Audi Cup 2013: Why Manchester City Should Be Tournament Favorites
The Audi Cup 2013 is a preseason football tournament featuring Bayern Munich, Manchester City, AC Milan and Sao Paulo that will take place in Germany between July 31 and Aug. 1. Man City will see it as ideal preparation for the new season as they aim to reclaim the Premier League title from Manchester United.
Of course, the Citizens are under new management following the appointment of Manuel Pellegrini in June. The new manager is already looking to put his own unique spin on the team, which includes an attractive style of play and a number of high-profile new signings. Preseason is as good a time as ever to test out a few different things and get fitness up to speed.
But all footballers and all managers feel that want to win every time they go out to play a match. Therefore, the level of tweaking and experimentation might be kept to a minimum. The presence of Bayern Munich in this tournament creates a unique opportunity to get one over the Champions League winners.
The Champions League is another competition that Pellegrini will want to do very well in next season. Of course, Man City were very disappointing in the elite European tournament last season. It’s not easy to draw too many conclusions from preseason, but beating the European champions would certainly be a significant confidence boost ahead of the new season.
It’s also an opportunity to get some kind of gauge on the sort of impact that those aforementioned signings will make against the best sides in England and Europe in the campaign ahead. The club is clearly contributing to the foreign talent that is already available within the Premier League.
The likes of Fernandinho, Jesus Navas, Alvaro Negredo and Stevan Jovetic will all want to use this event to really show what they can do and impress their new manager. Obviously, there was already plenty of quality within the Man City squad. And it is this quality combined with the new signings that surely makes the Citizens favorites for the Audi Cup 2013.
Manchester City have proved to be one of the more active teams in the transfer market—maybe not in terms of quality of players, but certainly in terms of the money that they have spent. They started that spending with the £30million signing of Fernandinho from Shakhtar Donetsk. The Brazilian has proved to be a sensation in the Ukrainian league with his former side proving to be somewhat of a surprise package in the Champions League last season.
The player is 28 years old and is likely to be at the peak of his game right now. Therefore, in a great time to make the move to the Premier League, he is what might be described as a new-age defensive midfielder. One that is not just there to shield the defense, but one that can also get forward in an attacking sense. In particular, he has pace, an ability to break up plays, takes long shots and can create goalscoring chances for others.
It will be interesting to see how he slots into the midfield alongside other players of quality at the club. In particular, Yaya Toure is in some respects a similar sort of player; it will be interesting to see if they are used as a partnership in the coming season.
Last season, Man City weren’t as fluid in attack as they could have been and were certainly let down in that regard. But new signings should address that to some degree at least. Carlos Tevez has now left. It remains to be seen how much the club will miss he presence, but fans should be truly excited about the new options in the side. Sergio Aguero had a slightly disappointing season in comparison to his high standards.
But with a new manager coming in, he can enjoy a fresh start that may see him recapture his form from the first season he had in the Premier League. Obviously, he would clearly love to score two or three goals in this tournament to get his season off and running; clearly such a return would put him in a great frame of mind to start the season.
Service to the strikers is always important, and there have been clear attempts to address that by Man City. David Silva had a fine season and was arguably the club’s best player from an attacking sense last season, but maybe didn’t have a consistent man on the other wing. This is where the signing of Jesus Navas is particularly interesting.
The Spanish winger is clearly a very good player and is likely to operate from the right side with Silva on the left. This is something that should give the club very good balance and great attacking intensity. The Man City defense usually performs well and that tend will surely continue in the forthcoming season.
Last summer, the club missed out on the transfer window in terms of adding quality, and that proved to be crucial in the final shake up at the end of the season. It appears on the face of it that this time around they are ones that could profit from bringing in some excellent quality. It’s the kind of business that shows the ambition of the club to conquer both the Premier League in Europe.
The 2013 Audi Cup is a very important part of the preparation. We will likely learn over the course of the event how good the team is likely to be from an attacking sense in particular. The challenge of facing Bayern Munich will be very interesting, and the club will feel that if they can beat them in a preseason event then anything is possible.
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