MAN CITY Season Ratings: Midfielders

31 May

Our incredible season is over, and with third place and the FA Cup under our belt, here are my season ratings. Click here for ratings on goalkeepers and defenders.

De Jong – A contender for player of the season. Came into this campaign with his reputation damaged after what happened in the World Cup final, but anyone who has watched even a handful of City’s games this season will realise just how vital he is to our team. Picks up the pieces in front of the defence, making crucial tackles and blocks, but it is his passing which has improved immensely. Starts many of our attacks, and his performance in the FA Cup final was monumental – 8.5

Barry – Takes an unfair amount of criticism from those who don’t watch him play week in week out, but his contribution to the side and his selfless work in midfield is much appreciated. Not the quickest, but his distribution is tidy and alongside De Jong, performs a good job in protecting the defence. Plenty of experience in important matches and he will be a useful squad member next year – 7

Continue reading

MAN CITY Season Ratings: Goalkeepers and Defenders

30 May

Our incredible season is over, and with third place and the FA Cup under our belt, here are my season ratings.

Hart – For a goalkeeper so young, the most striking aspect was his consistency. Even the best in the world make mistakes, but I can only think of one (at home to Blackburn) all season. Fantastic shot-stopper, commands his box well and showed that his concentration was good with three excellent saves in the big matches against Spurs, United and Stoke. Needs to work on his distribution but could be our number one for the next decade at least – 7.5

Given – Was desperately unfortunate that Hart was in such consistently good form. One of the best ‘keepers in the league but only managed four starts in all competitions. Will leave in the summer but with the best wishes of the club. Served us well for eighteen months – 6

Taylor – Didn’t play a single minute during the season but is a good squad man. Experienced and happy to play third fiddle. Expect him to replicate that again next season – N/A

Continue reading

Bolton 0 – 2 MAN CITY – MY THOUGHTS

24 May

The end of an incredible season. A trophy, our first in 35 years, and third place in the Premier League. Champions League football is ours, where the group stage awaits us after 38 pulsating fixtures in what is regarded as the best league in the world. We have had our ups and our downs, but we’ve come through them as a team, as a club, and now we can rejoice in the glory.

We have done it, led by the steely determination of Roberto Mancini and with the constant belief of the players. Yes, there have been moments of difficulty, moments which would have derailed a previous City, but there is a newfound resilience in our squad these days. The players have faith in their own ability, the manager trusts himself and the fans are buying into the success we’re enjoying.

This game was a rather more comfortable affair than many this season. Goals from Joleon Lescott and Edin Dzeko secured the win, one which guaranteed our third place finish. The way we have ended the season, with memorable wins against Spurs, Manchester United and Stoke, has been delightful and the hope is that we can build on this next season. Few would bet against us doing just that.

There weren’t any standout performers from this match, perhaps characteristic of our team spirit, something that has been doubted many times this campaign, but has been there for all to see towards the end of the season. There is a mentality within the club that we can move on and progress to bigger and better things, that this is just the start of what promises to be an unforgettable ride.

The summer will be an interesting time, with arrivals, departures, transfer sagas and much more to occupy our minds. It’s now the time to celebrate what we have achieved this season and to think about what we may achieve in one year’s time. Thanks to the players, staff and everyone connected with our beloved football club for delivering us with such success. Long may it continue.

Bolton 0 – 2 MAN CITY – PLAYER RATINGS

24 May

Hart – One fantastic save to deny Elmander but was surprisingly shaky. Perhaps took his eye of the ball at this late stage of the season, but uncharacteristically sloppy. Dropped the ball once but was bailed out by defence and smashed a clearance into a Bolton player which could have gone anywhere. A fantastic season though overall – 6

Boyata – Struggled in the first half at times with Bolton’s attacking play, although he improved after the break. Superb cross for Barry which the midfielder somehow missed from one yard out – 6

Kompany – Kevin Davies is always a threat, but Kompany handled him fairly well, winning his fair share of headers and tackles. Brought the ball forward nicely in the second half – 7

Lescott – Was sloppy in the first period and showed a lack of leadership, but slowly grew into the game. He’s improved immeasurably towards the back end of the season, but it will be interesting to see if Mancini backs him to be Kompany’s partner next season – 6

Zabaleta – Wasn’t in the initial starting line up until Micah Richards suffered an injury in the warm-up. Performed admirably at left back, containing Chung Yong Lee and managing to get forward well – 7 

De Jong – Not his greatest performance but still competent nonetheless. Distribution was sloppy at the start of the second half, but he won his tackles, made his blocks and kept the shape well – 6

Barry – I was disappointed that Barry replaced Milner in the team for yesterday’s game, but Gareth produced a solid performance. Nothing spectacular but as per usual, he did the basics well. Missed a sitter but managed a good assist for Dzeko’s goal – 6

Y. Touré – Apart from his fantastic 70 yard run in the first half, it was a terrible opening 45 mins from the Ivorian. Conceded possession so many times and looked disinterested. Thankfully improved after the break when he was moved deeper but I’m still yet to be convinced by him – 6

A. Johnson – Yet another poor showing from Johnson when given a starting place. He’s so effective coming off the bench, but is yet to show he’s worth any more than half an hour – 5.5

Silva – Looked the most likely to make a breakthrough as he flitted around midfield, eager to be on the ball. Continues to struggle in front of goal but he has been a delight to watch all season – 7

Tévez – Not at his best. Perhaps trying too hard to impress on what may be his final performance, but he looked slightly off the pace. Had a couple of half chances but didn’t manage to add to his impressive total for the season – 6

Subs

Dzeko – Goal would have done his confidence a world of good as he notched his second Premier League goal – 6

Milner – Would have been disappointed to have been left out, and only managed just over ten minutes of the pitch – No time to mark

Wabara – Good to see yet another Academy graduate make his debut. Wabara is talked about with promise and he should take confidence from finally getting onto to the pitch – No time to mark

Confirmed MAN CITY Team: No Zabaleta or Milner. Boyata Starts!

22 May

It is the last match of the season and here is the side Roberto Mancini has selected to face Bolton. Pablo Zabaleta only makes the bench after picking up an injury against Stoke, with Dedryck Boyata coming into the side and Joleon Lescott moving to left-back. Gareth Barry returns in place of James Milner in central midfield.

This is the side in full:

Manchester City 4-2-3-1 football formation

Bench: Given, Wabara, Zabaleta, Vieira, Milner, Dzeko, Balotelli

Bolton v MAN CITY – PREVIEW: City’s Probable Team

21 May

After 37 gruelling Premier League games, 12 mediocre Europa League games, 1 disappointing Carling Cup game and 8 successful FA Cup games, we have reached the final match of the season. A trip to the Reebok Stadium to face Bolton is what awaits Man City, all in the knowledge that a victory would guarantee Champions League group stage football. The destiny is in our hands.

We lie just one point ahead of Arsenal, meaning that we must, at the minimum, equal their result away to Fulham. It has been a hugely successful season for the Blues – finishing in the top four and winning our first trophy in 35 years has seen to that – and now we have a chance, a fantastic chance, to end the campaign in style.

The style of football we played against Stoke during the week was pleasing on the eye, an attacking, free-flowing display which secured the three points. The confidence garnered from victories over Spurs, Manchester United and then Stoke in the FA Cup final is there for all to see and few would bet against the Blues continuing their impressive run of form on Sunday.

This could well be the final time we see Carlos Tévez in a Manchester City shirt, although I’m sure his will he/won’t he go transfer saga will provide us with many column inches over the summer. Should they play, it will be a final farewell for the likes of Shay Given and Jo, whilst the future of Patrick Vieira is still up in the air.

With regards to team selection for this fixture, Mario Balotelli is expected to be fit and is pushing for a start, whilst David Silva should be fit after being taken off against Stoke with a slight knee injury. Pablo Zabaleta is struggling to make it after yet another facial injury, picked up courtesy of a Stoke boot to the face. James Milner, who impressed in central midfield on Tuesday, is vying with Gareth Barry for a start, and with this being such an important fixture, I’d imagine Roberto Mancini will select a full strength team.

Here is the side he could select:

Manchester City 4-2-3-1 football formation

Bolton have lost their past four matches but have enjoyed a fantastic season under the guidance of Owen Coyle. He has managed to get a side previously known for its love of the long ball to play some attractive football. In Kevin Davies, they still possess player who are more than comfortable in a physical encounter, but the likes of Chung Yong Lee, Martin Petrov and Daniel Sturridge, on loan from Chelsea, add genuine quality.

Referee: Chris Foy – Not got the greatest reputation with City fans, but he’s solid enough. Doubt this will be the hardest game to officiate.

Enjoy the game! Let’s finish the season on a high and grab third place!

MAN CITY 3 – 0 Stoke – MY THOUGHTS

18 May

The perfect performance. A sparkling win that moves us into third place and within touching distance of the group stages of the Champions League. With just one game to go, we have the chance to turn this very good season into a great one. And I wouldn’t bet against us.

The confidence we played with yesterday was fantastic. It is a culmination of the past week or so, starting with the nervy victory over Spurs, a win which was crucial in giving the squad belief. That was followed by the unforgettable FA Cup final on Saturday and yesterday’s victory was a continuation of that form.

It was a display which highlighted the importance of Carlos Tévez to our team; his brace of goals, both special in their own way, helping us to victory. Talk over the summer will undoubtedly be dominated by the Argentinean striker – will he go, won’t he? And as well as we have coped without him recently, there’s no doubt he’s a top class player who would be missed if he left.

However, it wasn’t just Tévez who impressed last night. The likes of Joleon Lescott and James Milner were both mightily impressive, the latter in his favoured central midfield position. He was full of energy and drive from midfield, something that Gareth Barry lacks. Barry has been playing far better of late, but is still, for me, too one-dimensional and it was a refreshing change to see Milner in the thick of the action, retaining possession and keeping play ticking over.

It was a nice touch as well from Roberto Mancini to bring on SWP in the second half, allowing the Blues’ supporters one final look at a player surely on his way in the summer. He has spent many wonderful years at the club and his enthusiasm there for all to see, but the reality is that he’s not good enough for where we want to be.

So onwards we go towards the final match of the season away at Bolton. A win there would see us complete a brilliant season by finishing third. We travel to the Reebok with confidence, with momentum and with the belief that we can do it.

%d bloggers like this: