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Carlos Tevez

Where Manchester City Needs To Go From Here

Manuel Pellegrini vows to win Premier League for Manchester City - video

Despite their loss to Tottenham earlier in the week, Manchester City fans should still have plenty to feel good about going into the summer. The English press was all too happy in vilifying the Sheik Mansour’s tactics of overpaying for players and trying to buy themselves a Champions League spot, but they did well to stick together and get to the brink of their goal.

Going forward, their number one priority should be clear – keeping Carlos Tevez. The Argentinean has easily been their best player, and if they are able to keep him from moving to Spain in the summer, it will be an important statement that the players believe in what ownership is trying to accomplish. Tevez and Adebayor form the second best strike partnership in the Premier League, behind Anelka and Drogba, and if Adebayor is able to stay healthy, avoid stamping on former teammates, and stay far away from Angola, there’s no reason they couldn’t combine for at least 50 goals in the top-flight next season.

Beyond making sure Tevez is in a sky blue kit next season, the other main decision regards the commitment to aging first-team players or to youth. Sheik Mansour should take note of Chelsea’s current plight. After Roman Abramovich sunk hundreds of millions of dollars to buy the best established talent in the world (not to discount the results he got for his money), the Blues face an aging roster and few quality youngsters to replenish the ranks.

Two casualties of this commitment should be Craig Bellamy and Shay Given.

Craig Bellamy has been the best wide player in Manchester this season, but the emergence of Adam Johnson has made him expendable. Playing Johnson in his natural left wing spot should pay greater dividends for his development, and giving Shaun Wright-Phillips more starts on the right is little, if any, downgrade. With Bellamy saying earlier in the season that he may have only one or two years of football left in him, allowing him to go should be a necessary, albeit difficult, pill to swallow.

Shay Given is certainly a solid keeper, and, with David James and Heurelho Gomes, among the best shot-stoppers in the league. However, it was well-proven this season (and in his latter years at Newcastle) that he’s not a great organizer of the defence, which the club sorely needs. Joe Hart left little doubt with his phenomenal season at Birmingham that it’s his time to shine – Mancini should take a chance on Hart’s potential for long-term greatness.

City’s list of other young players is nothing short of amazing, and they should give them the opportunity to flourish in the first team. Talented youth on loan, such as Jo, Felipe Caicedo and Vladimir Weiss should get first-team chances next season. Players not quite ready to cement their places should go out on loan and get the experience they need to make the jump; specifically, Nedum Onuoha, Dedryck Boyata and Abdisalam Ibrahim. These names are the future of City football.

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  1. Eious

    May 9, 2010 at 6:20 pm

    City has the talent to get into the 4th spot but that is about it. They don’t have the talent nor leadership to get into the Top 3 and their consistency troubles show that.

    What they need is someone who can come in and stop all of these extreme attitudes in their locker room. They have several players who dominate the locker room with their over-the-top drama and it comes out in how up-and-down their play is week-to-week

  2. Gary Talarino

    May 9, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    If Given is such a great overall keeper (and not just a talented shot-stopper), I must ask a couple of questions. Who would you rather have as your central defenders – Toure and Kompany / Lescott, or Roger Johnson and Scott Dann?

    Why is Richard Dunne City’s player of the year four consecutive seasons, then his performance falls off a cliff last season, he gets sold to Villa, and suddenly is a great defender once again?

    Isn’t there one common thread here? When it comes to organizing a defence, Hart (along with Tim Howard and Brad Freidel) > Given.

    • Kishore

      May 9, 2010 at 3:14 pm

      I still consider it a bit harsh on Given…he’s easily won them points after points this season…they might have finished 5th…but it was just masking how bad City’s defence was…not the goalkeeper…and what about the top sides??…VDS and Cech…are you trying to imply that their defence is better because their goalies are better organizers and not because their defenders are good enough to organize themselves??…n what about Casillas ??…Real’s leaky defence ships in goal like nobody’s business…so is Casillas being not a good organizer the problem?….just an insight mate…no hard feelings…:)

  3. Kishore

    May 9, 2010 at 1:02 pm

    agreed Reece….and its not Given’s fault their defence is shit…if anythin, its the defenders who need to be booted out…

    • Huh

      May 10, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      Those so called ‘shit defenders’ may have shipped goals under Hughes (27 in 17 games) but they did not under Mancini. In fact they only conceded 18 in 21 games the same as spurs, 1 less than Arsenal and a whopping 10! less than Villa. The big difference between these 4 is the goals for, since Mancini took over from Hughes his goals for are 40 (Hughes 33) Arsenal have 32 for, Spurs 24 for and Villa 30. So maybe the defence isn’t that bad after all and the attack even better. Hughes’s was being to attack minded when he had the team always pushing the wing backs forward at any opportunity leaving the back open to be picked off at will on the counter, whereas Mancini has stopped this and has a flatter back 4.
      Incidentally the points per game are Mancini’s 1.8, Arsenal 1.9, Spurs the same as the gunners and Villa 1.5, (Hughes’s was 1.7) It won’t take much of an improvement to up City’s position next year as Mancini will be allowed to bring in his own players instead of Hughes’s.

  4. Reece

    May 9, 2010 at 9:41 am

    Are you really proposing that Shay Given and Craig Bellamy are prime for discard whilst previously hopeless players such as Jo (!!) are given a chance? Wow. I get your bent on the potential of youth in the article but as we’d be looking for short term goals to be the instigator of eventual long term glory (i.e Champions League spot, title,. etc), wouldn’t we be better off shoring up success next season on the backs of driven, dependable and proven players like Craig and Shay?

    Joe will be a great keeper. This was his breakout year and did what City had in mind when shipping him to Birmingham. Wouldn’t the best situation for all be to nuture Joe’s environment in Birmingham (or similar), keep a great keeper between the sticks in Shay and then see where the situation lies a season on? We will be better off, with a potential influx of new faces, to rely on Shay and settle a better defensive line. The defensive line, as many have mentioned, was the inherent crux of our season.

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