A Citizen Abroad : 2014/15 Season Preview

After a very long hiatus, I am back to talk to everyone about the upcoming season for the CHAMPIONS, Manchester City! So, let’s get into this thing. As opposed to some long winded post (like I normally do), I will attempt to streamline this one, and just give you the meat and potatoes.

Who’s new? Who’s gone?

Players IN Players OUT
Willy Caballero



Gareth Barry



Eliaquim Mangala



Joleon Lescott


West Brom




Costel Pantilimon



Bruno Zuculini



Karim Rekik


Loan to PSV

Bacary Sagna



Emyr Huws


Loan to Wigan

Frank Lampard


Loan from New York City

Marcos Lopes


Loan to Lille


Who could challenge us for the title?


With Jose Mourinho entering his second season back at the club, he has been able to open the war chest and bring in some quality players. I don’t expect them to change their style drastically, so expect plenty of bus parking, but I do think that they will be much faster on the counter and will try to catch teams out on the break. Mourinho has brought in Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, and allowed Thibaut Courtois to stay at the club. This means that in midfield they are very deep, and in defense/goal they will have plenty of experience and talent to shut down most clubs in the Premier League. I fully expect them to pick up plenty of points by winning matches 1-0 and having less than 50% possession. I don’t see them dropping many points this season, unless they get hit by an injury bug or Mourinho makes too many people mad.


Brendan Rodgers has sold racist cannibal striker Luiz Suarez, and has spent the money from that transfer to try and strengthen his squad so that they can compete on four fronts. The Scousers are coming off one of the better seasons in the club’s recent history, but this season they will have to cope with being back in the Champions League. While they have bought half of Southampton, along with some other players, two questions still remain. Can Liverpool succeed without Suarez? And, can Liverpool compete on four fronts? We know that they will still play a very attacking style of football, but should a few players get injured, I’m not so sure that style will be as potent. This season should tell us whether or not the bin dippers are back.


I guess Arsene Wenger has finally decided that if you can’t beat them, join them, because he has finally decided to spend some money. I don’t know for sure, but I suspect he’s been told that if they don’t win a major trophy, he may be on the way out. He has added some players in defense and Alexis Sanchez from Barcelona. What Arsenal lacks in the defensive depth, they more than make up for in quick, creative, attacking players. As always, we have to ask if Arsenal can keep the pedal down for the entire season. The last few years we have seen them start like a house on fire, but fall off towards the end of the season. Some of this is down to injuries to key players, the rest seems to be down to the players forgetting how to defend. If they can stay healthy, and they can be consistent from August to May, I think Arsenal could definitely be around come the end of the season.


What should be considered a successful season for City?

For me, I think that we need to win at least one domestic trophy (preferably the Premier League), and a quarter or semi-final run in the Champions League. While I do believe that we will be competing for the Champions League trophy soon, I don’t think it’ll be this year. Not that I don’t think our squad isn’t strong enough, I just have a feeling about it I guess.

Thanks for reading, and I can’t wait to bring you more (hopefully somewhat decent) content this season!!

The Citizen Abroad


Joey McCune

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BMD Biography – Liz Inga (5/28/14)

Introducing one of our members since Day 1 of Blue Moon Dallas. Liz Inga!



-Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?

Hi all! I’m Liz, born and bred in Dallas. My parents are from Peru so I was practically raised with a soccer ball at my feet-it’s in my blood. I’m a pediatric occupational therapist which can be stressful, so I look forward to letting loose every weekend-though City can be a different kind of stress! I’ve even converted my brother, Marcus, and we’ve become even more close through our love of City. PS-We’re working on our other brother, and the big fish-our dad!

-Everyone has a personal reason why they choose to join up with an organization. Why did you choose to join BMD?

I grew up going to the old Dallas Tornado games and made it to one in Lima, Peru-ultras made it scary yet thrilling. BMD is about as close as I can get to that kind of game experience until I get to one. I’m just glad everybody is so active and loud. I’ve never been a cheerleader type, but you can’t help but lose your voice and I love it.

-What is your experience with Manchester City that made you fall in love with the club?

No. 1 has to be the fans, esp the life long fans that have followed City through it all and the Manc humor that I’m still getting used to-those chants! Then you see what Sheikh Mansour is doing in Manchester and how can you not be proud? Ofc, there’s the never say die, keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat players and manager.

-If you had to pick just one player to call your favorite, who would it be and why?

David Silva. Muy hermoso…oh yeah and he’s great player!


-Best ever City goal?

Yaya’s for the FA win…Kompany’s header vs Rags…technically? I’ll be biased and say Silva’s 1st PL goal for City vs Blackpool. It had jinking and passed 3 players.

-Have you seen City play in person?

This SUMMER i will!!!

-As a member of BMD, how has your experience been so far?

Wonderful. It’s such an open, friendly group. My family is impressed I actually wake up early on a weekend morning, and it’s worth it.

-Blue Moon Dallas watches matches at The Londoner Frisco. What are your thoughts on the pub?

I’ve always liked The Londoner. Great beer, good atmosphere.

-Most memorable game or moment with BMD?

Has to be the conga line vs Rags at the Addison Londoner. Even though we lost and I didn’t join in, that’s when I knew I had found truly passionate and proud fans. I was hooked.

-Last question. Where were you when Aguero scored?

LOL, I had left Marcus and my dad to go home to rant and rave alone. When Agueroooo happened, I was running around my house screaming and crying at the same time!


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BMD Biography – George Sherwood (3/21/14)

You’ve all seen this guy parked in his spot at the bar on matchdays.  It’s George!  Let’s ave it.


Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?

George Sherwood currently living in Frisco, but originally from the Midwest.  Spent almost 25 years flying in the Navy, so actually lived all over, but decided to settle in Texas after I retired.

Everyone has a personal reason why they choose to join up with an organization. Why did you choose to join BMD?

As my interest in Manchester City continued to grow, I was looking for a way to understand the Club better and hopefully be around like minded people.  I have found both in BMD.

What is your experience with Manchester City that made you fall in love with the club?

For me from the start, it felt like a small club in a big league.  Enjoyed watching them play and the more I learned about the Club, the more I knew that my decision was the right one.

If you had to pick just one player to call your favorite, who would it be and why?

For a current player it has to be Vincent Kompany.  To me he is Manchester City.   Although he is the Captain I also see him as the heart and soul of the team.  We just don’t play as well when he is out.  It has been an adventure for me to learn about the great city names of the past also.

 Best City goal?

For me it has to be the goal Yaya scored against Norwich on a free kick in the 7-0 win on 2 November 2013.  For me it is the best because I saw it in person from the first row down in the corner.



Have you seen City play in person?

Had the chance to see them demolish Norwich last November 7-0.  What a great experience. Can’t wait to go back May for another match and see them at least twice on the US Tour this summer.

Where were you when Aguero scored?

Sitting at my house watching on TV.  Looking forward to the match all week I was just thinking how lucky we are to have the last important match against QPR who were on the verge of being relegated.  I couldn’t believe it when we fell behind and the time kept ticking away.  Seeing Aguero score that goal as time was running out was pure joy!

As a member of BMD, how has your experience been so far?

It has been great, I really couldn’t ask for anything more.  I get to watch City every weekend and spend a few hours with a group of people that I enjoy so much to be around.  I can’t imagine any better supporters group.

george with sean vinesh

Blue Moon Dallas watches matches at The Londoner Frisco. What are your thoughts on the pub?

I think the pub is great.  I have enough experiences in bars to know that GM’s are going to come and go, but overall I am happy with the way we are treated and the majority of the stuff seems to go out of their way to make our group feel very welcome there.  At points the Londoner staff almost feels like an extension of BMD.

Last Question.  Most memorable game or moment with BMD?

Without a doubt it has to be the League Cup win this year.  It was an incredible special day from the large group we had watching to the celebrations after the win.  I felt so great that day to be a City Supporter and a member of BMD.

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BMD Biography – Todd Oliver (3/20/14)

We haven’t done one of these in a while, but let’s hear from more BMD members about themselves and their City experience!!!  Today’s BMD Bio is from Todd Oliver.  You know this lad is “Madferit”.


Would you like to introduce yourself and tell us where you are from?

I’m Todd Oliver. I was born in NJ but have lived in Plano, TX since age 5. So I consider Texas my home.

Everyone has a personal reason why they choose to join up with an organization. Why did you choose to join BMD?

Being new to English football and technically not having a team yet, I went on a yearlong tour of 5-6 supporters clubs. Very few were impressive and none really grabbed a hold of me or my son Alex. I actually enjoyed the experience for the most part getting to see how each supporters club had different traditions and atmospheres. I emailed the BMD website and was immediately recruited and made to feel very welcome. The club actually chose me not the other way around and the first night I met everyone, I knew I had found my home with BMD. It is the only club that I feel truly has a family atmosphere and brotherhood. Whether you’ve been watching 1 day or 50 years, everyone is treated the same. A Blue is a Blue.

What is your experience with Manchester City that made you fall in love with the club?

The very first match I ever saw in the Premier League was on May 13, 2012 (MCFC 3- QPR 2) I could not believe what I was seeing.  My heart was breaking. I was crying and I had no dog in the fight. But hearing the back story before and during the match, I wanted to see Man City get the title. Seeing the supporters crying was pulling my heart and I was sobbing but didn’t know why. My son was looking at me like I was crazy, but I really felt the pain looking at those faces and reactions in the stands. Then the equalizer followed by the most amazing goal by Aguero. I was jumping up and down with my son yelling and crying that City had done it. I had chills running up and down my spine, I re-watched that moment at least 10 times that day. It was the best sports moment I had experienced in any sport and it was my first match I ever watched. I was hooked immediately. But I told myself, I couldn’t choose City (having just won the title, not wanting to be a glory hunter) until I gave it a full year the next season watching with an open mind to all teams (except the Rags) But City chose me that day to be a supporter, there was no denying it, and I knew all year in my heart.

If you had to pick just one player to call your favorite, who would it be and why?

David Silva.  He glides across the pitch like a piece of lost lightning.  He sees things on the pitch that no one else does. He always finds space and the beauty of his game is amazing. He’s an artist on the pitch. Maybe the smallest in stature, but has the biggest heart. He’s Merlin.

Best City goal you’ve seen?

The best City goal I’ve ever seen is without a doubt the Yaya Toure 30 yd bender in the top corner vs Sunderland in the Capital One Cup final vs Sunderland when we were 1-0 down. It was an amazing strike from distance and the keeper was helpless to even come close to it. It was a stunner for sure and it was the catalyst we needed to win the Cup.

Have you seen City play in person?

I have never seen City play in person, but that will all change May 11, 2014. I will see Man City play West Ham at The Etihad!

As a member of BMD, how has your experience been so far?

BMD has been the greatest sports experience I could ever imagine. Every match is like a Super Bowl party. Best 2 hours of my week. I’ve made friends with some of the best folks I have ever met and feel like I have a new family for lifetime to come.

Blue Moon Dallas watches matches at The Londoner Frisco. What are your thoughts on the pub?

The Heart of The City is such a great pub to watch City play their matches.  It’s by far the best venue I have been to in DFW for football.

Where were you when Aguero scored?

I was at my house in Plano with my son Alex in our sports room. That’s the genesis of our Manchester City fanaticism.

Last question.  Most memorable game or moment with BMD?

The League Cup win vs. Sunderland 3-1. We were grown men hugging, teary eyed, and singing our hearts out. I feel blessed to have been with BMD for our first ever hardware as a supporters club. Champagne all around and I have the Rolls Royce group picture framed in my office to remember the experience!


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A Citizen Abroad: A word about the Chelsea game

We lost to the better team on the night; let’s all calm down a bit though.


Jose Mourinho out managed Manuel Pellegrini. That’s just how it’s been since these two started competing against each other. City were beaten at home, despite having the majority of the possession and a ton of shots. But sometimes that happens. This is football. There’s no need for moaning about Chelsea parking the bus, because they didn’t. They played great counter attacking football, and we couldn’t score. That is exactly how it went down.

This is the part where I might rub some people the wrong way but, if you know me, that’s kind of my thing. Some of us need to pump the brakes. When we went down 0-1 there was panic everywhere. Why? Seriously, why? Because we weren’t as stellar as we had been all season and gave up a goal? Since when is that a reason to panic? I’ve seen this club come back from being down 1 more times than I can even remember. This match should act as a reality check for some of us. Sure, we lost. But a loss to Chelsea without three of our best players out is nothing to panic about. Have you already forgotten about being in the second and third division? We are still very much in the title race. We are in the round of 16 in the Champions League. We are still in the FA Cup. Oh, and we are in the final of the League Cup. So before we get all worried, let’s remember where we’ve been, where we are now, and where we are going.

I’ll step off my soap box and stop wagging my finger now. Sometimes you need matches like this so that you can learn from them. So let’s dig into this a bit. First off, I just want everyone to know that it’s okay. Sometimes you lose, it’s how this sport works. We will regroup, the gaffer will pour over the tape and make changes, and the season will go on. Secondly, this season was never going to be a cakewalk for anyone. Not for Chelsea, not for Arsenal, not for Liverpool, and certainly not for us. This campaign will come down to the last few games of the season, and that’s okay. We aren’t the only ones that are going to have tough games, or a congested schedule, or injury issues. So going forward, our club needs to take it one game at a time and focus on taking maximum points from the remaining matches. Lastly, let’s take a look at our squad. Sure, we have some important injuries, but we also have some players that can use this as an opportunity to shine. Jesus Navas was magnificent against Chelsea. He created chance after chance, we just couldn’t finish them. He worked up and down the right wing and always looked a threat. The best news about him? He’s only getting better. The more he plays with Zaba, the better he looks. Jesus saves, don’t forget it. There is another player that showed some promise tonight. Stevan Jovetic came on as a sub around the hour mark and he added something to the match that our starting strikers lacked. The problem with starting two big Number 9 style strikers is that they tend to make the same runs, and they need the ball played to them to really impact the match. With Agüero we have a striker that is all over the pitch and you never know what type of run he is going to make. Jovetic is sort of a combination of the Agüero style player, and the Number 9. Jovetic is very comfortable dropping off his striker partner and finding the ball in midfield. He also has the pace and trickery to beat a defender off the dribble. And, as we saw towards the end of the match, he is not scared to take a shot from outside the box through traffic. His powerful, curling effort at the end of the match was a beauty, but he was matched by Chelsea’s keeper. In Agüero’s absence, we may see Jovetic start to show why we paid so much money to bring him in.

All in all, these are great times to be a Manchester City supporter. Sure, there have been some bumpy patches this season, but there is no need to fret. We we’re second best tonight. The difference between us and other supporters is that we know when we’ve been bested, and we don’t have to complain or hide. We are realistic about it. We lost, Chelsea carried out Mourinho’s plan magnificently. Fair play to them. It is a long season folks, and City have a lot more in their locker. Wear the crest proud with your head held high. You are a City supporter and adversity has been your closest acquaintance your entire life. This too shall pass, Blues. On to the next one! CTID!

A Citizen Abroad

W.T.F.I. Joey McCune

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A Citizen Abroad: Welcome to Silly Season!


Oh Silly Season, how I love thee. You never fail to amaze me with your multitude of rumors, lies, turncoats, and saviors. You are the professional wrestling (sports entertainment?) of the soccer world, and I can’t get enough of it! And the fact that you are still showing up mid-season is just scandalous! This is the time of year that relegation threatened clubs can turn things around with some smart moves, or a title contender could bring in the catalyst that pushes them to the top. Also, Fulham.

As many of you know, Citeh are linked with a ludicrous (not the rapper of Move B*tch fame) number of transfers every single transfer window. Already this month we’ve been linked with Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Diego Costa, and Radamel Falcao. Now, could these moves ever happen? No chance Anything is possible I suppose. But, I would rather focus on players that our club could actually bring in. Due to our congested schedule we are seeing a lot of players pick up non-contact injuries, which are usually caused by over use. This transfer window would be a great time to add a bit of depth, and maybe get rid of a little dead weight.

In my opinion, we need cover in defense, in the middle of the park, and we could use another winger/creative midfielder. At center back and right back we have been ravaged by injuries, and some of our players aren’t getting any younger. I would like to see a versatile defender come in that could play right back or center back, and it is a must that they are able to play with the ball at their feet. With the system that the gaffer has installed, our club needs defenders that can play smart passes and work their way out of trouble. In midfield we must find someone that can spell Fernandinho and Yaya Toure. Javi Garcia has been a bust, and Jack Rodwell’s hamstrings tear easier than Hulk Hogan’s shirt. James Milner could play in the middle just fine, but we still need someone that can recycle play and is comfortable playing passes from deep. Lastly, with the recent injury to Samir Nasri (Yanga-Mbiwa is a dead man) it is vital that we find another wide player or creative player to rest Silva and Navas. Now there are big name players in every league, but these players come with a big price and it would be reckless to only target big money players. I have compiled a list of players (some established expensive players, some up and comers at a decent price) that I believe could fit in to the club and could enhance the team immediately.

Center Back


Top of my list is Semih Kaya of Galatasaray. Is he a huge name? Not yet, but I’d rather us snap him up now before someone else finds out about him. Kaya is a talented player that has been playing at the highest level in Turkey for some time now, and has plenty of experience in the UCL. At his current value he would be a steal, almost as much of a steal as Nastasic was. Paying his transfer fee would not be a problem for our club, but there is an alternative method to get him to come to the northwest of England. A swap plus cash deal. Roberto Mancini (I miss you Bobby Manc) has never been one to let a defender leave his club without being properly compensated, and we have a defender who is out of contract in June of this year. This defender has been linked to a move away from the club, and Mancini was always a fan of his. Joleon Lescott. Joleon’s market price is listed higher than Semih, but it would never be reached seeing as how little time is left on his contract and his age. If Mancini would go for the deal, which I think is a definite possibility, I believe we could secure Kaya for Joleon Lescott plus some cash. Mark my words. Semih Kaya will play in a major league in Europe for a big club. I would love that club to be Manchester City.

Next on the list is Kurt Zouma of Saint-Étienne in France. There isn’t a powerhouse club in Europe that isn’t going in for this kid. He has been playing in Ligue 1 for close to three years now, and he doesn’t turn 20 until this October. This is not just a move for the future, Zouma is good enough to play for our club right now. Much like Nastasic, Kurt Zouma is years ahead of his peers. He is part of a young group of French players that are all very confident on the ball, and are also positionally sound. Don’t be surprised if this kid makes France’s World Cup squad this summer.

Fabian Schär is a 22 year old Swiss defender at Basel that is already rumored to be headed to all of the top clubs in England. He has already been capped for his country and has been a stud for his club over the past season and a half. He is another defender that is very comfortable on the ball, and is tactically ahead of many others his age. Playing at Basel has afforded him the chance to play Champions League football against some of the best players in Europe, so he would be completely prepared to play at the level that City would expect of him. He is the cheapest option of all of the names on my list, but he is without a doubt on the same level as the rest. If Fabian is to come to England, I would rather see him in sky blue than in some crap hole down in London.

Lastly, we have the most expensive and sought after member of my list. Eliaquim Mangala is a center half for Portuguese powerhouse, FC Porto. This French defender would cost 20 million at minimum to bring to the club. In my opinion, spending that much on a defender in January is a waste of money and smells of desperation. This could be the reason that Manchester United is so heavily linked with this player. Hard to believe a mid-table club has so much money. I digress. Mangala has plenty of experience in Europe at a young age, and was also recently capped by France. Mangala’s time may be running low at Porto but I do not see our club breaking the bank for him in this window. Summer is a different story.

Central Midfield


This category is more than just a defender or a box to box guy. In our system, the players in the center of the pitch have to be able to unlock defenses with through passes from deeper positions as well as regain possession. This list will have a mix of players that are more defensive and players that are more comfortable moving the ball from the middle third of the pitch into the attacking third.

My top defensive midfielder was Nemanja Matic of Benfica, until I saw that Chelsea has all but signed the player for a staggering amount of money. This made me look elsewhere for players that fit the Fernandinho role. On my search I found another Brazilian playing in a cold weather country, much like ‘dinho when he was at Shakhtar. That player is Rômulo of Spartak Moscow in Russia. This is an extremely risky move because he has not played since September, when ruptured a cruciate ligament in his knee. He is cleared to return to the pitch at the end of January though, which would allow us to let him find fitness in FA Cup matches or even Premier League matches. Unlike Fernandinho, this player is thought of quite highly by Brazil’s manager, and he was part of the Brazilian Olympic team during London 2012. He is plenty comfortable sitting quite deep in midfield and breaking up play and recycling possession. At 23 years old, he has a bright future in Europe and could bring more speed and control in midfield than Javi Garcia has provided. Seeing as he is currently injured, he could come at a cut rate price, which could turn out to be a very savvy move by the Citizens.

Next is Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan. This kid is going to be something special, there’s no way around it. He is cut from the Pirlo mold in my opinion. Not a tackler, but not a box to box guy. He sits behind the creative players and helps spread play to the wings with pinpoint accuracy, or drags players out of position with intelligent movement and patience in possession. He would cost a pretty penny, but if used right he would be worth every bit. He will be playing in the World Cup for Croatia this summer, and is sure to turn some heads.  I’d love to see this player spraying the ball all over the pitch from the center circle in the coming years. Quality player.

The last player is youngster who plies his trade at Derby County in the Championship, and he is being courted by Liverpool and Everton. Will Hughes has been playing for Derby’s first team since he was 16 years old. At 18, he is already more composed than many central midfielders that are older than him. Hughes is a creative player that loves to operate in the middle of the park and unlock defenses. He’s got a sweet left foot, hawk eye vision, and the teen age bravery that allows him to attempt runs and passes that other players wouldn’t dare. His passing ability would be a great addition to our side, but I do not think that we could sign him this month. I wouldn’t be surprised if a pre-contract was worked out, and he was allowed to finish the season at Derby and then move to City in the summer. One for the future.

Winger/Attacking Midfielder


If there is one player that I would like to see City splash a lot of cash on in this window it would be Antoine Griezmann of Real Sociedad. This French winger has flown under the radar in Spain for a few years, but his star is shining brighter now than ever before. From the left wing position, he has scored 12 goals and assisted 2 through sixteen La Liga matches this season. Pacey, direct, and deadly. Griezmann has yet to be capped at the full level for France, which will keep his price down a bit, but he could still cost close to 15 million. I would be thrilled to see this guy end up in the blue half of Manchester as I believe he has a lot to offer. If you don’t believe me please check this out. And if you have more free time, check out his performance against Real Madrid, simply magnificent.

Another option in this department is to start playing our own little genius Marcos Lopes (Rony if you’re nasty). I’ve talked ad nauseam about this kid for the past two years, and I think it’s about time that he gets his breakthrough in the squad. He is one of the best teenagers in Europe, and he tore apart Bayern Munich recently in the UEFA Youth League. If you’ve ever talked to me you know how strongly I feel about this kid’s potential, so just check out that video and cross your fingers that his time has come. He will one day wear the number 10 for our club.

My final two suggestions in this department are tricky ones because of who the players are. Adam Lallana and Jeremy Menez are two of the most talented players in their respective leagues. Lallana is the leader of a free flowing Southampton squad, and Menez is a dangerous winger that has grown unhappy at PSG. Lallana would be very hard to pry away from Southampton, but if it were to happen, Manchester City would have bagged themselves one hell of a player. Comfortable on both wings and in the middle of the park, Adam Lallana can do it all and has the versatility that Pellegrini would love. It would be a difficult transfer, but would be well worth it. Menez, on the other hand, is in the final six months of his contract and is reportedly hankering for a move away from PSG. He’s a big, fast winger that starred at Roma before moving back to his home country. At 26, he would be available to work out a contract with our club and move in the summer for free. But, if we wanted to get the hole in our line up filled immediately we would have to dish out 10 million plus. It would be money well spent, as he can play on the wing or as a support striker to give our boys up front a bit of a rest. He will be looking to get more playing time ahead of the World Cup, and would do well as a rotation player with Jesus Navas.

Right, so that is my view on who would fit in at Manchester City if they feel the need to spend some money in this transfer window. I hope I opened your eyes and minds to some players that you maybe hadn’t heard of previously, and that you might take a peek at soon. I’d love to hear your thoughts on who you think City should move for before the window ends! Comment on this post, or tweet me @jtmccune.

Until next time

The Citizen Abroad

Joey MCune

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A Citizen Abroad; City 7-0 Norwich. Pellegrini Masterclass

Tactical Breakdown of the Demolition

Manuel Pellegrini Manchester City        Manchester City’s dominant 7-0 victory of Norwich City was our chance, as supporters, to see what Manuel Pellegrini really intends to do with our club. The 4-1 drubbing of United made everyone feel amazing, but it didn’t showcase the style that Pellegrini was known for when he was the manager of the Yellow Submarine. Now we’ll break down what “the Engineer” is planning to do with the sky blues.

            Pellegrini has always been partial to a modified 4-4-2, which is usually called a 4-2-2-2. This formation requires two dedicated holding midfielders, two creative midfielders, and two strikers. Also, Pellegrini historically has not been a fan of natural wide men and prefers to have his fullbacks bomb on to provide width in attack, and with this group he has a wealth of options. In this match we saw Zaba and Clichy in the attacking third more than in any other match. Sitting in front of the back four, we have Yaya Toure and Fernandinho. This difference here, from what he has been known for, is that the gaffer allows Yaya to rush into attack much more than he has allowed other midfielders in the past. The reason for this is the magnificent positional play of Fernandinho, and the Brazilian’s ability to recycle possession and play short, safe passes. ‘Dinho’s ability to sit deep and keep possession allows Yaya to bomb on and join attack. This is a dynamic relationship that can switched throughout the match in order to give one or the other a rest. Ahead of these players are the two creators. In the past, Pellegrini has placed his most creative player on the left, regardless of the player’s favored foot (Riquelme at Villarreal). In this match we saw Silva on the left and Nasri on the right. This personnel choice prevents the opposing team from shifting the defense to one side. Although they were nominally on the wings, both players drifted centrally, or sometimes to the other side of the pitch. Up front we had Negredo/Dzeko and Agüero, who acted as an old school striker duo. Negredo was a battering ram that spent most of his time right down the center, while Agüero had a freer role.

With the line-up out of the way, we can now look at the masterpiece that was carved into the pitch. The play and movement was worthy of the Louvre, simply stupendous. As supporters, we got a heavy dose of the “corner triangles” that Pellegrini loves. He pushes his fullback forward and his creator towards the middle, at the same time he drags on striker to that side of the pitch and forces the defense to over commit. In order to create these triangles you must set the defense up for failure. This is not done through route 1 football, but throw a varied speed of build up play. After a sequence of short passing, City break forward with quick, medium range passes on the floor that force the defense to get their shape back in a hurry. Next the ball is moved the corners, and then towards the box where chances are created. Get used to this sort of build up play as the season goes on.

A few take-aways from this match: David Silva is back to his magisterial best. The man is simply made from different parts than the rest of us. That being said, he and Nasri have a tendency to move into central positions, which tend to create a lot of congestion in the middle of the pitch. Hopefully this can be remedied with a bit of communication and the team can tick on. Lastly, Jesus is faster than sin. The man made a run late in the second half that was mind numbing. Look for him to get more minutes again as the season moves on and we start finding out which clubs have weak fullbacks.

So, there you have it, the Pellegrini Plan. Creative players, overlap from the fullbacks, and tricky passing. Hopefully this will be the way to glory.  Not a bad option after missing out on football genius David Moyes.  Until next time Blues…

A Citizen Abroad

WTFI Joey McCune (@jtmccune on the twitter machine)

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