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Manchester City's New Season Priorities


As the new EPL season approaches, the fans of Manchester City are gearing up for the defence of their Premier League title. For me, I am hoping that it isn't going to be as dramatic as last season’s finale; clinching the title with the last kick of the game. I am however, quite optimistic; Roberto Mancini has signed a new five year deal, players seem in good spirits and we are not making headlines for the wrong reason (at the moment)!
Now the league is ours we have to look at our ambitions and expectations for the forthcoming season. Many Manchester City fans I speak to are dreaming of the Champions League and long-for dominance in Europe. I too long for European success however, I am a little more realistic. Retain the EPL Title, progress past the group stages in the Champions League - that should be minimum expectation.
In pre-season alone, Chelsea have once again flexed their financial muscle; building a team that can incorporate the misfiring Fernando Torres' style of play could prove to be a stroke of genius. Bringin in Eden Hazard, Marko Marin and soon to be signed Oscar should in theory allow Chelsea to play a more fluid strategy; playing the ball into space rather than to Drogba's feet. However, they have employed a manager who does not incorporate this style of football. Instead, Roberto Di Matteo relies on Didier Drogba to win him games; well guess what? He isn't there anymore! Chelsea will sign more players, I am sure of it however, I expect them to underperform and Di Matteo to be a big name casualty come the New Year.
People say that Arsenal is a sinking ship. I would say they are merely grand profitable ships that are throwing their captains overboard! Robin Van Persie has announced his intention to leave Arsenal when his deal expires a year from now. Arsenal need to learn from the Fabregas and Nasri saga and get transfer him as soon as possible. Dragging it out will only hinder the start of the season, as it did last year. Sell him, buy more players and move on! Just don't sell him to Manchester City please. They won't, they will drag it out, sign no players and he will end up at Manchester City - true Arsenal style! Having taken all this into consideration, I don't think there’s going to be a title challenge from Arsenal.
Tottenham Hotspur. Could they mount a bid for the title? No, because it is Andre Villas Boas and he will upset the entire senior players and they will finish fifth. They may start to lose their best players too with Luka Modric looking likely to join Real Madrid this summer. I don't understand Spurs; they get so close but then get scared at being good so implode.
Manchester United should again be the closest challengers to the newly crowned EPL champions. I am expecting them to again to start a bit shaky and then be unbelievable after New Year, but I guess that always is the case. They have already signed a couple of playersthis season, Kagawa from Borrusia Dortmund who looks like a real player and an English Wonderkid Nick Powell whom I hope they play regularly. The 'Golden Oldies' of Giggs and Scholes are back for another swansong and it looks as though a deal for Everton and England left back Leighton Baines is close. The real positive for them is the fact that they have Nemanja Vidic back fit; a real monster of a defender. However, their midfield is very weak, and if they do not buy another central midfielder, as well as another striker, I do not think that they will have enough to cross the finish line.
Leaving Manchester City; the Champions! I like saying that! No signings as of yet, although, I am expecting two, maybe three based on the Dzeko situation. Our squad is strong however, the dip in form last season came from two players being out; Kompany through injury and suspension, and Yaya Toure being away with the Africa Cup of Nations. We need to keep those two players fit, as well as look for possible ways to combat this from happening. Lazio's Stefan Radu has been linked and can play in a number of positions across the defence. Mancini is also a fan of Roma's Daniele DeRossi who is a tenacious central midfield player. The link with Dzeko going to Bayern Munich could be fact or fiction however; this business with Van Persie could come up at any point leaving Dzeko in limbo. Van Persie is slow and has only had one good season, the rest of the time he has been injury prone. We keep getting linked with Zlatan Ibrahimovic which I have to say is giving me nightmares as Mancini is a fan! However, if we just keep it to two signings and keep Dzeko, we could have a real good chance of retaining the EPL. The other weakness however, is the two strikers who like 'the drama'. Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez are real characters and really made this season a rollercoaster. If they both keep their heads down and just concentrate on the football, we could walk it! If we had only had Tevez all season, I always ask myself that!
I believe that this could be a turning point for Manchester City. I don't want us to put all our eggs in the Champions League basket and neglect the league. I don't think we will; the owners are good like that. Last season in the Champions League we had a monster group, and finishing with ten points, would have qualified in any other group. If we progress this season to the knockout stages, that is a success in my opinion as it shows progression. It took Manchester United years to get into the elite of European heavyweights, so dominance in Europe may have to wait, till next season anyway...
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