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What do rival supporters think of Manchester City’s 2014-15 season?

While looking ahead to the new season, often expectations and predictions are marred with a clear bias. Every supporter thinks that either it’s their year or at the very least that they will fare better than one or more of their rivals. So rather than publishing Manchester City supporters’ views on their club, supporters of their rivals have shared their opinion on what they think of the Manuel Pellegrini’s side ahead of the new season.

We have writers from our other Team Blogs giving their opinion on the defending Premier League champions. Sami Faizullah  from Shankly’s Men (Liverpool), Vishal Patel from Under the Bridge (Chelsea), Calvin Gomez  from Dial Square (Arsenal) and Sauharda Karki from The Devil’s Advocate (Manchester United)

What are Manchester City’s objectives this season?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): Challenging for the Premier League title has become customary for them, retaining it for the first time isn’t as simple as winning it initially. But on a different scale, they’ll look to be impressing in Europe. Yet to reach the quarter-finals, doing that would be the bare minimum in the tournament, anything beyond is a huge success.

Vishal (Under the Bridge): Retaining their title. Anything less will be considered a failure, and rightly so with that kind of squad strength. If they fail to win either the league or a European trophy, a cup followed up by a serious challenge on both fronts may be acceptable.

Calvin (Dial Square): Nothing less than winning the league as well as the semi finals of the Champions League to say the least. After a fantastic season, the board will be fully expecting Pellegrini to deliver next year and he has the tactical knowledge and experience to do so.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): An attempt at retaining the title would lead City’s set of season objectives, but the European stage will be the area that will draw City’s focus over the course of the season. Their repeated failure on the European setting, aloangside the large number of foreign imports will be an extra drive for continental success.

How do you think Manchester City will do this season?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): They’ll be participants in a two horse title race with Chelsea, a rather dull one compared to last season. But I see them actually achieving their European objective of a lengthier run in Europe’s premier competition. There’s enough experience and quality in that side, it isn’t just over-paid set of stars but a proper core base, highlighted by their ‘unspectacular’ activity (Mangala aside)

Vishal (Under the Bridge): This is a squad that’s too strong to not compete for the title. I do think they can put on a better show in Europe too, they just need a better draw than Bayern or Barcelona. They’ll finish in the top two according to me domestically, Europe is harder to call.

Calvin (Dial Square): I’m expecting the current title holders to finish 2nd next season. A quarter final place in the Champions League is well within their reach. They have been complacent against some of the small teams in the league however.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): A good performance can be expected from City in terms of the League/National Cup, which will mostly come down to the comparatively exceptional squad depth. The league is where the elaborate choice of players and perpetual squad rotation may be a problem. Retaining the title will prove to be more difficult than expected, but a top 4 finish does look inevitable.

Who do you think will be Manchester City’s key player?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): No cakes for guessing! Yaya Toure has always been some level above the plethora of stars at Man City. The influence he can have is quite remarkable, and now with a player like Fernando to sit just behind him, he has good defensive cover to ease burden there and maximise his impact in the final third.

Vishal (Under the Bridge): The dearth of signings means they will again look to Yaya Toure, though I feel the star could be Sergio Aguero. If he can keep himself fit, the Argentine is going to be hungry after missing out large parts of last season, and Argentina’s run to the World Cup final. Toure will be important, but Aguero will be the player to make a difference.

Calvin (Dial Square): Samir Nasri most certainly. The Frenchman was snubbed by his national team manager for the world cup and has just signed a new contract with the Manchester club. I cannot think of two more motivating reasons for a player to prove himself. His role on the wing is an interesting one as well and it places him in good goalscoring and assist delivering positions.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): Serge Aguero. With the continuous midfield restructuring by all top five Premier League teams over the past few years, alongside the increasing number of goals coming from midfield, it’s of no doubt that strikers will give teams the edge. The issue, however, will be about keeping Aguero fit and also making sure squad rotation doesn’t affect his rhythm.

What is Manchester City’s biggest weakness?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): Squad wise, none whatsoever. Their defence looked weak, but Mangala’s addition changes the complexion of that issue. If anything, there’s probably too much competition in there, from Hart/Caballero, to Sagna/Zabaleta and up into the final third. Great if a injury crisis hits, but provided most stay fit, there’ll be some very unhappy ‘ex-regular players’ in there. What does that do to the dressing room?

Vishal (Under the Bridge): The lack of any big signings. There is a well established hierarchy in that team now, and the players may have lost some desire. Willy and Fernando represent smart purchases, but unlike last season, no one is going to be quivering in their shoes at the thought of facing City, which is a huge blow.

Calvin (Dial Square): Defense. Man City , for all their dangerously skilled strikers and creators do not have a full efficient defender to partner Kompany. Demichelis is far from the ideal defender and the very fact that City won the league with the Argentine at the heart of defense is credit to Pellegrini’s genius. Ofcourse Mangala is a worthy addition though.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): What appears to be City’s biggest strength may in the end prove to be the biggest problem for City this season. Making proper changes and keeping every player motivated through the course of the season  will probably be manager Pellegrini’s biggest challenge. We’ve seen squad rotation backfire several times in the past, even last season; with Wenger’s Arsenal, and even City under Pellegrini – the most notable one being their goalless draw at the Britannia. Depending on the type of decisions the manager makes week-in and week-out, City’s biggest asset could easily prove to be a major issue of concern.

What do you think of Manuel Pellegrini as a manager? And his future?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): People underestimate the difficulty in keeping togetherness in the squad, winning the league, and doing a double in your first season. Exceptional manager, and tactically astute. People often mix up Man City policy with other clubs. They aren’t a side that makes knee-jerk sackings (Mancini went after dressing room issues). There’s always a long-term thinking at the club; regardless of whether they win or not, City will compete on all fronts. He’s safe.

Vishal (Under the Bridge): Pellegrini is a terrific manager. A bit boring in press conferences (or maybe I’m too used to Mourinho) but he got the job done very well with City last year. He’s experienced, and quite calm as well. Sadly, he is most likely to lose his job from the top teams. If City cannot win something, which is likely, we might just see his head on the chopping block.

Calvin (Dial Square): When I think of Pellegrini, I see a manager who keeps his game simple. His heavy use of full backs to deliver low crosses from the byline was very successful last season. I do believe however, failure to win either the league or a domestic trophy will see him sacked as we have seen of Man City’s treatment of Mancini.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): Having seen City’s performance under Pellegrini in what was his first year in the Premier League, he does appear to be the man that can make things happen for City. However, we’ve also seen City struggle under him at times last season, especially when facing managers like Mourinho and Rodgers, who are willing to tactically reshuffle their squad for just a game. Regardless of performance, it looks like Pellegrini is here to stay.

Which young Talent Radar player do you see making the maximum impact?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): City also have a good plan in place with their academy and development of it’s players. Unfortunately, besides Nastasic, none will have a decent chance in the first-team and ones that would, have gone out on loan. Nastasic’s chances are greatly reduced as well, I fear Demichelis & Mangala are now ahead of him.

Vishal (Under the Bridge): Matija Nastasic, because he’s a very good player, and also because he’s the only player under 21 who has a realistic shot of making an impact on their season. The defender missed large parts of last season due to injury, and will be hoping to win back his starting spot from Martin Demichellis. He’s a player who already has a working partnership with Vincent Kompany, and that should be a huge positive for a City defence that looked a bit shaky at times last season.

Calvin (Dial Square): Sorry to say, I have no idea.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): With the departure of defender Joleon Lescott, 21 year old center-back Nastasic will be expected to play an even bigger role alongside skipper Kompany, regardless of Mangala’s signing. Having missed most of last season through injury, the youngster will be detemined to play a bigger role in City’s 2014/15 campaign.

What do you think of Manchester City’s transfer activity?

Sami (Shankly’s Men): Nothing spectacular, a testament to the base they already formed. Fernando is a welcome addition from a defensive point of view, Sagna wasn’t needed as I see Zabaleta as the best right-back in the league (the Frenchman not too far behind), but competition again. Caballero keeps Hart on his toes, while Mangala proves to be the most key transfer in what earlier looked like the only weakness in the side. Never saw Lampard as an improving players the last few months, don’t know in what capacity he’ll come in. While i’ve also been told Zuculini is an excellent capture, for next season.

Vishal (Under the Bridge): Joe Hart needed some competition to keep himself alert, as we saw after his spell on the bench last season. In Willy, City have the perfect competition. The back-up goalie is one who is good enough to take over between the sticks without any significant drop in quality. It should be very interesting to see this little internal battle develop, especially if Willy gets a few games at the start of the season.

Calvin (Dial Square): Man City, having faced the wrath of the Financial Fair Play model last season, have been conservative with their business. Acquiring Bacary Sagna on a free to provide adequate cover at right back is a no brainer. However, I think the signing of Fernando will be more useful. Fernandinho hasn’t had the best world cup and his shattered confidence could affect his performances for the rest of the season. Fernando will help screen opposition attacks and take some of the burden off Kompany.

Sauharda (The Devil’s Advocate): City have had a decent spell in the current summer transfer window. The departure of Jack Rodwell seemed inevitable. Midfield reinforcement in the form of Fernando and the acquisition of starlet Zuculini look like comparatively decent deals. The 12 million pound move for Fernando looks like the best deal for City. Considering the way City play their two-man central midfield pairing, Fernando seems best suited for the more defensive role alongside the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho who thrive in the box-to-box role and prefer making forward runs with the ball.

Follow Sami on Twitter @SamiFaizullah, Vishal @VishalNPatel7, Calvin @CalvinXGomez and Sauharda @SauhardaK

Give all our The Invisible Men articles a read.



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