Formation under Manuel Pellegrini

One question City fans have to ask is what formation Manuel Pellegrini will use if he comes to Manchester? He has favored a 4-2-3-1 at Real Madrid and Malaga. Sporting director Txiki Begiristain apparently would like City to operate in a 4-3-3. Pellegrini has proven to be very flexible, however, as he has at times employed different formations at his former clubs to accent the strengths of his teams or the weaknesses of his opponents.

The problem may be that City’s roster is not optimized by the 4-3-3. City has often used a 4-4-2 or a 4-4-1-1. Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1 is not much different from these formations, as its backbone is having quality midfielders. With Manchester City’s current roster, plus the possible additions of Isco and Fernandinho, playing in a 4-3-3 would minimize the impact of the amount of quality midfielders City would have. Out of Yaya, David Silva, Nasri, Barry, Milner, Isco, Rodwell, and Fernandinho, only 3 could play in the midfield.

The 3 forwards would likely be Aguero, Tevez, and Dzeko, and possibly any other summer signing. With All three of Aguero, Tevez, and Dzeko being rumoured to possibly be leaving Manchester, having a 3 forward formation would not be the best choice with the current roster. If any of Edinson Cavani, Stefan Jovetic, or Marco Reus were able to be obtained by City, the situation would be different. At the moment however, this does not seem likely.

While in the 4-4-1-1 and 4-4-2, Manchester City found some difficulty in scoring this season, but this just be the product of injuries and down-years for Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero, who have both found success in these formations in previous seasons.

A combination of a 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 could be the best option for City. One possible lineup could be:

——————Hart—————–

Zabaleta–Kompany–Nastasic–Clichy

——Fernandinho—-Yaya———-

–Silva———-Isco——–Nasri—

—————-Aguero————–

There could be some flexibility in the midfield, where Yaya would not have to play in the back midfield with Fernandinho. Tevez could also replace Isco in this lineup.

Another possibility when wanting to use more than one striker could be:

——————-Hart—————-

Zabaleta–Kompany–Nastasic–Clichy

Silva—Fernandinho—-Yaya——Isco

————Aguero—Tevez———–

Pellegrini’s 4-2-3-1 may prove to be the best option for Manchester City. Time will tell if this holds true at the end of the summer, depending on what Txiki can do to bolster the roster.

Pellegrini free to leave Malaga

Malaga has stated that Manuel Pellegrini is free to leave at the end of the season without a team needing to trigger his release clause of 4 million euros. Reports from Malaga Hoy are that Pellegrini has already agreed to sign a 2 year deal with Manchester City. A formal announcement is not expected to be made until Malaga is able to secure a Europa League appearance.

Arjen Robben to Manchester City?

Recent speculation has been that Robben is unhappy in his role at Bayern, and that City were pursuing the 29-year old Dutch winger. Sky Sports has since then reported his downplaying of a return to England, saying his focus is on winning the Champions League and his next two seasons at Bayern.

I do not believe Robben would have been a good fit at City anyways, who should be looking to build and retool with younger players. Robben is “only” 29, though it will seem to fans that he is much older than that due to how long he has been playing on the international stage and his balding appearance. If Scott Sinclair was not able to see any time on the pitch, I do not see how Robben would be a big enough improvement to City’s roster to warrant bringing him in.

Summer Transfer Rumours

Manchester City have had their name thrown in the ring for several high profile players for the upcoming summer transfer window. Here are a couple of them:

Isco- the Malaga midfielder is reportedly close to a deal with City and will likely join his manager in Manchester during the summer. The 21 year old Spaniard has a £27 million buyout clause that City appear eager to trigger. Isco is an exciting young player that has a knack for creating and setting up goals. The signing of Isco would likely spell the ending of Samir Nasri’s time at the Etihad.

Edinson Cavani- the Napoli striker has been linked with City for quite some time now. Edin Dzeko had some shining moments the past two seasons, but has not made the impact that he was expected to. Napoli are reportedly ready to accept an offer of £35 million and Dzeko for Cavani. Cavani’s buyout clause is £53 million, so if City are looking to unload Dzeko, this deal would make sense.

End of the Mancini Era

In the last years under Roberto Mancini, City fans have seen their team return to glory, winning the Community Shield, FA Cup, and Premier League in four years. Unfortunately, after failures in the Champions’ League and a lackluster showing this past season in defense of their Premier League title. In most years, finishing second in the league and being in the FA Cup final would be an extremely successful season. However, after tasting first place in the Premier League last season, the fans want more.

It wasn’t truly the second place finish that upset City fans, it was the way in which they played this season. The race for first was over fairly early in the season, and the summer signings did not make the impact that was expected. Matija Nastasic was the only standout of the group, and will be a feature in the defensive center with Vincent Kompany next year. Maicon was unavailable with injuries most of the year, Javi Garcia has been decent, Aleks Kolarov has played sparingly, and promising winger Scott Sinclair has rarely stepped on the pitch. Mancini cited his displeasure with last summer’s transfer window, and vowed to make some marquee signings this summer, but he may not get the chance.

Despite a formal announcement, it is widely speculated that Malaga coach, Manuel Pellegrini, will be taking over as manager for the Blues next year. Manchester City executives have not made a formal announcement of this replacement, but their lack of refuting it speaks volumes. Mancini’s sacking has been speculated for weeks, and recently Pellegrini stated that he likely would not be returning to Malaga next season.

If the reports are true, City fans should support Pellegrini as the new manager (unlike Chelsea fans), and hope for more success in the Champions League (something Pellegrini succeeded in with his underdog Malaga team this season). Still, Mancini’s accomplishments should not be so easily forgotten, as he brought City back from the depths and placed them firmly at the top.

Aston Villa v Manchester City Match Notes

Match Recap coming later tonight:

Aguero out due to injury, filled in by Carlos Tevez.

3′ Danger for City early, as a clearance from Javi Garcia is rocketed high into the air and
Hart does not play it well. Fortunately, no one from Villa was able to capitalize

6′ Sloppy play from City and Villa keep possession within striking range. Villa’s
fans making their presence known.

17′ Possession dominated by Villa so far, City haven’t had a real attempt at goal yet.

21′ Benteke with a great headed chance off of a corner that fortunately went straight
to Carlos Tevez who was able to kick it away.

22′ Immediately after, City pushes the ball down and Silva feeds Rodwell but
Guzan saves easily. Rodwell is injured, hopefully nothing serious. Hate to see such
a promising player with such an injury history.

25′ Edin Dzeko checks in for Jack Rodwell after his tweaked hamstring.

30′ Chance for City but Dzeko makes one more pass than needed and is intercepted.

32′ Milner with a good spot on a free kick, kicks it to the bottom left corner
but Guzan is able to get his hands on it.

37′ Zabaleta with a shot that by all means should have gone in. Bounces off the left post and
goes back across the face of the goal but with no one there to knock it in. Guzan got a
hand on it.

39′ Nice run by Milner, leads to a corner kick.Milner dumps it off to Silva who taps it back
to Milner who has all the space in the world, but somehow misses badly.

40′ Tevez with a shot the Guzan has to stretch to get.

41′ City really pushing the tempo here. Almost had another chance if not for a bad
pass from Zaba.

43′ Kolo Toure uses some muscle to keep Benteke from the ball, is shoved around in the process
but somehow the referee gives a kick in favor of Villa.

45+1′ Sloppy ballhandling by Villa allows Dzeko to steal the ball and hold onto it
long enough for him to find Tevez open, who calmly dribbles around Guzan and slots it in.

47′ Silva finds himself with room to run, passes it off to Tevez who loops it back to
Dzeko, who misses but gives City a corner.

51′ Agbonlahor with a chance, but fortunately City are given a free kick just outside
of their own box before any damage comes from it. (After replay, Agbonlahor clearly stiff-armed
Zaba into the ground, clear call).

53′ Tevez gets a taste of his own medicine as he slots a shot the left side of the
goal but the ball is knocked out by Matthew Lowton similarly to Tevez’s defensive
play earlier.
61′ Kolo Toure with a brilliant defensive play on Agbonlahor as he makes for the goal, forces a
corner.

63′ Challenge by Delph called in deep in Villa territory, Milner to take the kick.
Nothing comes from the play, but another penalty is called just outside the box
on Villa for a challenge on Yaya. Tevez’s penalty goes directly into the wall.

66′ Chance for Agbonlahor, but Nastasic calmy clears it out of bounds. On the throw in,
Lowton takes a deep shot that goes just left of the goal. Much closer than expected.
Hart looked to have been there anyways if it was on target.
Agbonlahor has been extremely active so far in the match.

72′ Yaya with a shot that rattles off the post. Dzeko brings in the rebound, but the flag is up for
offside.

74′ Yellow card for Benteke as he and Nastasic both go up for a header.

75′ Tevez off for Samir Nasri. Nasri needs to play well to get back into Mancini’s
favor. Mancini was critical of Nasri’s play earlier this week.

78′ Phenomenal one-on-one play by Gael Clichy on Benteke keeping Villa from presenting any danger.

80′ Dangerous play from Villa, with two ankle-breaking moves by Delph, but Weimann misses badly.

83′ Villa has made their presence known the last few minutes, keeping City defenders on their toes.

84′ Javi Garcia gets his foot on a corner kick, but it goes just about a foot wide of the post.

87′ Villa want a penalty for a tackle on Benteke in the box, but don’t get it. Villa still looking dangerous
despite not having a goal. After a replay, it appears that Benteke committed a handball during the
play so it was a good no call.

90′ Gareth Barry on for David Silva. Barry gets a mixture of cheers and boos from his former club.

90+2′ Late push for Villa as they scramble to retain possession, chance on goal but Kolo Toure
clears it away.

90+3′ Awful corner kick for Villa that lands on the top of the net. That knocks the wind out of Villa fans’ sails.

90+4′ Yellow card for Delph for a tackle on Yaya. That is Delph’s 10th yellow, leading the league.
That will earn him a 2 match ban.

Whistle blows. Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City

Man of the Match: Kolo Toure
Honorable mentions: Carlos Tevez, Brad Guzan

Aston Villa v Manchester City Match Notes

Match Recap coming later tonight:

Aguero out due to injury, filled in by Carlos Tevez.

3′ Danger for City early, as a clearance from Javi Garcia is rocketed high into the air and
Hart does not play it well. Fortunately, no one from Villa was able to capitalize

6′ Sloppy play from City and Villa keep possession within striking range. Villa’s
fans making their presence known.

17′ Possession dominated by Villa so far, City haven’t had a real attempt at goal yet.

21′ Benteke with a great headed chance off of a corner that fortunately went straight
to Carlos Tevez who was able to kick it away.

22′ Immediately after, City pushes the ball down and Silva feeds Rodwell but
Guzan saves easily. Rodwell is injured, hopefully nothing serious. Hate to see such
a promising player with such an injury history.

25′ Edin Dzeko checks in for Jack Rodwell after his tweaked hamstring.

30′ Chance for City but Dzeko makes one more pass than needed and is intercepted.

32′ Milner with a good spot on a free kick, kicks it to the bottom left corner
but Guzan is able to get his hands on it.

37′ Zabaleta with a shot that by all means should have gone in. Bounces off the left post and
goes back across the face of the goal but with no one there to knock it in. Guzan got a
hand on it.

39′ Nice run by Milner, leads to a corner kick.Milner dumps it off to Silva who taps it back
to Milner who has all the space in the world, but somehow misses badly.

40′ Tevez with a shot the Guzan has to stretch to get.

41′ City really pushing the tempo here. Almost had another chance if not for a bad
pass from Zaba.

43′ Kolo Toure uses some muscle to keep Benteke from the ball, is shoved around in the process
but somehow the referee gives a kick in favor of Villa.

45+1′ Sloppy ballhandling by Villa allows Dzeko to steal the ball and hold onto it
long enough for him to find Tevez open, who calmly dribbles around Guzan and slots it in.

47′ Silva finds himself with room to run, passes it off to Tevez who loops it back to
Dzeko, who misses but gives City a corner.

51′ Agbonlahor with a chance, but fortunately City are given a free kick just outside
of their own box before any damage comes from it. (After replay, Agbonlahor clearly stiff-armed
Zaba into the ground, clear call).

53′ Tevez gets a taste of his own medicine as he slots a shot the left side of the
goal but the ball is knocked out by Matthew Lowton similarly to Tevez’s defensive
play earlier.
61′ Kolo Toure with a brilliant defensive play on Agbonlahor as he makes for the goal, forces a
corner.

63′ Challenge by Delph called in deep in Villa territory, Milner to take the kick.
Nothing comes from the play, but another penalty is called just outside the box
on Villa for a challenge on Yaya. Tevez’s penalty goes directly into the wall.

66′ Chance for Agbonlahor, but Nastasic calmy clears it out of bounds. On the throw in,
Lowton takes a deep shot that goes just left of the goal. Much closer than expected.
Hart looked to have been there anyways if it was on target.
Agbonlahor has been extremely active so far in the match.

72′ Yaya with a shot that rattles off the post. Dzeko brings in the rebound, but the flag is up for
offside.

74′ Yellow card for Benteke as he and Nastasic both go up for a header.

75′ Tevez off for Samir Nasri. Nasri needs to play well to get back into Mancini’s
favor. Mancini was critical of Nasri’s play earlier this week.

78′ Phenomenal one-on-one play by Gael Clichy on Benteke keeping Villa from presenting any danger.

80′ Dangerous play from Villa, with two ankle-breaking moves by Delph, but Weimann misses badly.

83′ Villa has made their presence known the last few minutes, keeping City defenders on their toes.

84′ Javi Garcia gets his foot on a corner kick, but it goes just about a foot wide of the post.

87′ Villa want a penalty for a tackle on Benteke in the box, but don’t get it. Villa still looking dangerous
despite not having a goal. After a replay, it appears that Benteke committed a handball during the
play so it was a good no call.

90′ Gareth Barry on for David Silva. Barry gets a mixture of cheers and boos from his former club.

90+2′ Late push for Villa as they scramble to retain possession, chance on goal but Kolo Toure
clears it away.

90+3′ Awful corner kick for Villa that lands on the top of the net. That knocks the wind out of Villa fans’ sails.

90+4′ Yellow card for Delph for a tackle on Yaya. That is Delph’s 10th yellow, leading the league.
That will earn him a 2 match ban.

Whistle blows. Aston Villa 0-1 Manchester City

Man of the Match: Kolo Toure
Honorable mentions: Carlos Tevez, Brad Guzan