Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Man City Report - City in 2nd Place in EPL as January Transfer Window Opens

There are a ton of fixtures compressed into a very short period time in the EPL from the beginning of December through New Years Day that go a long way towards determining how the table looks at the end of the season.  As such, I tried to live-tweet via @CheeseheadSN as many EPL matches for Manchester City as possible through today that I aggregated in #TweetBeat post.

I was unable to live-tweet any of City's first three matches in December: 3-0 home victory over Swansea, 3-2 road victory over West Brom, and 1-1 tie on the road versus Southampton.  I made up for that by live-tweeting City's 6-3 thumping for Arsenal at home and City's 4-2 win over Fulham on the road.  City beat Liverpool 2-1 on Boxing Day but Cheesehead Chick and I were traveling back from celebrating Christmas with In-Law Cheese so I had to catch the match on tape delay, which precluded me from live-tweeting that match.  I made up for that by live-tweeting City's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace at home and City's 3-2 win over Swansea on the road.

With all of those fixtures in the bag, City does not play a league match until January 11th when they travel to Newcastle to face my buddy Uncle Patty's favorite club.  Up until a few years ago City was not a very attractive destinations for big name players and usually did not even have the resources to make a run at quality players during the January transfer window even if players were interested in joining City.  I remember previous January transfer windows when purchasing winger Nery Castillo for $6 million from Shakhtar Donetsk felt like a huge acquisition.  Those are the kind of moves that City would not even spend a second considering this season given the quality of their roster and financial resources.

Despite the fact that Mike Tyson has never heard of City, the rest of the soccer world knows about City and many quality players would love the chance to play for a club that has gone from "the other club in Manchester" to one of the biggest clubs in the world in just a handful of years.  I do not expect City to make a ton of big moves given that they made four large acquisitions before the start of the season.  If anyone was going to leave City, the most likely candidates are midfielder Jack Rodwell and striker Edin Dzeko since both players would start for most EPL clubs but have a hard time getting regular first team action for City.

Given City's deep pockets, they have the resources to purchase almost any player in the world but with the Financial Fair Play rules coming into force in 2015, which in layman's terms means clubs will have to balance the books by 2015, City should shy away from big-money transfers.  If City are going to purchase any players they should target younger, long-term acquisitions with not a very expensive price tag such as AC Milan striker M’Baye Niang (valued at roughly $10 million) or Villarreal central defender Mateo Musacchio ($75 million out clause but is only valued at a fractions of the out clause).

With all of that background out of the way, here are my updated rankings and player thoughts for City's current roster:

Player Rankings
1. Yaya Toure (M, LR 2)
2. Sergio Aguero (F, LR 1)
3. Vincent Kompany (D, LR 4)
4. Alvaro Negredo (F, LR 3)
5. David Silva (M, LR 5)
6. Fernandinho (M, LR 9)
7. Jesus Navas (M, LR 6)
8. Samir Nasri (M, LR 7)
9. Edin Dzeko (F, LR 8)
10. Matija Nastasic (D, LR 10)
11. Joe Hart (GK, LR 12)
12. Pablo Zabaleta (D, LR 11)
13. Gael Clichy (D, LR 13)
14. Aleksandar Kolarov (D, LR 14)
15. James Milner (M, LR 17)
16. Javi Garcia (M, LR 19)
17. Stevan Jovetic (F, LR 20)
18. Joleon Lescott (D, LR 15)
19. Micah Richards (D, LR 18)
20. Jack Rodwell (M, LR 21)
21. Dedryck Boyata (D, LR 23)
22. Martin Demichelis (D, LR 22) 
23. Costel Pantilimon (GK, LR 16)
24. John Guidetti (F, LR 24)
25. Richard Wright (GK, LR 25)
26. Alex Nimely (F, LR 26)
27. Erik Johansen (GK, LR 27)
1) Yaya Toure (M, LR 2): Thanks to scoring the second goal in a 3-2 victory on the road against Swansea City, Toure became the first City midfielder to score 10 goals for the club in the EPL.  Toure was going to reclaim the top spot in my most recent rankings because striker Sergio Aguero suffered against Fulham that will keep him out at least a month but even if Aguero was healthy, unless he had a huge scoring binge, Toure would have reclaimed the top spot anyhow.

6) Fernandinho (M, LR 9): It only took four months for Fernandinho and Toure to look like they've been playing together their entire careers.  Add in that Fernandinho found the back of the net the last few matches, if this run of form continues for Fernandinho and Toure, I think we are looking at the best central midfield pairing in the EPL and possibly all of Europe.

11) Joe Hart (GK, LR 12): Once Hart got his starting job back from Pantilimon, he never looked back. Hart made a number of big saves against Liverpool to keep City in the match and had to get stitches below his left eye following City's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace after suffering a nasty kick to the face.

15) James Milner (M, LR 17): If striker Edin Dzeko is the super-sub up top, Milner is becoming the super-sub in the midfield for City.  Although it has not directly resulted in many second half goals, when Milner enters matches, he routinely works the opposing midfield that is gassed from City's potent midfield.

I hope that everyone is having a great start to 2014.  If City do in fact make any significant moves in the January transfer window, make sure to check for my full coverage in this space.

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