Sons of LawTown Fool Manchester City

NickEsasky

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City is clicking so far this year. If they do add De Bruyne this team could be scary offensively. That said De Bruyne is a bit more of the same as he's always looking to push forward and doesn't defend well. I'd like to see a bit more balance in their midfield with compliments to some of the more attack oriented midfielders if Pelligrini still wants to play the 4-4-2. But this team can score in bunches for sure. 
 

teddykgb

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Didn't bother making one as last season's thread turned into a bit of an echo chamber.
 
The 4-4-2 is dead.  And it's probably the biggest reason why we've seen such a run of form for City.  Silva playing centrally combined with an extra midfielder has given City something closer to balance.  Sterling has helped a lot.  He's not done a whole lot aside from some great runs, but the very fact that he has to be tracked has given Silva so much more space to operate in.  His time will come, but unleashing Silva completely is worth double his transfer fee to me.  I'll be yammering on about David Silva to my grand kids some day.
 
The thing that has surprised me the most about Sterling is his willingness to track back.  He's rejuvenated Kolarov, who to be fair has has to have Silva as his LM in front of him the last few years and Silva simply never stayed home.  The Kolarov/Sterling pairing has been incredibly destructive thus far.
 
I have a minor concern about KDB because I simply haven't seen enough of him to know if he plays with pace.  The early season City have been helped by leaving Nasri out and having Sterling and Navas really pushing attacks forward.  Navas has literally a single move and is the obvious piece to upgrade, but if KDB slows them down in any way it might make for worse football.  Navas also is very responsible in tracking back.
 

NickEsasky

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Thanks for the education. Seriously. Your posts in here are always enlightening. It's really only been since NBCSN took over that I have been able to regularly watch a lot of MCFC so I still have a ton to learn about formations and actually understanding the smaller things that are going on on the pitch during a match. 
 

teddykgb

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NickEsasky said:
Thanks for the education. Seriously. Your posts in here are always enlightening. It's really only been since NBCSN took over that I have been able to regularly watch a lot of MCFC so I still have a ton to learn about formations and actually understanding the smaller things that are going on on the pitch during a match. 
 
Just remember that anyone who claims to know anything about football is an idiot and an asshole.  It's a beautiful game with thousands of interpretations and any one of them can be right or wrong.  This is why LVG and Mourinho are such pricks.
 

Stanley Steamer

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That's a good point about David Silva, Teddy.
I agree that he's a pleasure to watch, almost all the time. I remember when he and Mata couldn't find a spot in the Spanish national XI, before they came to England. They are each special players, the kind you won't find in England. Perhaps Sterling is more the type you mightn't find in Spain-- all speed and bluster, lacking that bit of skill to finish reliably, but drilled to track back. I haven't watched him much this year, but he creates so much turmoil for opposing defenses that a player like Silva, and perhaps even Yaya, will stand to benefit.
I didn't figure this would be City's year, but on early evidence, they look better than the rest. 3 clean sheets?
 

teddykgb

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Stanley Steamer said:
That's a good point about David Silva, Teddy.
I agree that he's a pleasure to watch, almost all the time. I remember when he and Mata couldn't find a spot in the Spanish national XI, before they came to England. They are each special players, the kind you won't find in England. Perhaps Sterling is more the type you mightn't find in Spain-- all speed and bluster, lacking that bit of skill to finish reliably, but drilled to track back. I haven't watched him much this year, but he creates so much turmoil for opposing defenses that a player like Silva, and perhaps even Yaya, will stand to benefit.
I didn't figure this would be City's year, but on early evidence, they look better than the rest. 3 clean sheets?
 
The player you're describing exists in Spain, his name is Jesus Navas and he plays for City :).  Not as clever with the ball, unfortunately.
 
To be fair on the clean sheets, there have been a few posts and the like which any team that puts together a run of clean sheets will have happen.  They've looked far more reassured and not nearly as chaotic as last season.  They'll leak goals, they play too open to not get hit from time to time, but if they can for the most part avoid the keystone cops routine they put on over and over last season then they'll really be onto something.  City lost all the big moments last season ... they were a team that underperformed their pythag, so to speak.  Just a little more timeliness would go a long way toward putting them back on top.
 
More than anything, right now, I just hope that they can build as big a cushion as possible.  There will be injuries and they won't always be this on form.  It's a very long season so you need to get points while the getting is good to survive when things get a bit more sketchy.  The biggest positive for me aside from the overall form of the team is that this City team is far deeper than the last few runs, so I don't think the CL will have quite as much an impact as it has in the past.  The story will likely remain injuries, they've decimated City the last few seasons.  Luckily, having Otamendi means Kompany has tremendous cover and Bony behind Aguero is a very good player in his own right.  There's no replacement for Silva but if KDB does come you can put plenty of creativity on the pitch if Silva picks up a knock, as he has the past few seasons.
 

Zososoxfan

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Is there a reason why Zabaleta hasn't started on the right, in favor of Sagna? Injury perhaps? The latter has played well, but I love me some Pablo.
 

teddykgb

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Zososoxfan said:
Is there a reason why Zabaleta hasn't started on the right, in favor of Sagna? Injury perhaps? The latter has played well, but I love me some Pablo.
 
City chose to try to give an extended break to those who played in the Copa.  I think Zabaleta was fit for the first match but as noted above he's gotten injured since.
 

teddykgb

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They all returned to training late and didn't join the team on the pre-season tour.  Bony started City's first match with Aguero coming on after the hour to get some time under his legs.  If City hadn't have had Chelsea in match 2 I doubt he'd have started that one either but I think keeping Aguero in reserve in a big match against Chelsea was simply too much for Pellegrini.
 

NHbeau

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 Let's not forget when fit Aguero is one of the most destructive offensive forces in the world. It's a tough call not to play Kun any day, let alone against Chelsea for obvious reasons. For what it's worth Aguero has scored 79 goals in 122 prem matches. An average of 111.5 minutes per goal. That's a mind blowing set of stats really. To top it off he just turned 27 and theoretically should be hitting his prime. Why he isn't uttered in the same breath as other top strikers in the world is beyond me.
 
 City is downright scarey good right now. Their ability to attack and dismantle what should be solid world class defensive team's (3-0 chelsea) and to apply pressure from anywhere on the pitch is just going to be to much for most teams in the prem to handle. Maybe Chelsea unfucks itself and starts to park the bus against them but I see few teams who will be able to withstand the onslaught they will bring. Obviously they will leak goals at times, and will lose matches but when on form and with a fit side they should be the favorite heading into almost any match. It's a good year to be a City fan.
 

NHbeau

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Silverdude2167 said:
They really were lacking in top flight players. Good for them... (http://prosoccertalk.nbcsports.com/2015/08/30/manchester-city-makes-kevin-de-bruyne-signing-official/)
 
edit: "reports suggest" transfer fee in the range of $78-86 Million.
 
 I am actually a bit meh on this signing. De Bruyne is a much better player in the middle then out wide where he'll be forced to play with City. Obviously he's super talented and young so who know's exactly how it will work out. I remain a bit skeptical though as to how much he really improves the team though. On paper it looks like a great signing.
 

PedroSpecialK

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It really is an embarrassment of riches for City's attacking options. 
 
De Bruyne was a treat to watch in the Wolfsburg matches I've seen in the past couple of years - I feel like he single-handedly turned Bas Dost into a top striker and helped resurrect Nicklas Bendtner's career.
 
I feel like he's going to tear the league up once he gets settled, especially given the quality around him. Going from Schürlle/Perisić on his wings to Sterling/Navas is a scary proposition for the rest of the league. Needless to say, Aguero is world-class and undeniably a better striker (along with Bony) than any options he had at Wolfsburg.
 
The only questions is how he'll fit, and whether Pelligrini adjusts his formation to fit de Bruyne into the side.
 
The extremely attack-minded/FIFA 15 formation would probably be a 4-1-2-3 (really a 4-1-4-1 but the builder didn't have the option):
 

 
More realistically, I think Pelligrini would go with Fernandino alongside Touré in midfield as he has been, with the following 4-2-3-1:
 

 
In this case, Sagna/Zabaleta would be given more license to roam down the right side with Silva cutting inside as opposed to being a true winger, with Fernandino offering additional cover on the right.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I would play the 4-2-3-1 but with De Bruyne on the wing, just a swap for Navas. No way I'm taking Silva out of the middle, especially given the way he has been playing there.

I think De Bruyne is a very good player but I see him introducing some of the same problems that other clubs encounter when playing a second CAM on the wing (Ramsey at Arsenal, Mata at United, etc). From what I can tell, he's also a guy who isn't that interested in playing defense. He should add firepower and help City blow away many Premier League teams. He's not going to help them beat the Barcelona and Bayerns of the world because their problem in those matchups isn't a lack of firepower, it's the inability to defend from the front and win the midfield battle against teams that don't just sit back and cede them possession.
 

Schnerres

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Morgan's Magic Snowplow said:
I would play the 4-2-3-1 but with De Bruyne on the wing, just a swap for Navas. No way I'm taking Silva out of the middle, especially given the way he has been playing there.

I think De Bruyne is a very good player but I see him introducing some of the same problems that other clubs encounter when playing a second CAM on the wing (Ramsey at Arsenal, Mata at United, etc). From what I can tell, he's also a guy who isn't that interested in playing defense. He should add firepower and help City blow away many Premier League teams. He's not going to help them beat the Barcelona and Bayerns of the world because their problem in those matchups isn't a lack of firepower, it's the inability to defend from the front and win the midfield battle against teams that don't just sit back and cede them possession.
 
Absolutely agree. He was given freedom to rule and defend when interested in Wolfsburg and he knew Dieter Hecking was backing him all the time. It seems that De Bruyne is a little bit sensible in that regard and a more or less quiet type of person. I wonder what happens when the things above happen what snowplow stated, when they either don´t beat the top teams in Europe or worst case don´t make it out of their CL group (they are the favourites, but they could fall behind Juve easily and Sevilla know how to win, too).
So maybe we see some early CL matches (3rd November @Sevilla, 25th November @Juve) when De Bruyne may sit on the bench and play against West Brom, Sunderland and Watford and sit against ManU and Chelsea.

I wonder what happens in the the guy´s head then and I seriously doubt he makes it longtime at ManCity. I think they can win some titles (but not because of KdB) and he could be really happy (because he earns 20mil€ per year) and he leaves in 2 years at most. Or i could be wrong :)
 

teddykgb

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De Bruyne isn't going to sit on the bench.  He's going to play, especially in the Champions League.  I think he'll take Navas' spot quite easily.  Navas is going to be a speed merchant who comes off the bench against tired defenses and tries to run at them with fresh legs.  
 
Pellegrini made a very interesting tactical change this weekend at the half.  He took off Navas and rather improbably went back to 4-4-2.  He put Sterling up top with Aguero when inserting Nasri, pushing Silva out of the middle and onto one of the wings.  I wonder if we don't see more of that formation with KDB taking Nasri's spot and ending up effectively playing like Pellegrini's preferred 4-2-2-2 with Silva and KDB free behind the 2 "strikers" in a pretty fluid attacking 4.
 
I think it'd be madness to break this 4-2-3-1 that City have been playing, but it wouldn't shock me to see this.  In the 4-2-3-1 I think KDB plays the right and he and Silva interchange consistently while the RB on that side prays for the best.  I think there's no chance Fernandinho ends up out  of the lineup, he's consistently great at doing the exact work the team needs in CM.  Truthfully, City's problems in Europe are usually Yaya Toure, who leaves Fernandinho with far too much to do.
 

LTF

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What a kick in the bubblegum. Was catching Juventus at a great time, what with them banged up a bit and still integrating the new faces. The chances of them finishing top of the group took a major blow.

Three home victories in the CL in their last 12 matches. Just abysmal.
 

LTF

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What a humbling week. Makes you realize how premature (and stupid) any "crown 'em" chatter is.

The loss was frustrating, but even more so is how unimaginative City can get when playing from behind. We have the Premier League's most expensive starting XI ever -- how many times was that repeated at the beginning of the match -- and yet City looked so woefully one-dimensional. Attack through the right channel and get it to your worst player, who's ineffective at crossing, passing, and finishing.

Upwards and onwards.
 

teddykgb

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I was really not frustrated by this one.  You're going to lose 3 or 4 of these in every PL season--games where you control play and the other team just defends for its life and gets all the bounces.  It was annoying to have conceded early and made the game play out the way it did.  It's concerning that it's really two matches in a row where they've really just not converted chances into goals, which from experience of watching this sport can sometimes become an epidemic.  But on the whole if they generate that many chances they'll win the game some shockingly high pct of the time.  
 
On the plus side, De Bruyne looked absolutely phenomenal.  If we can ever get he and Silva on the pitch at the same time with real strikers ahead of them we might really be lethal.  Otamendi was really good when shifted to the left, as well.  I think i've had enough of the Eliaquim Mangala experience.  Mangala is a physical freak but he just doesn't seem to be a natural defender.  I think the team would really stiffen up with Kompany and Otamendi as the 1st choice pairing although the both of them are prone to defending on the front foot.  I've also definitely had enough of the Jesus Navas experience.  He's got one move and everyone knows it.  Teams are giving us the right side and happy to let he and Sagna fight for the same space and try to whip in a cross.  We need to get over this injury thing that has occurred for several seasons now because I want to see our attack with all of the right players fit.  If I'm criticizing players in a post, Bony has also not delivered anywhere near what I expected. He does hold up play well but he's just not impacting the match enough from his position.  He seemed so much more active at Swansea.  
 
The biggest concern right now is probably the physio staff for me and the form of Aguero.  If we're being honest, he's been pretty lousy thus far.  When he finds his shooting boots the scorelines are going to get absurd.
 

LTF

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Shit. What is it about these CL matches against German clubs. The Balotelli penalty vs. Dortmund in 2012. The pair of late Aguero goals vs, Bayern Munich last year. And then today.
 
Big win. Down five points to Juventus after only two matches would have been a tough hill to climb. Next up is a home match against the club we are behind on goal differential.
 
The "Aguero is off" narrative can continue for one more match. He had a tough miss (on a gorgeously-placed long ball from Hart following a Monchengladbach corner), a sorta tough miss (a sliding effort from a Sterling cross), and a third he may have converted when he's in his absolute best form. Still, I continue to think it's gonna turn around for him any time now. Maybe something as simple as converting that penalty will break the slump. The number of he-should-have-scoreds has almost reached absurd levels. It has to turn around eventually.
 
And let's talk about Hart, who is starting to make stellar European performances his thing. Those two great saves in the first half bailed out Otamendi, who looked like he lost his man in both instances.
 
And oh yeah, the gap between first-half Yaya and second-half Fernando was rather wide. Like, Yammer's mom's pussy wide.
 

teddykgb

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These last two international breaks have been absolute disasters for City.  We had just finished rehabbing these guys in time for the internationals to injure them again.
 

SoxFanInCali

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teddykgb said:
These last two international breaks have been absolute disasters for City.  We had just finished rehabbing these guys in time for the internationals to injure them again.
That happened more times than I can count with Liverpool and Torres. It sucks.
 

teddykgb

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Bumping this thread for this video.  The kid's reactions are just priceless.  It's a bit long, but stay/fast forward to the end to see when he meets Aguero.
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zb3HE-QuCXg
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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It seems increasingly likely that Pep Guardiola will be City's next manager. That's pretty exciting from a football perspective and certainly bodes well for City's future.

My somewhat more parochial question is whether City's lackadaisical form in recent weeks might be partly related to this being a very poorly kept secret and Pelligrini, being dead man walking at this point, having difficulty motivating the team and keeping them on track. What do you guys think? Obviously injuries have played a big part in City's form as well. But it may not be easy for a manager who essentially gets the sack in advance to keep a squad playing at top top level.

Incidentally, the big losers in all this seem likely to be Manchester United. Ancelotti is reportedly nailed on to replace Pep at Bayern so who does United turn to if they want to sack Van Gaal? Pochettino? Giggsy (lol)? Jose (if sacked by Chelsea)?
 

Dummy Hoy

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I have no idea if Ryan Giggs can be a good manager or not, but I wouldn't be surprised to see him succeed. Of course having guys like Klopp, Guardiola, and Mourihno around sets the bar pretty high, to say nothing of guys like Pochettino and Martinez, or even some of the young guys that look promising like Alex Neil or Eddie Howe.

Edit: I think Giggs would probably be good because he's purportedly well respected by the players, and he spent 20+ years watching one of the best managers in sports history operate. Those are two good things to have going for you.

And you know what? Working closely with LVG has to be beneficial for the coaching acumen too.
 
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blueguitar322

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Guardiola to City and Mourinho to United would be the PL much tougher IMHO. At least until Mourinho wears out his welcome and Pep gets bored.
 

Zomp

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I think United will let Van Gaal manage out his contract which ends after next season. Then who knows. I don't want Giggs without him getting experience elsewhere but I think he'll be the pick. Other candidates could be Jose (particularly if he takes a sabbatical next season), Pocchetino and Diego Simeone.
 

bosox4283

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I think United will let Van Gaal manage out his contract which ends after next season. Then who knows. I don't want Giggs without him getting experience elsewhere but I think he'll be the pick. Other candidates could be Jose (particularly if he takes a sabbatical next season), Pocchetino and Diego Simeone.
You stay away from Simeone.
 

Schnerres

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Guardiola to City and Mourinho to United would be the PL much tougher IMHO. At least until Mourinho wears out his welcome and Pep gets bored.
Pep won´t get bored, he will outwork himself. I think people/fans in England (especially at City) will be a lot more challenging than at Bayern so he won´t have any time there (if he´ll go there). At Bayern, the club people like Rummenigge and Sammer said "people, stay calm" and fans stayed calm. Of course, when you win 85% of the matches and lose once per half-season you have an easy time. But the Premier League is a lot tougher as we know. And the fans will kill him instantly, as he seems like the contrary to Klopp in his behaviour. The are both hard workers, but Pep works his tactics into the finest of details (sometimes annoying, it seems, when you win games 5-0 and then still scream things to your players when someone just made it 6-0). Klopp just wears his heart on his tongue, Pep learned at Barca to keep quiet and better talk a lot and say nothing at all, which will annoy english people. Klopp is a different animal, he´s outgoing and funny.
And if there won´t be instant success at City, Pep will be gone. Adios. His passing- and possession-heavy style he preferred at Barca and Bayern isn´t played there, yet. Let´s see how that plays out :)
 

teddykgb

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It seems increasingly likely that Pep Guardiola will be City's next manager. That's pretty exciting from a football perspective and certainly bodes well for City's future.

My somewhat more parochial question is whether City's lackadaisical form in recent weeks might be partly related to this being a very poorly kept secret and Pelligrini, being dead man walking at this point, having difficulty motivating the team and keeping them on track. What do you guys think? Obviously injuries have played a big part in City's form as well. But it may not be easy for a manager who essentially gets the sack in advance to keep a squad playing at top top level.

Incidentally, the big losers in all this seem likely to be Manchester United. Ancelotti is reportedly nailed on to replace Pep at Bayern so who does United turn to if they want to sack Van Gaal? Pochettino? Giggsy (lol)? Jose (if sacked by Chelsea)?
Obviously I'd give just about anything to have Pep. I think Schnerres is right to point out that the current City roster are not particularly suited to his philosophy (mostly because the squad has a melange of counter attackers and possession players) and I'd be incredibly interested in seeing what he could do with the talent at hand. Obviously City would support him and bring players in as well. It'd be a dream come true if it were to happen.

In terms of City today, I've seen you use the word malaise/lackadaisical in terms of City and I think it misses the mark. The problems right now are not indifference with the manager or even effort, excepting maybe Bony. The old issues of defensive comedy have returned with a vengeance and the continued absence of Kompany and Aguero has taken its toll. Pellegrini has changed quite a bit from the manager he was when he got here, playing 4-2-2-2 no matter what. He still is very stubborn with his system, but seems to have less of an idea how to train the 4-3-3 / 4-2-3-1 we're playing these days. The gaps are just too large to cover and the defensive high line combined with almost no pressing is simply too suicidal to survive in most cases.
 

teddykgb

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Reports today that it might not be quite as bad as it looked. Which is great because it looked scary. Everyone has gone on and on about Ozil but KDB has basically been just as good for the last calendar year between his two teams. This is an injury City could ill afford.
 

Zososoxfan

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Good for MANC and I'll be very interested to see how Pep does in the Prem. Real bummer for United and Chelsea fans. If I was a fan of one of those clubs, I would seriously consider Pellegrini. I think he has done a very good job at MANC and would be an improvement on either of those situations.
 

teddykgb

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Probably one of the worst kept secrets in world football but I'm excited to have it confirmed so early. I thought they'd wait until the teams couldn't play one another in the CL but this is wonderful for summer transfer planning as players know with 100% certainty that City will have Pep.

I don't think it's possible to overstate how big a get this is for City. This will arguably be Pep's biggest challenge since I think this is the worst team he will have started with and is certainly the most competitive league. You could make a legitimate case that 6-7 of the starting XI for City today aren't Pep's kind of player. City's youth are starting to really come through and you of course associate Pep with at least giving them a chance but Pep is also the sort of manager that other players actively want to play for. It should make for an interesting summer regardless of what happens at City the rest of the year.

Fair play to Manuel Pellegrini who has handled all of this with complete class and dignity. Something that could be very uncomfortable for the squad and club down the stretch has been defused ahead of time. The English press would be all over this if he weren't so in front of this being done very openly with him. I thought he was more of a tactician as a manager than he has proven to be but he's certainly done well by City and I hope he lands another good job.