Besiktas vs. Manchester City: 6 Things for City Fans to Watch for in Friendly
The Citizens' preseason has so far been rather subdued.
Last Friday, they suffered a shock defeat to Al Hilal thanks to a single goal by Shaker Nawaf Al-Abed.
Roberto Mancini’s men were equally as unimpressive in a goalless draw against Dynamo Dresden on Wednesday. The Premier League Champions are yet to score a goal in the build up to their title defence.
Although the preseason is not an accurate gauge on what to expect of a club’s future prospects, Manchester City will want to earn a convincing win against Beşiktaş, one of the leading clubs in the Turkish Süper Lig.
The game is of particular importance because it is City’s last before a friendly against Arsenal in China’s "Bird Nest" stadium. The match will take place on July 27 and is integral to Manchester City’s commercial aspirations of breaking into the Asian market.
Manchester City are a club that has grown accustomed to welcoming big-name talent at regular intervals; the 2012 Summer Transfer Window has reversed the trend.
Instead of looking for a first glimpse of a major signing, City fans will have to cast their eye on other things to look forward to ahead of their title defence.
The slideshow will explain six things that Manchester City fans should be looking for in their next preseason encounter.
An Elusive Goal
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Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez have both featured in Manchester City’s opening preseason games. As has upcoming striker Luca Scapuzzi and trialist Mario Jelavic.
Despite the artillery of striking talent, last season’s top scorers in the Premier League have failed to score against sides that many fans could be forgiven for not recognising.
The closest that the Citizens have come to scoring was Vladimir Weiss’s opportunity against Dynamo Dresden. The Slovakian international was the recipient of an exquisite Yaya Toure ball on the 66-minute mark but his attempt to chip opposition goalkeeper Fromlowitz was unfruitful.
Edin Dzeko has been rested for City’s opening two games of the preseason, although it is difficult to speculate what this means about his future at the club.
What is likely is that he will feature in some form against Beşiktaş .
The Bosnian forward scored in Manchester City’s crunch match against Queens Park Rangers and will be hoping to stake his claim for a place in the starting 11, while Mario Balotelli rests from Euro 2012.
With Dzeko, Aguero, Tevez, Scapuzzi and Jelavic amongst Mancini’s options, it should not be too long until one of them finally finds the net.
An 18-year-old Croatian forward, Mario Jelavic is currently on trial at Manchester City since becoming a free agent.
Jelavic spent the majority of his youth career at Hadjuk Split, but only made a single first-team appearance for the club.
He has been capped 12 times by his county at youth level, scoring four goals in the process.
Measuring in at 6 feet, 2 1/2 inches, the young forward could potentially add height to Manchester City’s attack, an attribute they are already lacking and likely to miss more should Edin Dzeko depart before deadline day.
Despite this, the Hadjuk Split academy graduate has been unimpressive in his first two preseason outings, having more game time than most of his team mates.
Jelavic has featured for the best part of two hours so far, but is yet to produce an effort on goal worth merit. He was also substituted against Dynamo Dresden, despite replacing Aguero as a second-half substitute himself.
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The second of Manchester City’s two trialists and by far the more impressive.
Nir Biton is no stranger to the Roberto Mancini’s squad; he completed an impressive one week trial last January and rounded it up by scoring twice and assisting Mario Balotelli in a training ground match.
The 20-year-old Israeli has made 57 league appearances for FC Ashdod, finding the net on six occasions. He was an integral to the club’s seventh-place finish in last season’s Israeli Premier League, making 34 appearances and scoring five times.
Roberto Mancini is in need of a defensive midfielder; Gareth Barry is aging and Nigel De Jong has been linked with a bountiful amount of clubs attracting his signature.
The Daily Mail has reported that the trial could become permanent, although Aston Villa and Everton are interested in the Israeli’s services. In January the same paper reported that Mancini was on the verge of bidding £2 million for the youngster, despite Biton having nine months of mandatory national service to complete.
If John Guidetti does not feature against Beşiktaş, it will speak volumes about his future at Manchester City.
The young striker’s talents became obvious whilst on loan at Feyenoord last season, but it is difficult to see how he can break into the Manchester City team—even in a rotation system.
The 20-year-old Swedish striker scored 20 goals in 23 games for the Eredivisie runners up—and contributed a further eight assists.
The academy graduate has been present at Manchester City’s training camp in Seefeld, a town situated in the heart of the Austrian mountains.
His hopes of having a chance to impress Roberto Mancini however have been flattened; he has not featured in any capacity in the Citizen’s opening games of the preseason.
There is an abundant amount of stories reporting that Guidetti’s future at the Etihad is far from certain. The Daily Mail reports that the Swede is considering a "dream" move to Italy, with Lazio his likely suitors.
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Aleksandar Kolarov lost his starting position to Gael Clichy last season, and it seems unlikely that the Serbia international will want to play a subordinate role to the Frenchman for a second season.
If he is able to impress in the preseason, it could have an influence on Mancini’s plans when he comes to pick the team sheet against Chelsea in their Community Shield encounter.
The Serb does not even have to outperform Gael Clichy, the Frenchman has been given extended leave following his duty for France in Euro 2012.
A Champions League winner with three different domestic league titles and five different domestic league trophies to his name.
The Portugal international has played for several of Europe’s top clubs, including Chelsea, Inter Milan, Porto and Barcelona. It is therefore surprising that he has found his way to the Turkish Süper Lig at the age of 28.
Quaresma endured a turbulent time at Inter Milan and has experienced similar difficulties at Beşiktaş. In April last year, he was banned indefinitely for verbally abusing manager Carlos Carvalhal following a 3-1 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Europa League.
Quaresma was replaced with İsmail Köybaşı, much to his disgust. The Portuguese’s response was to throw bottles at his manager and, according to goal.com, exclaim:
"I brought you here, you just think of yourself," the former Inter and Barcelona star. If I was not here, you [Carvalhal] would not be here. You cannot remove me from the match because you're nothing."
Quaresma was suspended indefinitely and only made 10 league appearances last season.
Manager Carvalhal has now left the club to assume the manager’s position at Istanbul BB, meaning that there may be a way for Quaresma to fight his way back into the Beşiktaş and rebuild his career.