October 18, 2017

How James Milner went from being fringe player to focal point at Manchester City

Posted on August 24, 2015 by in English Premier League, Man City

In the summer of 2010, Manchester City spent around £150 million on reinforcing their squad and building a team to compete for the Premier League trophy. Of the eight signings purchased in that transfer window, five were in the region of £25m.
David Silva, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko have all proved their worth since and are still integral to the success of the side today.
Mario Balotelli made a number of significant contributions; however, he ultimately failed to live up to his promise before Roberto Mancini cut his losses and sent him back to Serie A. Englishman James Milner was the other signing, as he followed in the footsteps of Gareth Barry by swapping Aston Villa for the Etihad.

The midfielder clearly isn’t as technically capable as the aforementioned names and has certainly had less of an impact in the last four seasons. Milner has never been a regular at City either under Mancini or his successor Manuel Pellegrini. He started 23 league games in his opening campaign, although that diminished to just 12 starts last term under Pellegrini.

“There are two ways to react, a right and a wrong way,” admits Milner. “You can mouth off or work harder and working harder is the only way I know. Maybe that does count against me at times. The manager knows I’ll just carry on training as hard as I can. It’s no good for the team if someone sulks or disrupts training.”
Milner is now in the final 12 months of his contract and it was widely anticipated he would be moving last summer. He didn’t start the first three league matches, but an injury to Samir Nasri changed everything. The former Leeds man has become a vital component and not just when the Frenchman is missing.

With David Silva and Nasri as wide players the team has a tendency to become very narrow, with both playmakers looking to laterally move between the lines. Pellegrini appears to have found more balance by utilising the more direct Milner on the opposite flank when Silva plays out wide.

The Chilean likes to adapt his structure and generally opts for a 4-­4­-2 or 4-­2­-3­-1. “The truth is that I don’t have a defined system,” he confessed to Champions League Weekly. “The players are capable of playing in different formations within our concept of football. I think that a team that tries to win each match relying solely on tactics for that game will never become a team with its own identity.”

In matches with Arsenal and Tottenham, Silva has been used as a number 10 with Milner and Jesus Navas either side of him. The 1-­1 draw with Chelsea saw Milner occupy the right­ wing and excel against City’s most likely main competitors for the title. He made 12 more final third passes than Silva and completed 8/8 tackles.

His all-­round ability rarely gets the full credit that it deserves but it’s his commitment that has seen him return to the fold. Milner completes more key passes per game than any other player in the squad, while at the same time only Gael Clichy makes more tackles per match.

This improvement means that the club hierarchy would be mad to let him leave next year for free and a new contract is close. “We’ve been in talks with the club, we’ve talked about it and hopefully it can get sorted some time soon,” confesses Milner.

His eagerness and raw energy compliments the greater skilled members of the roster. He displays a tireless work-­rate, while his tactical awareness sees him assist his grateful full­-back with defensive duties. Last weekend, Milner was left out and the champions were surprisingly defeated by West Ham. Four of City’s five losses this season happened when Milner started as a substitute.

When he does come off the bench, his enthusiasm to make an impression is evident. This can have a positive influence on his fellow team-mates as they look to follow suit and replicate his desire.

His second half performance against Roma in the Champions League did exactly that, as he helped limit Maicon’s attacking intent. This cameo saw him rewarded with a start in the next match­day in Moscow against CSKA and he subsequently scored his first goal of the campaign.

Milner played under 20 minutes in both wins over Manchester United last season, but in the derby this weekend you can almost guarantee he will be restored to the line-­up.
Man City vs Man United LIVE ANALYSIS with Stats Zone

From: General

How UEFA will dictate Man Citys summer transfers

Posted on May 20, 2014 by in Champions League, Man City

Manchester City’s summer transfer dealings look set to be complicated. Even without the club’s€60 million fine and trimming of next season’s Champions League squad to 21 playersfor breaching Financial Fair Play regulations, Manuel Pellegrini already had enough plates to keep spinning with his current squad.
Firstly, he will need to resolve the uncertain futures of Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri, Micah Richards, James Milner and Aleksander Kolarov, all of whom are all approaching the final 12 months of their current deals. Milner’s situation in particular could prove troublesome, after reports on Monday suggested that the England man could be keen to leave the Etihad this summer.
Dzeko is enjoying his most prosperous season for the club since joining from Wolfsburg for £27m in January 2011. He has compensated for the drastic loss of form experienced by Alvaro Negredo and there would be no shortage of takers should he become available. Samir Nasri, a £24m purchase, has also experienced a renaissance under Pellegrini after falling out of favour under Roberto Mancini. Both are believed to have commenced contract talks and the club will be keen to tie them down before the World Cup, where Nasri won’t be this summer.
Kolarov has provided stiff competition for Gael Clichy this term and Pellegrini appears to be a fan of the versatile Milner (which makes the 28-year-old’s unhappiness worrying). But Micah Richards has already stated his desire to leave for first-team football and resuscitate his international career. He has yet to feature under Roy Hodgson and, as things stand, is a long way from adding to his 13 England caps. Whether or not Richards will be allowed to leave depends on City’s ability to name eight English players in their next 25-man squad, which looks highly unlikely at present.

UEFA regulations state that all English clubs in European competition can name a maximum of 17 foreign players. City have space for one more and appear to have their heart set on Porto centre-back Eliaquim Mangala, who could well become a household name at the World Cup. Of their English contingent, Joleon Lescott, Gareth Barry (currently on loan at Everton) and Richard Wright (yes, he’s still there, look it up) are all set to depart when their contracts expire at the end of next month, Richards wants to leave, Milner too, while Scott Sinclair and Jack Rodwell remain on the periphery. That leaves Joe Hart.
So if you’re English or ‘home grown’, you know where to send your CV, because Manchester City will be forced to set their sights on players that spent at least three years over here during their formative years. It leaves Milner in a very strong position with regards to negotiating new terms on his £80,000-a-week deal, and may result in them holding on to Richards for another year before letting him leave for nothing in 2015. Now their Champions League squad has been cut, the need to sign players of a suitable standard is more pressing than padding out the squad with fringe players.
It also means they may have to part with some of their foreign players to make room for home grown players. Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley may tickle their fancy, but if they need to reinforce a different position and cannot identify a suitable candidate from these shores they will have to sell, buy a replacement for a player that does not require replacing, plus the player they actually require. So if they wanted to sign Bacary Sagna, who will see his Arsenal contract expire shortly and has been linked with a move to the Etihad, the move could involve a chain of four transfers to facilitate it; the Frenchman’s capture, the sale of Richards and one of their foreign players, then the signing of a home-grown replacement.
Their acclaimed academy may yet bail them out, but that would require fast tracking the likes of Marcos Lopes, Karim Rekik and Emyr Huws, and whether that would aid or hinder their development is another matter. However they decide to tackle the situation, they look set to endure a difficult summer. With no one to blame but themselves for the punishments and stipulations forced upon them, a lack of foresight would appear to be their toughest opponent in the near future.

From: General

Is 4th the new 1st in the Premier League?

Posted on April 20, 2010 by in Man City, Spurs

The race for the fourth spot in the Premiership is more entertaining than seeing the same old stalwarts jostling for the top spot. Seriously Chelsea, Man United, and Arsenal in the top three, yawn.  Same ol same old story.  Although individually there are some interesting aspects to Man United’s and Chelsea’s seasons, viz, Man U’s performance after the loss of Ronaldo and of course Rooney’s disastrous ankle injury. Chelsea’s ups and downs have been well documented, what with a loss against Tottenham in the final leg of the season and problems with the Captain (Terry).  Arsene Wenger’s fighting to make something of his young Arsenal side hasn’t even been mentioned.

No the action is all about the coveted fourth spot.  It has been noted how things have gone from bad to worse with the chances of Liverpool recently.  What with Rafa Benetez’s position as manager being called into doubt.  The final nail in the coffin must surely (not for Benetez but for Liverpool) be the injury of Fernando Torres.

No no no, forget all that lot.  Tottenham Hot Spur and Manchester City, both having played the same number of games and being within 2 points of one another, is where it’s at.  What a show down.  Tottenham are cooking after defeating Chelsea, which combined with the win that Paul Scholes stole in the final minute against Man City has really mixed things up at the end of the season.

(more…)

What the managers age saying… Mancini a genius?

Posted on December 29, 2009 by in English Premier League, Man City

Mancini has only just taken over from Sparky and he has proven himself.  Since his start we’ve seen some excellent performanaces from the likes Carlos Tevez, viz Man City vs Wolves, 0-3.  Possibly showing a spot of genuis playing Bellamy and Robinho down the flanks.  Expect to see more of Bellamy showing off his work rate down the flanks feeding through loads of crosses  for Tevez to convert.  Mancini has taken his job back to basics.  Man City have managed a clean sheet in past games.  He has been working with Kolo Toure to firm up City’s defence.  It all sounds like the ingredients of making a top for team.  Firm defence and stricker working with consistant and proactive mid field.

Here’s what Roberto Mancini had to say.

“We have another 19 games, so all is possible. We have a good team and if we keep concentrating it’s possible [to win the Premier League]. We must carry on playing well and winning. Then, in two months, we can look at the situation [in the title race]. It’s important that we just play well and improve match after match. If we keep playing well, if we keep the ball on the pitch and play a short game, we can arrive in the top four.”

(more…)

Foreigners are stealing top managers jobs

Posted on December 23, 2009 by in English Premier League, Man City

When the money comes the management changes.  Look at the top teams in the Premiership today.  All the top managers jobs go to foreigners.  With a campaign to promote home grown premiership football players gaining interest the same can’t be said for British football managers.

Why shoud it be this way?

It could be the higher wages…. this may explain why foreigners are so happy to come to the UK.

(more…)