Having been purchased by the Abu Dhabi United Group in 2008, Manchester City are now considered to be one of the richest football clubs in the world. Similarly with last summer, City has again gone out and splashed the cash. Last summer, Gareth Barry, Roque Santa Cruz, Kolo Touré, Emmanuel Adebayor, Carlos Tévez and Joleon Lescott were all signed in a £100million outlay and as this season begins, it is no different, as four even bigger names have already been signed.
City finished last season in fifth position in the Premier League, narrowly missing out on fourth place by just three points, with Spurs finishing ahead of them in fourth, thus, securing European football for the season ahead, in the form of the Champions League – while on the other hand, Manchester City will contest in this seasons Europa League.
Roberto Mancini – who took over half-way through last season, after Mark Hughes was sacked – has been doing a lot of preparation for the season ahead both on and off the field. David Platt and Attilio Lombardo, both of whom are former team-mates of the Italian, have both been added to his coaching staff at the club. Off the field, City completed the transfers of Jérôme Boateng from Hamburg, Yaya Touré from Barcelona, David Silva from Valencia and Aleksandar Kolarov from Lazio – in a total spend of close to £80million.
While the names have been flying in the door this summer, City are also holding the door ajar for many players to make a quick exit from the club as Roberto Mancini tries to narrow down his team to just 25 due to the new home-grown player rules enforced by the Premier League – Jo, Javier Garrido, Robinho, Stephen Ireland, Roque Santa Cruz, along with Craig Bellamy could all well depart sooner rather than later.
Missing out on fourth place could well be a blessing in disguise for Manchester City because if they had reached the Champions League, albeit having to go through the qualifying round the expectations would be far greater for the season ahead. Since the Abu Dhabi United Group took control just over 22 months ago the club has spent close to £300million on the recruitment of new players, yet still they are not good enough to compete with the big boys of Europe, essentially your Barcelona’s and Inter Milan’s, that’s for sure. That said they will be expected to achieve success in the Europa League.
Last season, City started the season with four consecutive wins before a 2 month lapse period which saw them draw a staggering seven games in a row between October 5th and December 5th where they beat Chelsea 2-1. This wasn’t the only time they beat Chelsea last season, they also beat them away at Stamford Bridge 4-2 – securing 12 points against the Big Four sides. However, there were also some ordinary results, losing 3-0 to Spurs being an example. There was no comparison between City’s home and away form last season as they won doubt the amount of games at home then compared to away.
City’s chances for this season are by far the most difficult to pick. In terms of expectations, well, the bar has already been set by last season’s fifth place finish – clearly they will have to finish above that, so then you are looking at either third or fourth, realistically speaking. However, if the team gels right away, then who knows – they may even become challengers for the title and finish as runners-up. The ambition is certainly there, it is just a question of Roberto Mancini getting the best out of his squad – already he is the bookies favourite as the first manager to get the chop and you don’t need an explanation as to why.