At one point last season many feared that Manchester City were possible relegation candidates; this year those feelings appear to have been very distant. Last season Manchester City finished a lowly 14th in the table, just four points above the relegation zone; this year they have roared into third place, just behind local rivals United and free-flowing Arsenal.
The last year has seen many things for Manchester City- the sacking of Stuart Pearce, the takeover by Thai businessman Thaksin Shinawatra and of course the appointing of the controversial Sven-Goran Eriksson as manger. These three things have all contributed to what has been a major reshuffle of the team, and thus much improved performances on the pitch.
Last season’s results were often poor- the team did not play well together and in some matches were even accused of not having enough desire to try and win games. Manager Stuart Pearce had repeatedly failed to get the best out of his players, and while he showed plenty of passion from his position in the technical area it was often thought that he distracted the team during matches. Pearce was eventually sacked for a disappointing season, and while many were confident Manchester City would get relegated the next year few could have predicted the stellar start to the season they have had this year.
In the summer football fans saw great change at Manchester City; the takeover being the most important. Although this was not a takeover on the scale of Roman Abramovich, who put in around £100 for player purchases, it was still a pretty massive one for a team of Manchester City’s size. Shinawatra spent around £81.6 million to buy the club and then gave his newly employed manager Eriksson around £40 million to spend on players that could improve the club. Despite Eriksson famously claiming that he had decided to buy some of those players after seeing them play using video-tapes, most that have come in have done well and been instrumental to propelling Manchester City to the position they are in now.
The £40 million Sven was given to spend helped turn Manchester City into a team that struggled through last year’s Premiership battle into one that can genuinely compete for the European places come the end of the season. Eriksson brought in a few players that strengthened a squad that was lacking in quality, bringing in players that have improved Manchester City in all areas of the pitch. Up front, the Swede manager brought in Rolando Bianchi and Valeri Bojinov- two decent strikers capable of getting you goals when needed. He also made major changes in midfield, bringing in the likes of Gelson Fernandes, once-Barcelona failure Geovanni as well as the Brazilian Elano and Martin Petrov from Atletico Madrid- players that have helped add guile and trickery to a previously stale midfield. In defense Vedran Corluka and Javier Garrido were purchased, helping contribute to the side’s strong start defensively (keeping clean sheets in their first three games) to the season.
These past few months have seen major changes for Manchester City both on and off the pitch, and most that have seen them play would have said that those changes were for the better. Despite the many new players coming in the team has played a fluid, passing brand of football at times and will surely go on to do good things this season- especially with Eriksson hinting that even more players will be brought in during the January transfer window.
How do you rate Manchester City’s chances for this season in the Premier League and the domestic cups? Do you think they will qualify for the Uefa Cup for next season?