10 Things Manchester City Must Get Right to Repeat Premier League Title Success
Manchester City will have a difficult time this season in defending their first EPL title in 44 years. With both Chelsea and Manchester United adding depth to their squad, City's only signing of the summer has been young and highly touted English Midfielder Jack Rodwell.
A lot will have to go right for City for them to repeat as champions this season. Here is a list of 10 things that Roberto Mancini and company must do to secure another victorious season in 2012-13.
Finish Weaker Opponents
City fans everywhere felt the anguish and frustration of City not closing out games in 2011-12. Too often games that were extremely lopsided in their favor were very narrow wins or draws. Manchester City must find ways to play sloppy with the lower EPL competition.
In a league that is extremely close at all levels, Manchester City cannot afford to drop points to lesser competition this season. If they do, it could be detrimental to their title chances.
Learn to Defend the Counter Attack
A few instances last season saw Manchester City get burned on the counter attack. These type of goals nearly cost Man City the title in the final game of the year against Queens Park Rangers, and saw points squandered on a few occasions throughout the season.
Weaker opponents have become content to clog their 18 yard box and wait all game for once or two chances to break a striker on the counter.
Continuing from the last slide, Manchester City has not yet adapted to the strategy that lesser teams employ to keep in games against these English giants.
As stated before, teams are content to put 10 men in the 18 yard box and block shots all game against City. However, Mancini continues to attack through the middle of the park, instead of spreading the play wide and aiming for targets through the air.
Width will be a key to success in games that get scrappy, and hopefully players like Adam Johnson are utilized more when games end up as such.
Capitalize on Set Pieces
Last season, teams were content to award corners and free kicks to avoid the heavy onslaught of the Man City attack.
City must make teams pay for conceding corner after corner, going down men and giving up fouls. If City can become more dominant from set pieces, the option to push them off their game with fouls and sloppy clearances will quickly fade.
A great key to City's success last season was team defense and of course, English international keeper Joe Hart.
Hart and his team recorded 18 clean sheets last season (29 in all competitions), leading him to capture the Premier League Golden Glove.
Keeping the back end clean will greatly contribute to any successes City have in the upcoming season. The expectation is great that Hart will continue to develop and grow and continue his ways in 2012-13.
Goals, Goals, Goals
This season, there can be no mercy in attack. After narrowly wining last year by goal differential, it is extremely important for the glut of striker talent at City to score consistently this season.
If the defense can hold their end of the deal up, it will be expected that Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli and Edin Dzeko are all among the top goal scorers in the EPL.
Appease the Bench
Despite the vast amount of talent that sits week in and out on the sidelines for Manchester City, Roberto Mancini has done fairly well at appeasing most of his bench players.
There should be enough opportunity to play with the long list of competitions that City will be involved in this upcoming season.
With the grueling grind ahead, Mancini will need fresh legs and depth from the bench could very well be the greatest advantage that City hold over their rivals.
Manchester City seems to always be in the headlines, the media loves to press and pick on a few players within Mancini's arsenal.
Mario Balotelli and Carlos Tevez each were hot topics of last season. Balotelli's unusual antics and Carlos Tevez's self inflicted exile from the club were consistently headlining newspapers and websites.
There's an old saying that says all press is good press. However, with Manchester City gaining popularity and notoriety throughout the world of football, it would be nice for their on the pitch accomplishments not to be overshadowed by off the pitch antics.
Competing for titles is challenging enough, all focus and attention must be on that goal to start the new season.
Focus on One Competition
Manchester City will be involved in so many fixtures and competitions in 2012-13. I believe it is important for Mancini and company to identify and focus on challenging for one competition—whether domestic or continental.
In order to rest bodies and keep a healthy side, Mancini should consider the possibility of fielding a "B-side" in smaller competitions, accepting the fact that it may mean defeat.
Manchester City's main focus should be either Champions League or maintaining their reign as EPL champions.
Play for a Common Cause
Before the end of last year, Manchester City was just a team that purchased a collection of high priced stars, with equally high egos.
After capturing the FA Cup and winning the Premier League, Manchester City has gelled into a team with a common purpose, to win.
Egos will have to be held in check and everyone must be united towards the common purpose of winning together for success to be held in this upcoming EPL season.
As the twitter trend that united City last season states, together we are City.
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