Manchester City vs. Olympiakos: What Manuel Pellegrini Learned

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistAugust 2, 2014

Manchester City vs. Olympiakos: What Manuel Pellegrini Learned

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Manchester City were eliminated from the International Champions Cup with a loss to Olympiakos in a penalty shootout at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. 

    The Citizens saw their two goals, scored by Stevan Jovetic and Aleksandar Kolarov, nullified after two defensive lapses led to a pair of equalizers by the Greek side. 

    Although the negatives will be pointed out more for Manuel Pellegrini's side, there were a few positives to take away from the final game in America as well.

Defense Must Not Be Judged Yet

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    Julie Jacobson/Associated Press

    Manchester City's back four didn't look spectacular in Minneapolis, but that was expected given how many players were absent from the American tour. 

    Vincent Kompany, Bacary Sagna and Pablo Zabaleta will join up with the club once they return from the United States, which will give the defending English Premier League champions three quality options in the back four. 

    Once that trio immerses themselves into the back four again, we will have a better idea of how Pellegrini's side will look, but until then, City fans, and the boss himself, must be patient with the defense. 

    As for the players that did help their cause in America, Gael Clichy was able to show the manager his versatility at right-back, which may prove to be valuable during the long haul of the season. 

Stevan Jovetic Is Poised to Break Out This Season

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    ANDY KING/Associated Press

    After seeing his first season at City ravaged by injuries, Stevan Jovetic has taken advantage of the opportunity left open during the preseason tour to shine in sky blue.

    The forward extended his lead at the top of the ICC's scoring charts, scoring his fifth goal of the tournament in the 35th minute.

    Thanks to his success up front alongside Edin Dzeko, Pellegrini will most likely not have to dip back into the transfer market to reinforce the forward position. 

    Another benefit of Jovetic's showing in the United States is that it adds to the depth at the forward position, which is needed during the demanding European and domestic schedule. 

The Potential Move for Frank Lampard Will Benefit Yaya Toure

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    One place on the pitch where Pellegrini is looking to upgrade his team is in the midfield. 

    With the likelihood of Frank Lampard joining the club on loan from New York City FC high, per The Guardian, Yaya Toure will be able to move into a forward role on the pitch. 

    As we have seen on numerous occasions during his time at City, Toure thrives in an advanced role, but he can only do that if the defensive midfield is not under constant pressure. 

    By securing Lampard for six months, City will have a reliable and experienced player to partner Toure, which should hand the Ivorian a bigger liberty to attack, which is something he seldom did against Olympiakos. 

Jesus Navas Is in Midseason Form

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    Mike Stobe/Getty Images

    Other than Jovetic's exploits across the Atlantic Ocean, Jesus Navas has been the player that has impressed the most for the Citizens. 

    Navas linked up well with an out-of-position Gael Clichy for most of the first half at TCF Bank Stadium in search of finding the back of the net. 

    Since the Spaniard was doing so well against the Olympiakos defense, City almost exclusively attacked down the right wing against the Greek champions. 

    With plenty of EPL defenders still finding their legs early in the season, Navas could end up having a terrific first month of the domestic campaign. 

Aleksandar Kolarov Gave Himself a Confidence Boost on Penalty

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    Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

    After he sent a penalty kick soaring over the goal into the left-field bleachers at Yankee Stadium Wednesday night, Aleksandar Kolarov redeemed himself in the 53rd minute. 

    Kolarov knocked home the second City goal after David Silva was brought down following a heavy challenge in the box. 

    Although it is still preseason, making a penalty three days after missing a key one will help out the defender's confidence.

    As one of the better set-piece takers in the squad, it would be ideal for the defender to go into the new season with a ton of confidence in that department, and his make from the spot Saturday did just that. 

Questions Still Remain About Joe Hart

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Just as we were beginning to praise Joe Hart for his play in goal, he gave us another reason to doubt him on the second Olympiakos goal.

    The first-choice keeper came off his line to attempt to deny Dimitris Diamantakos of a scoring opportunity, but instead the forward breezed right past him. 

    With the EPL season right around the corner, and Willy Caballero having a decent preseason, every single move Hart makes, good or bad, will be under the microscope.

    He hasn't made any mistakes that would cost him his starting spot yet, but that could change with two weeks left until the start of the 2014-15 league campaign. 


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