1  1  0  0  2  0  2  0  1  2   1   3  -2   1
19 Stoke City       3  0  0  1  1  2  0  0  2  1  4  0  0  3   2   6  -4   0
20 West Ham United  3  0  0  1  1  3  0  0  2  0  6  0  0  3   1   9  -8   0

With thanks to Football 365

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Newsletter #1664