Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mario Balotelli Out for Six Weeks

Devastating news to come out of the club overnight — rising star Mario Balotelli is to have surgery on his injured knee, and will be out of action for up to six weeks.

Mario hobbled off in the dying moments of the win at FC Timisoara, with what at the time looked to be a rather harmless knock.

In typical "Typical City" fashion, three of our most anticipated new additions to the squad — Jerome Boateng, Aleksandar Kolarov, and Balotelli — have mustered just over an hour of football in all competitions between them. Combined with the fact that Wayne Bridge is still not fit, as well as the perennially crocked Michael Johnson and Roque Santa Cruz, that's a good quarter of the squad unable to play, and it's only three games into the season!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

City's 25-man Squad Announced

Roberto Mancini has named his 25-man Premier League squad, and as a result, will have to play with the cards he's been dealt until January.

There are no major surprises or omissions, although Michael Johnson could consider himself lucky to have made the cut, considering his ongoing injury situation.

Whilst it would have been possible for Roberto to nominate a squad that featured big names like Robinho, Craig Bellamy, or Stephen Ireland — it was just not feasible from a man-management point of view.

Unfortunately, the real world is not like FIFA10, where you can buy as many players as you fancy and they don't kick up a stink when they sit on the bench. I know we fell into this trap when we chose our 25-man squad around a month ago.

Overall, it's a strong squad, but I do worry slightly about the amount of creativity in that line-up, and the amount of players that can come on and turn the game on its head.

The full squad is as follows:

1 Joe Hart
2 Shay Given
3 Stuart Taylor

4 Kolo Toure
5 Vincent Kompany
6 Jerome Boateng
7 Aleksandar Kolarov
8 Micah Richards
9 Pablo Zabaleta
10 Joleon Lescott
11 Wayne Bridge
12 Shaleum Logan
X Dedryck Boyata
X Greg Cunningham

13 Yaya Toure
14 Gareth Barry
15 Nigel De Jong
16 Patrick Vieira
17 James Milner
18 Adam Johnson
19 David Silva
20 Shaun Wright-Phillips
21 Michael Johnson
X Abdisalam Ibrahim

22 Carlos Tevez
23 Emmanuel Adebayor
24 Jo
25 Roque Santa Cruz
X Mario Balotelli
X Alex Nimely-Tchumeni

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Deadline Day: Robinho Gone (For Good)

As the 2010 transfer window slams shut (watch your fingers), City have made just a few changes to the squad — which is understandable considering the magnitude of spending already embarked upon by the club this summer.

The major protagonist in transfer deadline day proceedings two years ago to the day, Robinho, has been involved in another last-minute deal — this time signing for AC Milan in a deal thought to be worth around £20million.

The skill of Robinho cannot be questioned — his complete control in the 6-0 win over Portsmouth is one of the best individual performances ever witnessed at Eastlands.

It's ironic that at the time Robinho was playing his best football (August to December 2008), was actually when as a team, we were at our worst. After crashing to a 2-1 defeat at West Brom in late December, City sat 18th in the League. Conversely, when Robinho failed to score for the next few months (and with the assistance of January signings), we made a late charge up the table.

We have seen this all before as City fans. Georgiou Kinkladze was arguably the most skillful player on the ball to have played for Manchester City, however, we were relegated twice with him in the team — but after he was sold, we soon earned successive promotions. Having a big fish in a small pond does not make for a good football team.

Robinho may well thrive at AC Milan, along side fellow Brazilians Ronaldinho and Pato. He'll also be given an age on the ball in Serie A, compared to the Premier League. As long as he doesn't have to play away games, or at night, or in the cold, he'll be a success I'm sure.

His career will always be blighted by the fact he was unable to make it at Real Madrid, or under two separate managers at Manchester City. If he was truly world-class, he would have stuck it out and earned his first team place back — not disappeared to the sunny climes of Santos to play kick-about with his mates.

An amazing footballer, but a coward on and off the pitch.

In other news, occasional footballer and wannabe rapper Felipe "Xzhibit" Caicedo, went out on loan to Spain for the second time in as many seasons, signing for Levante UD (who looking at their club badge, are a merger between Valencia and Barcelona).

Asamoah Gyan, who scored four goals for Ghana in the World Cup (but missed a penalty in the dying seconds against Uruguay), joined Sunderland for £13million. It's a shame he didn't sign for them a week earlier — we might have picked up a point on the weekend if he had!

That old wheeler-and-dealer Arry Redknapp (oh come on Arry, I didn't mean it like that!) got up to his old tricks, and may just have snagged Real Madrid midfielder and World Cup runner-up Rafael Van Der Vaart for the cut-price fee of £8million — despite Bayern Munich close to signing the player for over twice that amount the day before.

For that price, he could have got half a Roque Santa Cruz (I assume you'd want the top half, as the bottom half is knackered), or one homeless Portuguese third-division player, so it's a good bit of business from 'Ol Twitcher if true.

So, no Dzeko, no Torres, and no Luiz, but a successful transfer window nevertheless. If we're there and thereabouts in the League come January, I can see another addition or two to get us over the line.