Predicting How Manchester City Might Line Up Next Season

Sam TigheWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterJune 18, 2013

BARCELONA, SPAIN - JUNE 01:  Head coach Manuel Pellegrini of Malaga CF looks on during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Malaga CF at Camp Nou on June 1, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester City have done some early, positive business in the transfer market.

Despite not having a manager officially in place at the time, sporting director Txiki Begiristain wasted no time in securing two prime signings. The BBC have confirmed the captures of Spanish winger Jesus Navas and Brazilian holding midfielder Fernandinho.

The signings prompt questions about which starting XI Manuel Pellegrini will use next season and which formation he might favour.

The Citizens already boast a sizable squad, so just one or two more additions are foreseeable ahead of the new season. Let's take an early look at how City might line up.


The Defence

City's back line looks set in stone.

Joe Hart is No. 1 for both club and country, and despite having a poor season by his standards last year, he'll retain his place and play 38 games, if fit.

Workhorse Pablo Zabaleta is usually assured a place in the squad, and the fact that he boasts several similarities with Malaga right-back Jesus Gamez could lend further favour his way.

With talkSPORT linking Aleksandar Kolarov with a move away from City, it appears Gael Clichy has won the tussle to start at left-back.

Vincent Kompany will bounce back after an injury-plagued season, while Matija Nastasic will continue to develop by his side.


The Midfield

Fernandinho's arrival spells bad news for Gareth Barry and Javi Garcia. The former was one of City's better players last season but still regressed, and the latter essentially failed to live up to an extortionate fee.

The Brazilian is set to line up next to Yaya Toure in the centre, whatever the formation—you don't sign someone for £30 million so he can sit on the bench.

The advanced midfield three will see plenty of change, too, with Navas slotting in on the right-hand side. He'll give them much-needed width, a good cross and pure speed to frighten full-backs.

Mark Ogden of The Telegraph believes City are leading the race to sign Isco, and the player himself has admitted to the BBC he'd like to follow his "footballing father" Pellegrini to England.

Should he sign, he'd likely slot in on the left as an inverted winger, with David Silva sliding inside to his natural No. 10 position. The two Spaniards could easily interchange throughout the game.


Up Top

Questions dangle over City's striking corp.

With 12 months to go on Carlos Tevez's deal, he looks all but gone, while Edin Dzeko hasn't been happy for quite some time. That leaves Sergio Aguero on his own, but the recruitment of Navas could persuade Dzeko to stick around.

It's been a while since anyone crossed the ball on the blue side of Manchester, and Dzeko rightly feels the side don't suit his strengths. Navas is a true wide player, and there's a chance he could reap the rewards of the new man's style.



What formation will Pellegrini choose?

He played a 4-2-3-1 at Malaga but is a self-professed advocate of a two-man strike partnership. When he thinks he can pull it off, he will, be it 4-4-2 or 4-2-2-2, and City will look to overpower and outscore their opponents in this shape.

Pellegrini is a wonderful appointment, and Begiristain has bought him some truly wonderful players to add to a world-class selection.

Good times ahead for Manchester City.