Thursday, 25 May 2017

Ratings & ‘empty seats’ stats for the 2016/17 season.


Season over, how did our players & fans do…and how did Manyoo fans do too?


My player ratings.


Claudio Bravo:                      4.5/10
Truly, truly awful and even improving a little before his injury doesn’t get him an “average” rating of 5.

Willy Caballero:                     8/10
“Mr Cup man” turned “rotated with Claudio” turned “full cover for injury” got better and better and better as the weeks ticked by. In the last few weeks, he looked a completely different keeper from the one we first signed!

Gael Clichy:                           7/10
Some errors but “Steady Eddie” also put in some very good, notable displays too.

Aleksandar Kolarov:            6.5/10
Still some terrible defensive displays but almost forgotten about amidst far more accomplished ones. Appeared better when asked to cover on the left of central defence and his long-distance, cross-field passing at times was a joy to watch.

Vincent Kompany:                8.5/10
“If only” was on the lips of almost every blue I spoke to about ‘our Skip’. Once he was fully over his appalling list of injuries (some unrelated to others) he not only put in some superb performances that seemed to get better the closer we got to the end of the season but he was clearly responsible for improving the ratings of his fellow defenders. Simply brilliant and would have been challenging for player of the season had he’d been fit for most of it.

Nicholas Otamendi:              7.5/10
Earlier on in the season there were still some wobbly displays that reminded us of his earlier displays not long after signing – being caught out of position and mistiming some rash challenges. But he improved…and then improved some more with Vinny next to him.

Bacary Sagna:                       7/10
Appearances seemed to decline as the season went on, partly through injury, but this fella rarely lets us down…and he didn’t again.

John Stones:                         7.5/10
Over-the-top criticism from pundits had me scratching my head when he made a couple of clangers. He was heading for a decent 7/10 but before the injury that ruled him out of the last few weeks, he improved significantly in my mind to earn a very good, extra-half-point. With Vinny or A.N. Other next to him next season, he can only improve further with age & experience. 

Pablo Zabaleta:                     8/10 
The emotion of such a City legend set aside; this battleship at the back for us produced some very, very good performances (even when asked to do a job in midfield); made more impressive by the fact that most City fans thought he would have struggled / slowed-down a lot this season. But, similar to a certain Ivorian midfielder, although his legs were ‘going’ a little; he looked leaner & shaper in many ways. Never does - and DIDN’T - let us down whenever he played.

Kevin De Bruyne:                 7.5/10
Quieter season than the previous…and that’s despite his many, eventual assists. At times, he was anonymous; other times his passing radar wasn’t just broken but it had been completely demolished! Then, in true Kevin style, he found his rhythm and improved so much toward the end of the season it was palpable. Never lacks effort…but what IS that ‘drop-off’ in form - and in some games - that I keep seeing from the red-haired, red faced one?

Fabian Delph:                        7/10
I know he didn’t play much but whenever he did pull on a City shirt season-just-gone, I can find little fault in his displays; some of which were really quite good. What a shame he can’t stay fit ‘cause I think Pep likes him, otherwise, and would prove a real squad asset.

Fernandinho:                         8.5/10
Spoilt some early-to-mid season good performances with some 'old Fernandinho' moments of madness – for a seemingly gentle fella he really does seem to have another [bad / rash] side to him. Then, whether playing in midfield or at right-back, he just switched up a gear or two and really shone with some truly excellent performances.

Fernando:                              6.5/10
Did okay when asked to step in, which was usually towards the end of games. Nothing special but certainly nothing bad from “The Octopus”. 'Often defensively reassuring' is a good way to describe him.

Ilkay Gundogan:                   6.5/10
Mixed performances before his terrible injury that included a ‘settling in’ period following another lengthy injury before he made his move to Manchester…but some moments of real class too as he began to ‘bed in’ (including some goals to his name). Let’s see what next season brings for the German international midfielder…

Aleix Garcia:                          6/10
Of couple of decent, steady displays from the youngster earlier on in the season; looked a little lost whenever he was given a shot towards the end.

Jesus Navas:                         6.5/10
Was heading for a 5.5/10 from me for most of the season but improved towards the end (there’s a reoccurring theme there with some of our players), especially when asked to do a job at right-back before Fernandinho made that position his. Still can’t flippin’ cross or shoot for the most part though!

Nolito:                                    6/10
Only gets such high-a-rating following his early form and goals. After that? We got nothing from his debut season.

Leroy Sane:                           8.5/10
Biggest compliment I heard? As my mate & I were in awe of his gameplay v Crystal Palace he said to me, “Wow! The way he danced through their players, then, was George Best like!”. If it wasn’t for a slow start and a couple of games that just didn’t work for him, he’d have been on for 9 for sure. This is one special, young player…

David Silva:                           9.5/10…and a “*” to go with that!
Simply a footballing genius who gets in my all-time City 11. Great season for the Spaniard!

Raheem Sterling:                  7.5/10
Still has a nagging habit of not making the right decision at keys times - this lets him down badly and is holding him back. To prove that he has to ability & scope to improve though, he still gets a very fine 7.5 rating from me. Could / should have been a lot higher…

Yaya Toure:                           8/10
After the spat came a lean & 'ready for business' Ivorian midfielder who slotted right back into place. Went quiet for a short time but towards the end (there’s that phrase again) ‘the big man’ was back!

Sergio Aguero:                     8.5/10
For the first 3rd of the season he was a little hit & miss and even looked a little sorry for himself and somewhat startled, as rumours surfaced that Pep wasn’t happy with his 'work rate' either on the training pitch or during games. Injury hampered him a little too, once again. But once both of those had been sorted, he hit a run of form both in terms of goals and overall displays that was breath taking at times…and 33 goals in all competitions is an excellent return! Would have got an added star from me if he’d have REALLY played to his ability for most of the season.

Kelechi Iheanacho:               5.5/10
Before the season, I said that this was the Nigerian’s season to shine under his new manager. Stats might still show that he has a decent ‘minutes to goals’ ratio but what a missed opportunity it was for him to show Guardiola what a potential he really is. Everything seemed to bounce off his shins in displays that looked like he was just trying too hard at times. It just didn’t ‘click’ for the youngster this season.

Gabriel Jesus:                       8.5/10…and, like David, a “*” to go with that despite his mere 10 games in a City shirt.
What a player! Has everything, doesn’t he? Pace with the ball; skill in bucket loads, finishing ability with his feet, has scored with his head, GREAT team player / awareness of colleagues around him…and a terrific ‘work ethic’ thrown into the mix too! If he’d have played all season and not got injured for many weeks he would have been pushing David Silva for ‘top spot’ in my ratings for sure.

Pep Guardiola:                      7/10
Gave us that opening 10-games of the season that had us all drooling and rubbing our hands with great anticipation. Took us to the Semi-final of the F.A. Cup and round of 16 in the Champions League, including THAT home game against Monaco (shame about the 2nd leg in France). Brought in John Stones, Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus and ‘sorted out’ Yaya and his agent. Finished 3rd in the Premier League in his first season in charge, making us the 3rd highest scorers in the league and giving us the 4th best defence in the Prem (so why were the pundits hammering our defence all season and not the 16 other teams that conceded more goals than us?). Gave us some brilliant football to watch. On the other side of the coin, however, appeared to be a little too stubborn at times and, although wonderful to watch, played a little TOO much nicey-nicey, sideways moves and not enough devastating, more-direct-attacking football until the end of the season. Result? Far too many missed opportunities and home draws and we also didn’t win enough of the ‘big games’ against ‘bigger opposition’. Shamefully ‘binned’ Joe Hart at the beginning of the season and replaced him with Claudio Bravo. Brought in Nolito. All-in-all, a decent but “still learning” season…

Overall team performance:  7.5/10
That final rating is boosted by a good run-in towards the end the season…

Home kit:                               8/10
Sleeves grew on me when I saw it close up.


Away (2nd) kit:                        3/10
Had some maroon in it…but those SOCKS!



3rd (also called “cup”) kit:    -16/10


What the…HELL?!

Empty seats


Empty seats? What on earth am I on about?

Well I don't like to mention "them" if at all possible on my blog postings - I'm just not bothered about 'em. However, regular readers might recall that I chuck this in after the season has finished and the reason for that is quite simple. As we have become more successful in recent years, filling our cabinets with an F.A. Cup, a couple of League Cups a brace of Premier League title trophies and a Community Shield, there has been less and less for a certain team from Trafford to beat us over the head with, as they try to find a crack in our armour to ‘have a pop’ an any opportunity.

Not that I’m bothered about them too much at ALL but, a few seasons back, I began to wonder just what was the gap between the number of empty seats per match / per season between us & them. And do you know what…it’s laughably not that much at all and, in fact, they have had, in previous seasons, more red seats showing than we have had blue ones!

As for the other morons who turn up at the Etihad singing about empty seats and “We’re just a **** Man United”, I won’t even give them ‘blog time’…

So, the result for this-season-just-gone:

Manchester City Capacities:
Domestic: 55,097
European: 53,000

Total number of empty seats in all competitions 2016/17:
58,193

Most empty seats during a match:
22,730 v Borussia Monchengladbach (NOTE: This was a rearranged fixture within 24 hours following the postponement of the match due to severe weather conditions)

Least number of empty seats during a match:
+351 v Monaco (NOTE: For the this fixture we actually exceeded the allowed capacity of 53,000 for European games by 351 and, so, there were officially no empty seats for this game)


Manyoo capacity:
75,635 for both domestic and in the Europa Cup

Total number of empty seats in all competitions 2016/17:
84,121

Most empty seats during a match:
17,456 v Zorya Luhansk

Least number of empty seats during a match:

So, for the ‘most empty seats during any single game’ category, Manyoo win that one BUT, as I have said, our 22,730 blue seats was at a hastily rearranged game following some of the heaviest rains and the biggest thunder & lightning storm I’ve seen in a long, long time in this country.

Least number of empty seat during a single match goes to us, with our +351 against their 238.

Total number of empty seats all season? We win, as Manyoo had 25,928 MORE empty seats in all competitions as we did last season.

So…when any embittered, Manyoo fan - or a fan of ANY team for that matter - makes themselves look silly with their “Emptyhad” comments or songs, just smile at them sympathetically as I often do. 

News just in / just learnt...


Around the time Manchester City Football Club release an on-line message of solidarity & support following Manyoo’s Europa Cup win and in the wake of the horrendous and very upsetting bomb blast at the Manchester Arena worded, “#A City United; Manyoo players sang, “…why don’t City **** off home” (around 1:17 on the video below).



Classless and utterly obsessed.

Friday, 19 May 2017

Will Watford’s decision be a factor for us?

With a point minimum required in our last game of the season (3 would definitely see us finish 3rd) I was wondering if our hosts’ decision to sack their Manager a few days earlier would change the ‘feel’ of this fixture at all.

 

For a team who have dropped like a rock in recent weeks to 16th in the table and with 7 defeats in the last 10 league games (5 of those being their last 5 outings); will the departure of Walter Mazzarri result in Watford’s players feeling a sense of relief and, therefore, play with ‘free abandon’ OR, with nothing to play for other than personal pride and a few league places, will they instead feel a little shell-shocked and lacking any motivation before they set off on holiday? 

 

Let’s hope it’s the latter…




v Watford

 

Predicted line-up, subs and outcome.

Fluid 4-5-1 / 4-3-3:

____________________Aguero____________________






___Sane_______________________________Jesus___


_____________Silva___________De Bruyne_________

_____________________Toure____________________








____________________Caballero____________________


Subs: Gunn, Clichy, Zabaleta, Stones, Fernando, Navas, Sterling.

Notable absences: Outfield player with gloves on (injured for the rest for the season), Fabian Delph (injured for the rest for the season), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for the rest for the season), Nolito (not selected), Kelechi Iheanacho (not selected).

Same starting line-up as in the last game; same subs (easy write-up)!

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?


Yep.

Result? I’m not sure if I take comfort from the fact that most pundits an’ the like are all talking about the battle this weekend being between just Liverpool & Arsenal for a ‘top 4’ finish or not – they appear to be making this-one-a-City-win as ‘a given’. I hope they’re right!

Aside from what I’ve already talked about with Watford’s sacking of their manager; they’ll want to finish at home on a high and it does unsettle me a little that they managed to breach Chelsea’s defence THREE TIMES in their eventual 4-3 defeat last time out.

However, their last-10 form of LWWLWLLLLL against our DDLWWDDWWW does settle any small jitters I might have. This is a ‘job done’ City win for me.

Expected weather conditions during the game: Dry, warm (18C) and sunny!


Monday, 15 May 2017

Bye-bye Zabba. Hello again Champions League?



Waving goodbye to an absolutely City hero will be an emotional one tomorrow evening. I posted this on-line the other day that sums up how I feel about the fella: 

 

“If he continues to play on elsewhere for a season or two, some club is gonna get one HELL of a free-transfer right-back with a big, big heart!

 

"In my all-time 'City 11'", is the biggest accolade I can give him. 

 

Legend - come back when you've hung-up your boots in ANY capacity Zabba”. 

 

What a star!

 

But, as we say farewell to our Argentine battler, rumours are that we’ll be seeing both Yaya Toure & Jesus Navas next season; as both have impressed Pep enough to possibly earn another year contract. Looking back at both the troubles that have surrounded Yaya and the frustrating lack of ‘end product’ over the years from our winger-come-covering right-back, Jesus; it leaves me repeating those famous footballing words, “It’s a funny old game”…


Pressure is still on!


Basically, we need to win one and at least draw the other to be sure of 4th place. That might even be enough to see us finish 3rd…but we’ll-then be reliant on ‘goal difference’ with Liverpool. Win both of our remaining matches and we’ll definitely finish 3rd; leaving the Merseyside club to scrap it out with Arsenal for the final Champions League spot now that Manyoo are ‘out of the picture’ in the league (all eggs in one Europa-final basket for them).

v West Bromwich Albion


Etihad Stadium


Fluid 4-1-4-1:



____________________Jesus____________________






Sane___________________________________Navas

___________Silva____________DeBruyne________


__________________Fernando___________________



Kolarov_____Otamendi_____Kompany_____Zabaleta





___________________Cabellero__________________


Subs: Gunn, Clichy, Stones, Toure, Nolito, Sterling, Aguero.

Some changes I think seeing as we played “just” 3 ½ days earlier (compared to WBA’s 4-day break)? Perhaps...

Aleks to come in for Gael; Nicholas & Vinny to ‘go again’ and Pablo to have a ‘farewell start’, I would say so.

Fernando might see a rare start tomorrow evening and ahead of him, Leroy, David & Kevin to continue to provide attacking, creative support and joined, I think, by contract-hopeful Jesus.

Gabriel to get another lone-striking role.

Angus as back-up keeper; Clichy ‘drops down’ and should be joined by John; who has now recovered from injury. Yaya has a little break, I’m guessing; Nolito, Raheem & Sergio in there as reserve attacking options.

Notable absences: Outfield player with gloves on (injured for the rest of the season), Bacary Sagna (not selected), Fabian Delph (Injured for the rest of the season), Fernandinho (not selected / rested), Ilkay Gundogan (injured for the rest of the season) & Kelechi Iheanacho (not selected).

Do I agree with Pep’s (predicted) line-up?


Fine with that.

Result? Even before the game that took Champions Chelsea (well done) 80’ish minutes to break the Midlands outfit down last Friday, I was going to say that these are a physically-strong side; organised very well by Tony Pulis. They offer little of an attacking threat but we’ll have to be ‘at our best’ to breach their defensive midfield / defence itself.

But I think we will – more than once – and with that; this is a vital home win for us.