The situation is not as bright in Europe, however, as Manchester City’s first UEFA Champions League campaign since the late ‘60s seems all but certain to end in a disappointing demotion to the Europa League.
The (in)experience factor
Knowledge, understanding and experience of the European game are key factors that certainly Manchester City lacks,LaMarr Woodley Youth Jersey. In spite of spending all that money since August 2008, when the Abu Dhabi United Group purchased the club, only four players currently on their books have lifted the coveted trophy before: Yaya Touré (with Barcelona), Mario Balotelli (with Internazionale), Owen Hargreaves (with Bayern Munich) and… Carlitos Alberto Tévez (with Man Utd.). Four,Ahmad Bradshaw Youth Jersey, did I mention? Better make that two, for obvious reasons.
As for the club itself, they may claimed the Cup Winners’ Cup back in 1970, but subsequently stayed out of European competition altogether for 25 years before returning in 2003. And despite spending all that cash on top class recruits they have found it hard to cope. Under their new ownership the Citizens have lost to not one, but two Danish outfits, Midtjylland (1-0 at home) and AaB, suffered painful defeats at Racing de Santander and Lech Poznań, both times by a 3-1 scoreline, and failed to overcome really strong sides, such as PSG, Hamburg and Juventus Turin.
Given City’s embarrassment of riches up front (Sergio Agüero, Mario Balotelli, Edin Džeko, Adam Johnson, Samir Nasri,Emmitt Smith Cowboys Jersey, David Silva), their international success mostly depends on their defensive performance. Mancini mainly trusts the Micah Richards, Vincent Kompany,A.J. Jenkins Youth Jersey, Jo Lescott and Gaël Clichy quartet and they, along with international custodian Joe Hart, have earned their side the best defensive record in the Premiership – they’ve only leaked in 12 goals in 13 outings, as few as Newcastle United and Liverpool. However, in the Champions League City have already let in six in five, only keeping a clean sheet at Villarreal (where they won 0-3) – but the depleted Spanish fielded a single forward, the inexperienced Joselu.
So, what now? For the time being, Man City will be hoping and praying that on December 7 they will defeat the mighty Bayern Munich AND Napoli will not beat Villarreal in “El Madrigal”. But even if they do qualify for the Champions League last 16, their troubles will be far from over. With 44 (!) footballers on their first-team books, they will be eager to cut down both their roster and their wage-bill, which last season was the biggest in Europe – a breathtaking 273.3 million dollars. It was also bigger than the club’s turnover, as will be this year too. And with the UEFA Financial Fair Play set to apply, the rules of the game are about to change.
Defending in front of the defense
Manchester City won the FA Cup in 2011, their first major trophy in a long 35 years. The Citizens are currently on top of the 2011/12 the Barclays Premier League table and are odds-on favourites to claim title for the first time since the 1967-’68 season. They have worked their way to the top in style with huges wins over the likes of Tottenham 5-1 and Manchester United 6-1, both away!
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Some could argue that the back four are not getting the help required from the rest of their teammates, as the Italian tactician effectively only fields a single holding midfielder, usually Nigel de Jong, with Yaya Touré mostly playing in front of the Dutchman, virtually acting as City’s playmaker. And there’s also the rotation matter. At the start of December the Manchester outfit has already played 22 matches in four different competitions – and it won’t be getting any easier in the coming months, as they’ve reached the League Cup semifinals and are yet to kick a ball in the defense of their FA Cup crown. Mancini has already used 20 different players in five Champions League games so far and this tactic, though largely imperative, is bound to have an impact on his side’s consistency and effectiveness.
by Panos Bletsos
This scenario begs the question, why is it that nearly $770 million USD of spending on big-cash transfers isn’t enough to guarantee Manchester City international success?
Mancini, Platini and the FFP
Not that City’s boss, Roberto Mancini, has a wealth of European successes under his belt either. In spite of winning 10 domestic trophies since taking up the coach’s job in 2001,Arian Foster Texans Jersey, he hasn’t done particularly well on the international stage. Fiorentina lost both legs of their ’01-’02 UEFA Cup third round tie to Lille without even scoring, Lazio made it to the semis of the ’02-’03 campaign, but finished bottom of their Champions League group the next season, while Inter stumbled at the last eight hurdle twice, in 2005 and again 2006.
HAVE YOUR SAY…Can Manchester City work their way out of this hole in the Champions League,Von Miller Broncos Jersey? Or is Europa League the best they can do? Are they better off keeping their primary focus on the Premier League title? Talk about all issues Manchester City below and get all the official Manchester City gear at the World Soccer Shop.