3 Keys for Manchester City to Stay on Top of the Premier League

So, this week, I understand fully what New York Yankees, New England Patriots and LA Lakers fans must be going through. To be so close to a trophy and have it slip from you (especially when you have a cabinet full) stings especially the way it did last Sunday.  But, nonetheless, hats off to a Manchester City side that really did show what it meant to be a determined team hungry for a chance to win something that they haven’t had in over forty years.

Yesterday marked the end to a topsy turvy season and, as many have put it, one of the most remarkable seasons in years. For Manchester United, when you go into a game expecting others to do you favors, you will be disappointed. Sure, a lot of us were disappointed but as I had written in an earlier blog post, Manchester United was not at its strongest this season so this loss will be the one that stings but also a benchmark on what needs to improve for next season.

But, let’s look at Manchester City.  They finally know that taste of victory that many other teams have known for years. But what must happen for City to do this again?

Let’s take a look at some of the basics:

1. Minimize the Drama

Let’s give Roberto Mancini credit. Going all the way back to Mario Balotelli’s antics during the international friendlies last summer and then through the season coupled with the Carlos Tevez saga that lasted a good portion of this season, City did manage to stay in good form all the way through where most teams would have been undone. However in my opinion, if City wants to repeat next season, that drama has to be minimized if not removed completely from the team.  Many can still speculate if this season’s result would have been different had Tevez been dealt away during January’s transfer as he has been a key to City’s resurgence after smoothing things over with Mancini.  Same goes with Balotelli as Mancini may have to have a firmer hand with Balotelli’s off field antics.

No team that is at the top can afford to have distractions of this type and still expect to win and although City played through them, next season could bode ill if persistent prima donna issues prevail. There has been some speculation that Balotelli could go to Inter or AC Milan for a reported 20 million but that remains to be seen. If he is sold, that’s one less problem for City.  Carlos Tevez also has been linked to a move to AC Milan as even this week Adriano Galliani reported that they will make a bid for him (see report). So, if these two are gone by August, how will City replace this talent up front?

2. Get RVP or an MVP Up Front

If Balotelli and Tevez do leave or even if one leaves, City still needs talent up front especially to support Sergio Aguero.

City is taking a huge step by qualifying once again for the Champions League and they need players that can help them excel in that tournament. Robin van Persie would be the man to do it. The rumors (thus far unreliable at best) have already begun circulating that City may make a move for him, as well as Eden Hazard from Lille. You have seen the stats and we all know what van Persie can do as even through the last day he cemented his resume as a top striker in Europe.

Although Arsenal went through their own ups and downs to qualify for next season, what will it take for them to keep the top player of the year?  Arsene Wenger was quoted by the National as saying, “Will Champions League football help to keep Van Persie? It makes it easier to attract good players and keep them.” The question is will the sheiks of City open up that purse, splash the cash and load that team up if they expect to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to win next season?  If they expect to keep the limelight on themselves they should and the first piece could begin with van Persie.  I suspect however, van Persie may stay with Arsenal or at worst make a move to Serie A, but that still won’t stop City from looking elsewhere for talent.

Some other names that have been linked are Real Madrid’s Gonzalo Higuan and even Luka Modric of Tottenham.  I would like to hear from City supporters on who they think would be a good fit for their side this off-season especially if they disagree with the RVP assessment.

3. Stay In Competition to Stay Relevant

Shockingly neither United nor City went as far in the Champions League, Europa League, FA Cup, or the Carling Cup as many predicted and should have gone this season. Even when City tumbled out of the Champions League into the Europa League, after soundly beating Porto, they were expected to dominate over Sporting Lisbon but were simply beaten because they underestimated the competition and were eliminated.  If City wants to stay a relevant champion, they have to stack the silverware.  They have proven that they could do it with an FA Cup win in 2011, but City will have to stay relevant in all levels of competitive play in order to start building a legacy that teams like Manchester United and Liverpool have rested on for years.  This means not falling in the early rounds of the CL and if somehow they do, plan and execute well in the Europa League as well as all the other Cup competitions. Not only that, even if they don’t finish well in other competitions, City cannot allow themselves to become complacent and finish poorly in the EPL either. Anything below a top four finish next season is out of the question if City wants to build upon this season.

As City basks in the glow of their historic win, the pressure and spotlight is now on.  The target has been painted on their backs for all to see and August can’t get here fast enough for teams to start taking their shots to see if City are really worthy champions or whether this was a once in a lifetime thing. City supporters surely don’t want to wait another 40 years for a big win and it all starts with decisions made today. While I am sure there are other keys that City needs to stay on top, what I have mentioned hopefully is enough to start the conversation.

Congratulations Manchester City. August can’t get here fast enough.

27 thoughts on “3 Keys for Manchester City to Stay on Top of the Premier League”

  1. Your three points might have as well been “spend”, “spend some more” and “loan stars to other teams to possibly hurt your opposition”.

    1. Dealing with the drama was this first point so I’d have to disagree eddymc2. The drama almost cost them the title this year.

  2. First of all Balotelli is going nowhere 101% and it’s his on-field antics that need sorting not his so called off field one that mostly don’t even exist. It looks pretty much like Tevez will stay to as he seems to have excepted who the boss is now, and unless Milan put a real good offer in, which I don’t think they will whatever old quotes (three word ones at that lol) on appear on crappy websites. I don’t think City will want RVP he’s 29 and has played an average of 15 games a season apparently in 8 years, I could be wrong but he doesn’t fit the profile. One season a summer does not make! Eden Hazard on the other hand does fit the profile, young at 21 plays wide something City lacked big time last year and he looks quality so who knows.

    ‘The question is will the sheiks of City open up that purse, splash the cash and load that team up if they expect to compete with the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea to win next season?’
    Surely it is both Utd and Chelsea who need to spend and spend big just to keep in City’s slip stream never mind compete? If they don’t they will fall further behind, don’t think cos City won on goal difference they ‘just’ did it either, Utd had many favors to keep them up there and City easily beat them home and away with fergie coming to City to defend without a shot on target! They had the best attack, defense and keeper throughout the season. Take for this what u will but it looks obvious to me Utd need to spend at least £100m Chelsea will have a new manager to appease so might be similar.

    1. You’re still clearly drunk from last weekend if you think Utd need to spend 100m to match city next season.

      With Vidic back are defense will be much stronger although I personally think the RB postion is something that needs looked at, as good as Raphel is attacking he is a liability at the back.

      Our midfield is our main concern especially the central area. We missed Anderson and Fletcher badly this season as they do for us what Toure does for City, I’m not saying they are as good as toure but they play the same role and we got overrun in midfield in way to many games this season not just against city. Lots of people want us to bring in a creative midfielder but I’d rather we go for someone like Kevin strootman from PSV, good solid all round player who can play from box to box and and some bite to our team. I think Fletcher is done to be honest and we don’t want another hargreeves dituation dragging on for a couple seasons.

      Up front we are good right now. With Owen leaving and berbatov likely to follow I do think we need another experianced striker but I don’t think we should go for RVP like suggested in some papers. Like you said he 29 and way to injury prone, great player but unreliable in the EPL with his history.

      As for Hazzard I thnk he will end up at city. I don’t know much about him and I’m not sure why utd would want another winger, unless we plan on selling Nani I don’t think we need a player like him right now. All in all if we started the season with our current squad all fit and didn’t lose any core players to long term injuries I’d be confident of winning back the league next season. While 1-2 signings would definetly help our chances it won’t take anything close to 100m to win the league again.

      1. Actually this year Utd conceded less goals than the year before with Vidic.

        Anderson is not a first choice player at Utd as for fletcher he runs about a lot but neither are automatic choices or anything special, both of them put together do not do near what Yaya does for city. They are good squad players nothing more. Didn’t both these play in the 6-1 game biggest home defeat for decades if not all time?I wouldn’t swap either for Milner or Johnson both squad players

        Utd need players for now not tomorrow with an ageing squad and signings that haven’t quite gone the way the media predicted also both Ferdinand and Evra are showing signs of slowing up. In attack if you get rid of Berbs u are left with Hernandez, Rooney and welbeck. Rooney no probs, Hernandez not the player he looked last year (2nd season syndrome), Welbeck is simply not good enough u may as well kept Fraser Campbell he is played because of low wages and bonuses (money saving) and will move on to a mid table team unless he’s ok playing of the bench in the next couple of years. Don’t get.me wrong I like his work rate and effort but he simply in not good enough for Utd visualise Cole, RVN, Sheringham, Hughes and Cantona etc. Now do you see him in that company? Nah not even near it.

        Last years signing did not improve the team u were no better with young (£18m) than Nani, De Gea (£20m) or Van dersar? and Jones (£18m) has looked poor in the second half of the season (don’t argue it with me do it to the one who dropped him) that’s £56m so where you gonna get a striker, two midfielders and two defenders for the now not tomorrow for much less than the £100m I said? Bear in mind he will also need players too have bedded for the year after, when both Scholes and Giggs have left the game and Ferdinand and Evra are heading towards being, well not the best shall we say (showing signs already) For the first time in two decades Fergie has let his squad slip. If you cannot see this you are only kidding yourself. Utd could spend £40-£50m to match city last season but things also change city, as i say below. It’s is here where the £100m comes from.

        Now on the city front there will not be the same errors of refs this year, decissions usually go more for u as Champions this could be seen with Utd and Chelsea in recent years. Also there is no African cup next year. back up will be there for silva and a quality centre half brought in, Tevez will start the season and not the out of shape one at the end of last season, but most of all city’s biggest problem of last year will be addressed they will buy a wide player, I see them spending £60-£70m. Both Utd and Chelsea need to spend big that’s clear!

        1. We may have conceded less goals this year without vidic but that’s because out other 3 main defenders stayed injury free most of season. The previous season we had Carrick and Evra starting at centre back in several games and all season long we never had a full strength defense, yet we still won the league. You can spin it anyway you like but we both know Vidic is our defensive leader and him getting injured weakens our team no matter what the stats say.

          Agreed on hernandez he never seemed to get going this year, between his pre season concussion and not getting a good run of games he did indeed seem to suffer from the 2nd season syndrome. Who’s to say Aguero is going to do the same next year now that other teams have had a chance to at against him a couple if times.

          Young wasn’t brought in as a replacement for Nani so I don’t know where you’re going with that. Nobody expected De Geaa to be at the level of VDS this season but after a couple of early mistakes nobody can say he didn’t turn things around. Unlike out field players I don’t think the 2nd season syndrome is the same for goal keepers, I don’t think it’s unrealistic to assume as a young keeper he will get better each season.

          Saying jones looked poor in the second half is a little much. He picked up a couple of injuries and missed some games but he definetly wasn’t poor, ok he could improve his crossing some but I’ve no complaints about him otherwise.

          As for the 6-1 game I know Fletcher played, can’t remember if Anderson played. Funny how people always seem to mention about Utd playing with 10 men in the second half that day. Not taking credit away from city as they took the chances when they came along but it’s something to remember Of course the empire is crumbling. If city win the league this week on goal difference like I expect it means the tw at the end of the day it was one game.

          So now your ok with city getting decisions because they are champions? I can think of several decisions that
          went against utd this season but not much use complaining about it now. I’m not 100% sure but I think you are wrong about there being no ANC this coming year. I think it’s being played again next season so it can then be moved to 2014 the same year as the next world cup, so Yaya Toure could well be missing again for another 6 weeks at the start of jan.

          City do indeed need some quality out wide but who’s to say whoever they bring in is going to be a hit right away. While one of my pre season questions about Aguero last was how quickly he would settle and adapt the same has to be asked about Hazzard or ANY new player joining any team in the league, you only have to look at us with Juan Veron to see he was a great player but just didn’t suit the English league.

          We can sit here for the next 10 weeks and easily spin things either way for our respective teams, for me ill take comfort in the fact that we lost a couple of key starters in Vidic and Fletcher and had other long term injuries to Cleverly and Anderson, who may just be squad players but when you are forced to play raphel and jones in midfield instead they do become a big loss. Add in our goal keeper that’s apparently not so good and the fact we dropped 6 points to city yet we still just lost the league on goal difference I think we arnt looking to shabby for next season.

          1. Gaffer any reason why parts of old post of mine keep showing up in new topics.

            The above post has a line about” the empire crumbling” and that is from last week. It’s happened 2-3 times now.

          2. I didn’t say Young was a replacement I ment was he any better than what you already had in Nani, but I wouldn’t be surprised if nani was sold in the summer.

            The African cup is played every 2 years so unless they changed the format for some reason should be in 2014 but as I said I’m only going off the last 20 years.

            For every decision you can say that went against utd, (backed up of course not ur own opinion£ 3 can be given for them and be backed up by unbias sources. Try if you like Utd had the rub of the green heavily this year. This isn’t something I’m ok with its just something that happens in the modern premier league certain teams get this and champions are usually one of these.

            Aguero is not like Hernandez, he’s is an all rounder, a world class player he make goals scores them left, right footed, headed, he can dribble, has close ball control, power, pace and agility players with more tricks in there armoury do not suffer from second season syndrome, which gets it’s name from the fact defenders learn what a player will done when they are limited,aling it easier to shut down their play, this has been found out in second season syndrome. Aguero could do any number of thing so is highly unlikely to fall foul of this, like all world class players it’s one off the reasons they get the name same with Rooney, push him to the left he scores with his right, cut of supply from the middle he heads in from a cross etc.

            To cut a long story short as I was simply telling the writer it’s Utd and Chelsea that need to do the catching and keeping up and not City ( should be obvious to even the staunchest supporter!), I will back it with the cold hard undisputed facts that the favourites with every English bookmaker have City easily favourites for next year. They do not take sides or chances and are totally independent, William Hill has Utd at 5/2! While city come in at 11/8 that’s nearly twice as much! Even Fred (the red) done isnt giving Utd and Chelsea to much hope! Chelsea by the way come in at 9/2 and these odds will only widen with new signings. So while you may have the clearly highly intelligent Frill Artist backing you, I think the bookies may have a slightly better idea, don’t you? Maybe not.

    2. “Surely it is both Utd and Chelsea who need to spend and spend big just to keep in City’s slip stream”

      Do you even realize how stupid you sound? Even with all of Sh!tty’s spending, it was goal difference that was the deciding factor and they got knocked out of all competition. United doesn’t need to overspend like Sh!tty or Chelsea. Vidic will hopefully be back and one or two quality midfielders that Fergie is targeting will be just enough to put out a fiercer competition. An RB or LB to ease Evra wouldn’t hurt too.

      @Mufc77, I think Hazard can also play CAM so I can see why Fergie would be interested in him.

      1. Frill artist, piss artist more like! You’re just a bitter tool I couldn’t be bothered with. Go and write some bitter one liners else where.

  3. Ibrahimovic makes the most sense as far as strikers go. Hopefully a Tevez/Balotelli-for-Ibra swap happens.

    1. I think the worst thing city could do is make to many changes to the team next season as it could upset the balance of the team. I’d be more worried if they added 1-2 quality players than I would if they bought 4-5 players just to flex the financial muscle.

  4. The only thing that Sh**ty needs to stay on top is for their arab owners to keep their wallets open.

    1. You’ll be glad to know that they’ve made a small fortune this year with broadcasting fees, Champions League etc so they can cover their outgoings themselves from self generated funds! Of course, they could go on to ask the owners for a touch more… Anything to shut Fergie up for another year is good by me!

      1. I doubt Broadcasting fees, EPL winnings and all that will hardly be enough to cover Sh!tty’s zeal to get every player under the sun this transfer season.

        1. They’ve made ample amounts of their own money to comfortably spend.

          Manure have said they’re going to match it though so will you be accusing them of trying to buy the league?

  5. Where the hell is RVP going to fit?

    Please tell me.

    Five Forwards. Five !

    Let me say this. KAKA to Madrid. From Captain to Bench!

  6. This reasoning that United were not at their best this year seems very flawed. They scored 89 points and finished eight goals behind City (with six of those eight in differential against City) so how is that a club ‘not at their best’?

    This was an insane season from start to finish. I can’t wait to see what unfolds next season after both Manchester giants take stock and reload.

    1. oh I don’t know….losing and drawing key games that should have been easily winnable…falling quickly out of Cup competitions…you know, the sort of thing where at the end of the season where should have gone far into a competition but didn’t.

    2. I agree we had a good season but nobody can argue we are not a stronger team when we have the likes of Vidic, Anderson, Fletcher and cleverly available for selection. Now that doesn’t mean that any of those matces we dropped points in would have turned out different or we will beat last seasons points total in 2012-13. Imagine City without Kompany for the majority of the season, at some point they would miss his presence.

      1. Surely the year before you would have said imagine City without Tevez they’re sure to fail?And City were not just without Kompany but Kolo at the same time, and for one or two games Lescott was gone as well. Funny how you don’t hear City fans saying our top scorer was missing from the year before isn’t it?For what ever reason, as it’s a big a problem isn’t it? Excuses are excuses Utd could have bought a replacement for Vidic but didn’t why is that?

        1. No excuses from me, we had the chance to win it and fecked it up big time. I was more than happy give city the credit they deserve last weekend.

  7. Honestly, i think bringing Guidetti back and into the 1st team, landing Hazard, and spending big on a CB would just about do it for City.

    If we see more than 1 striker leave, like say Tevez and Dzeko, then they should go in on Llorente. Having Aguero, Guidetti, Llorente, and Balotelli would be more than enough. And then with the attacking midfield options of Silva, Nasri, and Hazard… good to go.

    Van Persie or Ibrahimohic? No Thanks.

    1. If Abu Dhabi does Arab Spring we can safely say “administration” for entire EPL. Do you think Glazers and Manchester United can survive through the major meltdown of global economy?

  8. Man City has shown that with investment and commitment by everyone, any team can succeed. Now that they’ve dethroned Manchester United (whether temporarily or otherwise), they need to remain very focused and pursue the title with more resilience next season.
    It is a good development that the EPL has new champions entirely different from the traditional teams. Much of the work lie on Roberto Manchini; his ability to discipline the players where necessary (And not to over-discipline them anyway) and work with them as a united family are equally important.
    I believe Man City would go places if everyone remains committed and decides to offer his best.

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