Samir Nasri Transfer: 7 Reasons Manchester City Are Title Favourites
Under the ownership and watchful eye of Sheikh Mansour the Italian manager was instructed to turn Mark Hughes’ top ten squad into a leading team in European football.
Almost two calendar years have since passed, and progress is good.
Mancini has assembled the most talented squad of individuals in world football; all he has to do is turn them into a team.
The club have had their teething problems, which have all been well documented, but after securing the signings of Sergio Aguero and Samir Nasri during the current transfer window, and based on their pre-season forms, the Citizens have one of the strongest claims to the Premier League crown.
Roberto Mancini himself has said:
“We have a great chance of winning the title this season. When we won in 1968, you could have got 200-1 on us before the season started but we went on to do it. I can see the attitude of our players then in the players we have now” (Source: Daily Mail.)
This slideshow will assess the Citizen’s league title aspirations for the season.
For: They Have the Best Squad of Individuals In the World
This is by no means an assertion that Manchester City is the best team in the world.
Barcelona and Manchester United have earned their place as the best two teams in the world because they have combined flair with team work.
Manchester City does however have a squad consisting of more world class players.
In their last two Premier League games they have named: Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Mario Balotelli, Adam Johnson, James Milner, Gael Clichy, Stefan Savic, Alexsander Kolarov and Costel Pantillimon, as substitutes.
When compared to the substitutions their rivals to fourth position are able to make, stark contrasts can certainly be made.
Manchester United has been able to turn to the likes of Ryan Giggs, Chicharito, Park Ji- Sung and Dimitar Berbatov from the sub bench, but bench edges it in terms of individual quality.
Likewise, Chelsea have had the luxury of being able to place Didier Drogba, Nicolas Anelka and Florent Malouda on the substitute list, but City’s bench again edges it in terms of quality.
When it comes to Arsenal, Mancini’s options are far superior to the players that Arsene Wenger has at his disposal; Ignasi Miquel, Henri Lansbury and Ryo Miyaichi are not going to strike fear into many Premier League opponents.
So much talent on the subs bench, and the likes of Craig Bellamy, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuel Adebayor unable to find their way into Mancini’s 25 man squad, is an ominous sign of the quality Mancini has at his disposal.
Carlos Tevez, although his future remains in doubt, has been one of the finest players in the Premier League for the past five seasons.
David Silva is one of the most exciting midfielders in the world to watch.
Joe Hart has every right to consider himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League.
Sergio Aguero and Eden Dzeko are two of the finest strikers currently playing in the Europe.
And the list goes on,
Yaya Toure can turn defence to attack, by way of dribbling or passing with immense accuracy, in a split second.
Samir Nasri has established himself as one of the Premier League’s best midfielders.
Vincent Kompany already looks like a fantastic defender and can safely be regarded as one of the best ball winners in the league.
All in all, it cannot be refuted. City has a squad that could become omnipotent.
Against: Brilliant Individuals, Yes, But Can They Play As a Team?
The biggest problem any manager has is not signing players, it is building a team.
Roberto Mancini may have 25 of the best players in world football at his disposal, but they could easily turn into 25 of the world’s most egotistic sports stars.
Players such as David Silva, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry and James Milner are too good for the bench, but, they cannot all play in one midfield at the same time.
If the team wins games in their absence, it is likely that they will not rebel. It is when City start losing that Mancini could face a potential back lash.
If Edin Dzeko fails to perform, and City has Carlos Tevez or Mario Balotelli warming the subs bench, fans will naturally ask why the Italian manager did not select another striker. As will the players themselves.
If the problem is not handled well enough, City are vulnerable to a backlash of disgruntled players, frustrated by a lack of first team football.
For: They Play Very Good Football
Based on their early season form Manchester City will play a fluid, attacking style of football.
Many more short passes are being played in the midfield and David Silva has become a real menace to Premier League defences.
With Nigel De Jong occupying the holding midfield roll players such as Yaya Toure, David Silva and Samir Nasri will be able to play a far more expressive, and attack orientated style of football.
The team has players who are capable of attacking from both out wide and in the centre meaning that strikers Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez and Edin Dzeko will be on the receiving end of an abundance of goal scoring opportunities.
Their defence has conceded goals and has looked a little vulnerable at times, but they have been worked a little more than they are perhaps accustomed to after last year’s season of grinding out low scoring victories.
Against: Manchester United And Chelsea Are Still Strong Teams
Manchester United and Chelsea are two very strong teams.
It would be disrespectful to assume that Manchester City have the mark on them because of the reasons already discussed.
Despite the infancy of his new team, Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United looks like they have been playing as a unit for years.
United do have the best defence in the league and have a very efficient midfield core to support them.
With Nani, Young and Valencia occupying the wings, and Darren Fletcher and Tom Cleverley in middle, they have the perfect mixture of creativity, width and central play.
Likewise, Chelsea are strong in most departments.
They have three of the best strikers in the Premier League, but, apart from Mata, they perhaps do not have enough players capable of supplying with a steady stream of goal scoring opportunities.
Between the posts they have Petr Cech, a man who is perhaps the best goalkeeper in the league.
Cech is protected by a solid line of defence that blends experience and aggressiveness together superbly.
For: If They Do Fall Behind, They Will Reinvest at New Years
The little luxury of having big spending factor is something that City will always be able to turn to in their reserve artillery.
They have essentially turned football into a disposable profession, if one footballer is not up to standards, another will be brought in.
Just ask Craig Bellamy, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Wayne Bridge.
Against: Their Defence May Not Be Strong Enough
Despite their goal scoring prowess, Manchester City have conceded two goals in two games, both very much against the run of play.
For large periods in both league games so far their defence, led by new club captain Vincent Kompany, has been relatively untested.
Bolton’s first goal scored by Klasnic is one such example on how City can be caught on the counter attack.
It was a wonderful strike by the Croatian striker after some fine link up play between Nigel Reo Coker and Martin Petrov.
Against: They Have Not Won a League Before
In recent seasons Manchester City have enjoyed strong cup runs, highlighted by their FA Cup victory in May this year.
In the 2009-10 season they reached the semi-final of the league cup and quarter finals of the Europa League for the second time.
Winning the league however is an entirely different proposition.
On their good days Manchester City are formidable, but, on their bad days, they are lacklustre and uninspired.
All too often last season the Citizens were rescued by Carlos Tevez, at times the Argentine was the only spark amongst a bed of dying embers.
All of City’s players will need to rise to the occasion this season, because one thing is for sure; United’s players certainly will.
Last season City racked up eight defeats and nine draws, in comparison to United’s 11 draws and four defeats. This is the kind of consistency that City need to aspire towards.