News: Expect City to Compete From The Off
Published: Thursday, 15th September 2011
Expect City to Compete From The OffDespite winning all four of their Premier League matches so far this season, banging in 15 goals in the process, many critics are still pointing to the arrival of Champions League football as reason to suggest the oil-fuelled, Sheikh-led bandwagon in east Manchester may grind to a halt.
But that would be treating City like any other team who is entering the European Cup for the first-time in 40 years. The supporters may be wide-eyed at the prospect of finally reaching Europe’s top table again after a sole two-game-long campaign in 1968, but the City squad is a dream-team comprised of players experienced at tackling the continent’s best, their lofty place in the champions league betting is justified.
City is a unique case never seen in World football and they should be treated as such. The attempts to accelerate City from mid-table also-rans to European contenders may have been unnaturally - and some say crudely - quick, but they have arrived all the same.
The sheer size of the squad means Mancini can pick one XI for Europe and another for the league, eliminating the theory that fatigue could hamper the club's twin ambitions.
Look at the striking department for example. £27million striker Edin Dzeko hit four goals in a recent game against Spurs but found himself on the bench for the next fixture. His replacement - £35million forward Sergio Aguero – hit a hat-trick against Wigan on Saturday to take his tally to six in four games this season.
Add last season’s top scorer Carlos Tevez (£47million) and the unpredictable but immensely talented Mario Balotelli (£24million) to the mix and it is obvious City have the strength to dominante both at home and abroad. No wonder Mancini says he is ‘lucky’ to chose from four such talented strikers.
Their Champions League group, containing Napoli, Villarreal and Bayern Munich, is the toughest of all the English sides. But the fact City were the team everyone wanted to avoid in the draw is testament to their new found standing in the European game. If you want to bet on the Champions League, City have to be at the forefront of your mind.
With the players they have no opposition will invoke feelings of fear or trepidation, not even the great Barcelona, with whom comparisons have been made.
For the fans, the next step in the Abu Dhabi project is set to be the most exciting yet.