Manchester City Assessment: A Handicapped Pep Guardiola, An Endangered Iheanacho and more

“Should Mauricio Pochettino’s Tottenham win today, he’ll be the first manager to ever do the double over Pep Guardiola in a league season.”

Those were some of the words with which the commentators welcomed me as I started to watch the clash at the Etihad Stadium. It was a game of 2nd vs 5th, with both teams looking to get one over the other.

It was a great game of football. There were several goal attempts and it was end-to-end stuff; the football fan’s ultimate dream come true. There were no goals in the first half but the game ended in a 2-2 draw.

In this article, I’ll be looking at some of the talking points from the game.

1. Pep Hasn’t Lost His Mojo Yet… He’s Just Handicapped

I’ll admit it: While comparing the form of both teams going into this game, I just had that ‘pity’ feeling for the Citizens and their gaffer. The 4-0 <a href=”http://www.halftimeng.com/it-was-crazy-out-there-for-pep-at-everton-but-crazy-just-got-started/”>drubbing</a> at Everton still rang a bell and I half-heartedly expected them to be run over by a rampant Tottenham side.

But the first half display of Pep’s men proved me completely wrong! Their performance in the first 45 was one reminiscent of that glorious UEFA Champions League match against Barcelona at the Etihad last year.

The Manchester City players pressed Spurs so hard. They did a lot of running, closed down on their opponents quickly and had a handful of opportunities come their way in the process. Harry Kane’s first touch of the ball in the game came in the 20th minute. That’s how good Guardiola’s men were. But, how did the game end in a 2-2 draw if they played this well?

pep

While a case can be made for Mother Luck not being on Pep’s side on the day, it was more of not having the ‘right tools’ at his disposal. The tactics he set out to use worked fine. Rose and Walker were busied by Sterling and Sane. Aguero did well with charging at the Tottenham back line, but these names weren’t good enough to carry out the Philosopher’s tacts.

As usual, in a bid to protect his players, Pep came out to say that maybe he was <a href=”http://www.halftimeng.com/manchester-city-pep-guardiola-says-i-might-not-be-good-enough/”>not good enough</a> for his current team. But the opposite is obvious: Those 30-year-olds are gradually sucking life out of Pep Guardiola and the legend that used to be once fearsome.

Their tired legs can’t seem to keep up with  the Spaniard’s style of play and it’s majorly because of them Pep’s merely been hanging on in this league (waiting for the season to end so the exodus can begin, I guess).
<U>2. Jesus! Iheanacho is an Endangered Specie</U>

Pep must have deemed it fit to give his latest Brazilian, a shot towards the end of the game, in a bid to slowly introduce him to the almighty Premier League and Gabriel Jesus did not disappoint, scoring a goal (which was eventually ruled offside) and showing glimpses of greatness.

Image result for Gabriel Jesus manchester city

Things must have gone according to plan for all but what about Iheanacho? The medical team may have blamed Kelechi Iheanacho’s exclusion from the squad on some sort of mysterious injury. They would have advised that Gabriel Jesus be included in his stead, since he’s fit but what if that wasn’t the real reason Iheanacho was left out?

What if Kelechi was fit enough but was overlooked, <U>just this one time</U>, to see how good Gabriel really is? And now that the Brazilian has shown what stuff he’s made of, what next for Man. City’s golden youngster? A summer move? A loan move? Who knows?

kelechi

What’s certain is this: Gabriel Jesus is a football genius (no exaggeration). He had 10 minutes to show off and he did just that. Putting one and two together, his presence at City is a threat to Iheanacho’s existence. Sounds harsh but, that’s the truth.
<U>3. The Players</U>

None currently knows the City players like Pep and his back-room staff. He probably watches the team train everyday. He knows where who fits in best. That’s why he’s the coach.

As a writer, I can only write about these players as touching their performances on Matchdays. And boy, do I have a lot to write about after the Spurs game.

Bravo
Bravo
would have been a great place to start. But it turns out that everybody knows he was a Brave (Grave) Mistake made by Guardiola. Otamendi is a shining light at the end of Pep’s darkened defense tunnel. Zabaleta should just retire already. Yaya can be transformed into a Viera.


Silva
needs to take a trip to City’s sister team in New York and join them. De Bruyne needs to bring back the good ol’ days. Aguero will help the team a lot if he can reduce his selfishness. Sterling? His work rate is beautiful, but he needs to work on his career as a footballer, rather than as an actor. He also needs to work on his finishing and dribbling skills. Sane has loads of potential up his sleeves. Clichy needs a youngster who he can start grooming to replace him.

Chelsea seem a long way off now but at least, Pep can still push for a Champions League spot. Or better still, forfeit European football for at least a year and concentrate on building a team that can play the Philosopher’s way.

It Was Crazy Out There for Pep at Everton, but Crazy Just Got Started!

The 15th of January 2017 turned out to be one day Pep Guardiola will never forget (or at least, not forget in a hurry). The Spaniard would usually be in charge of the team scoring all the goals on the matchday, hugging a larger chunk of the ball possession and not conceding much (none at all, on the best of days), but last Sunday was a different day at the office.
In a “strange game,” Everton went on rampage, smashed four unreplied goals past Manchester City, and put on a dominant display. Pep’s men were blow away and looked out of sorts for the most part of the game. It was a crazy day for Pep but, looking into the crystal ball, could things get even crazier over time?

pep

Let’s start (that’s you and I), with what went wrong on the day and try to see whether things will get better or worse for the Citizens and their manager.

Pep Guardiola lined up a formation that had all the right players in the right spots, save one: Pablo Zabaleta. In a weird, not-un-Pep-like move, the Philosopher chose to play the Argentine in City’s midfield, alongside Yaya Toure. It was a move that would end up imploding in Pep’s face. Funny enough, Guardiola let this implosion last a long while, before calling time on it and making a substitution. I could go on and on but you probably already know how things ended.

Image result for Yaya and Zabaleta

Both oldies (Yaya and Zabaleta) were well handled by Barry and eventual man of the match, 18-year old Tom Davies, whose youthfulness proved to be a huge difference for Everton in the midfield. Zabaleta’s inclusion in the squad made Man. City look like they were playing with a man short. It was the classic case of the square peg and the round hole; he just didn’t fit in, spending the whole time playing like an Everton player in a Manchester City jersey. Can’t blame him can we? Okay, maybe we can (a little), but, how about the man who chose to play a full-back in the middle of the park?

If it was one of those “Philosophic Experiments” or a move forced by the absence of the usual suspects (the Brazilians), it’s hard to tell. But the obvious was: Pep opted for a full-back in midfield while overlooking a certain midfielder, Fabian Delph, who was on the bench on the day. Delph ain’t no magician and as such, his inclusion wouldn’t have stopped City from getting beat. But then again, Zabaleta’s presence apparently made things worse for Manchester City.

Image result for Fabian Delph

No one will ever know what was going through Guardiola’s mind while he was selecting which soldier to start his battle against Everton with. No one will probably care now (maybe not those soccer aficionados though, those ones who like to talk football for hours on end). City lost 4-0 at the Goodison Park. It was Pep’s heaviest league defeat ever. But, it’s all news now, water under the bridge.

FBL-EUR-C1-BAYERN MUNICH-TRAINING

What’s news now is what the future holds for the Manchester City gaffer. Of course, he’s not at risk of losing his job. It also doesn’t seem like he’ll be leaving anytime soon as the Pep legacy has not been implemented yet.  What’s news now is, how will Pep and his boys cope with their most immediate fixtures which features names like Tottenham Hotspurs and their Manchester cousins, amongst others?

Doubtless, the Everton game was just another league game. Thank goodness, it wasn’t a cup game. The relay race is still on! But,

– Have Manchester City just taken a huge blow psychologically?

– Tottenham is up next. Some key names are still missing from the squad. Will it be another blow out, this time in front of their home fans?

– With a depleted team, is this the perfect time to try something new, seeing as his current players can’t play what he wants?

– Has the pain in the neck (Claudio Bravo) overstayed his welcome (a starting place) seeing as there’s a ”good-enough” replacement in Willy Caballero?

Oh how it’d have been lovely to have those answers quickly. But we can’t. Only time can tell, which is dangerous too as time is running out just as City falls even further from a top four spot.

I agree, it’s been a crazy Premier League season. But things are just about to get crazier for one club, Manchester City.

 

Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter <a href=”http://twitter.com/rotdav”>@rotdav</a>

INTER MILAN:THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

In Adeyemi Adesanya’s preview to the Serie A season, he spoke about it not been a Calcio season without one turmoil or the other at the Milan clubs. The Nerazurri have just gone through another transfer of the ownership baton with Erik Thoir getting rid of the ancestoral headache that has plagued Milan’s second club by selling a majority stake in the club to the Chinese group, Suning Group for 270 Million Euros.

Image result for suning group

The days of Inter Milan winning titles left, right and center seem 20 million light years away. Since winning the treble in 2010 under Jose Mourinho, Inter have become a shadow of themselves and even the return of Roberto Mancini could not revive the Nerazzuri. Issues relating to transfer policy, poor pre season preparations, differences in opinion; eventually led to the departure of Roberto Mancini which surprisingly opened the door for the arrival of Frank de Boer, who had been linked with moves to rivals AC Milan and English side, Everton during the summer. He has taken over the hot seat and his Inter reign has not started on a good note with no wins in two matches against teams (Chievo and Palermo) they were expected to defeat comfortably.

Frank De Boer

Now, with their new manager struggling to find his feet at the San Siro and employing a set of tactics/playing style that have not been used at the club since the reign of Stramaccioni and Gasperini which have unsettled the side especially as there was no bedding period which the pre season would have offered. The Nerazzuri have gone into the market to solve problems in attack and midfield by making a club record signing of 45 million Euros for Portuguese midfielder, Joao Mario from Sporting Lisbon and Gabriel Barbosa from Brazilian side, Santos.

Image result for Joao Mario inter

The burning question is: “what can Joao Mario bring to Inter Milan?”Joao Mario is a versatile player who can play in a variety of positions across the midfield, He is a hard worker, difficult to get off the ball, takes fiery shots, is good with crosses, can deliver a range of passes, has beautiful control, has accurate ball distribution and his decision making is quite good. While the qualities listed above make Joao Mario look like a super player, it is important to note that Joao Mario is not without his flaws; he can make you think of him as a grade D player, due to the decisions he makes and the fact that he doesn’t score a lot of goals when he gets into positions to do so. However.if he lives up to the hype and to his full potential, Inter would benefit greatly from his purchase.

Image result for Gabriel Barbosa inter

As Inter prepare for a new chapter of their history under Frank de Boer with the likes of Ever Banega, Joao Mario and Gabriel Barbosa, the journey to recovery has started; however, it would not be a quick, smooth and painless journey; wins are imperative and in quick succession too, to lift the mood in the stadium and around the fans.

Halftimeng Premier League Team of Week 3

Three weeks in, the momentum is quite visible; but then comes the International break to squash all the fun we are having, well all we have to do is to be a little patient things will return back to normal in two weeks.

So the trio of Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City have a 100% record so far; all three maintain their record with varying degree of ease or hardship, bottom line is these records take a break and live to fight another day. I have received a number of criticism on my selection style and in my defense I will say there’s no selection of top eleven players in the world that would please everyone. However, one thing is for sure; we cannot begrudge Curtis Davies his place in the line up for the third straight time as well as the impact of Manchester United’s sensation Marcus Rashford. Here is my Premier League Team of Week Three in a 4-3-3 formation:

 

LINEUP111472427532798

#TipsFromPapi: Wait! Don’t Jump In Yet! + 14 Games To Choose From This Weekend

It’s the weekend again, if you’re someone like me, you’re probably already looking out for the most profitable games in the world to stake your money on; to earn some extra cash, or win that huge sum.

Of course some play everyday, but the weekend, unmistakably, presents the highest number of games from which to choose from. Now, that’s a blessing… and also a curse! With plenty of games to choose from, the chances of losing skyrockets, alongside your chances of winning.

images (1)

So, as usual, you have those favourite prediction sites opened on your phone or laptop, for all the permutations and selections. Do they really help? That’s one only you can answer.

You’re probably already wondering what this post is all about. Well, let’s just say I’m out to give you what you usually get from those other prediction websites… and then add some more. How?

As a Football Speculator, I’ll be sharing some tips with you that can help you avoid that “na one game spoil my ticket” story. While doing that, I’ll also be giving you some select games which you can profit from.

As usual, on this playground, NOTHING IS GUARANTEED. Anything can happen! with that in my mind, my first tip is

images (2)

You Don’t Have To Select Every Game In Sight.
It’ll be unfair to your purse, staking on 30+ games, every weekend. Haba bros! Ahn ahn! You too want to win #10.5m with a #200 stake abi? That miracle doesn’t happen everytime you know. How about you concentrate more on discovering how to select winning games, instead of trying to select all in sight? That’ll be more helpful.

Secondly,

Wait! Don’t Jump In Yet!
Yeah. You heard me right. Wait. Chill out, while you’re in the chilling lounge, OBSERVE. Still wondering what I’m talking about? Well, I’m talking about the “New Season” fever. The new football season is underway in Europe (unlike in other parts of the world eg Brazil, U.S.A). And everyone can’t wait to jump on the train, you already know how it turned out for you with the English Premier League last week, right?

With the La Liga & Serie A kicking off this weekend, choose to watch from afar, instead of putting your money in the game. See how the league starts off this time. With that knowledge, you can be sure to at least, avoid those “potholes” in subsequent rounds.

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So, those are my tips for you this weekend.

Below are some of my select games for this weekend. I’d usually post varying options to choose from. But I chose to major in one market for this debut post. Hopefully, you’ll find this post and its tips useful, ask for more and there’ll be subsequent posts to cover games in full details.

I’ve selected these 14 games out of the multitude of games to be played this weekend. With their statistics, I strongly feel that the outcome of all these games should be Over 1.5 Goals. Their kick-off times are spread out between Friday and Sunday.

Be sure to check them out yourselves to see if you’re comfortable with their Head-to-Head and other necessary statistics.

Denmark: AC Horsens v Lyngby – O1.5 Goals

U.S.A: Montreal Impact II v Bethlehem Steel FC – O1.5 Goals

Norway: Lillestroem v FK Haugesund – O1.5 Goals

Sweden: IK Frej Taeby v Aatvidaberg – O1.5 Goals

Brazil: America MG v Chapecoense AF – O1.5 Goals

China: Dalian Yifang v Shanghai Shenxin – O1.5 Goals

Sweden: Hammarby v IFK Gothenburg – O1.5 Goals

Sweden: Helsingborg v Kalmar FF – O1.5 Goals

Sweden: Falkenbergs FF v Gefle – O1.5 Goals (you can also select Both Teams To Score)

Sweden: Elfsborg v GIF Sundsvall – O1.5 Goals

Switzerland: Young Boys v Lausanne – O1.5 Goals

Thailand: Osotspa Samut Prakan
FC v BBCU FC – O1.5 Goals

Thailand: Chainat FC v Sukhothai FC – O1.5 Goals

U.S.A: Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC – O1.5 Goals

P.S: Obviously I didn’t add kick-off times and the specific leagues. But the countries indicated should help your search. Like I said earlier, your feedback will help me to know if you found it useful or not. So please feel free to let me know how you found this post useful by leaving your comments in the comments section below. You can also share your games with me and let’s rub minds.

Cheers to a weekend of good football!

 

THREE THINGS WE LEARNT FROM THE OPENING PREMIER LEAGUE WEEKEND

91 days after the last season, then known as the English Premier league, The Premier League returned to the pitches and our screens with much buzz, drama, shocks and of course beautiful goals across the 10 games played. From the opening game of the season which featured defending champions Leicester City away at Hull to the Monday night kick-off where a late Diego Costa goal sealed Antonio Conte’s first victory at Chelsea, the excitement, edge of your seat action and talking points is back and here are three things we learnt from Week 1 of the new season;

Antonio-Conte

1. New Coaches showing their hands from the off

This season saw an influx of many top managers featuring or returning to the Premier League with the likes of Pep Guardiola, Walter Mazzarri, Jose Mourinho and Antonio Conte in the mix and these coaches have gone ahead to show from the first game that they will be sticking to that plan which earned them their reputation in the first place.
First we saw a lot of players being frozen out, there was no place in the match-day squad for Yaya Toure at Manchester City and Pep favoring a sweeper/goalkeeper benched England No 1 Joe Hart for Caballero and its rumoured to have sealed a deal for Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo, he also had his full backs having less than 5 touches in their own penalty box as they played more as wingers, For Jose it was a clean slate offering, as the likes of Fellaini, Herrera and Mata were given the chance to earn their places and on the day, the trio didn’t do badly. Conte favored Oscar in the creative role leaving Fabregas out on the bench while clearly showing that Kante will play a key role for the team this season shielding the back four alongside Matic, he also showed he had no problem removing Hazard and switching to a two man front line when the team needs a goal, still early days yet but clearly these new managers will make this a season of tactical battles and unending drama on the touchline.

Leicester-City-lift-the-Premier-League-trophy

2. Welcome to the real world, Leicester City
After surprising all and carting home the title last season, Leicester City began this new season not as favorites but were still expected to make soft work of Hull City who seemed in complete disarray both off and on the pitch. Only 13 fit players, yet to officially announce a new manager with assistant Mike Phelan standing in, all looked set for a Leicester City win as many had already condemned Hull to be relegated even before the first ball was kicked (which may as well still happen) but after 90 minutes, Leicester had the unenviable record of being the first defending champion since the Premier league era to lose its opening game, they had their chances, the Ahmed Musa and Vardy combination looked promising in bits but up against a determined Hull side, Ranieri’s men just fell short and were brought back to reality. Up next is a game against Arsenal who also lost their opening game to Liverpool, both sides will surely not want to lose two games already at this stage of the season, so it promises to be an interesting week 2 encounter.

3. Way too many changes to the brand
First, we had to get used to the name change, now known as The Premier League and not The English Premier League or even Barclays Premier League, then we have to get used to the new in-your-face purple colors splashed across the Logo and fonts, aside learning about the new mode of kicking off the game which now no longer needs two players, (luckily, the Euros treated us to an early dose of this), to hearing that Wayne Rooney and other team captains can no longer scream at an official rightly or wrongly, then as if these were not enough, the major means of viewing the Premier League across this side of the Niger is via satellite network, DSTV and they also came up with a Nigerian studio set at the indoor hall of the National stadium, not only did they join the games late, the analysis bar one of their pundits was pretty much horrible and the sounds from the newly introduced fans arena right in the studio made for poor feedback at end users watching at home, as much as we understand the re-branding of the Premier League name to open it up for more sponsorship avenues, too much of trying to fix what was never broke at times just isn’t needed.

Arsene 1

3 and a half. New Season, Same old Arsenal
Not many really saw Arsenal losing their first game at home to Liverpool coming but it wasn’t exactly shocking when it did happen, from the moment the starting line-ups were reeled out and we saw the defensive pairing of young Rob Holding and Chambers up against the forward trio of Sane, Firminho and Coutinho, it was evident that goals and defensive mistakes will be in order. For weird reasons, Arsene has refused to strengthen in areas where the team evidently are short, to also add to this weirdness, he gave the likes of Giroud and Koscielny extended holidays and whilst this may eventually pay off in the long run, a defeat at home already is not a good way to start the season and get your fans behind you, hopefully this does not turn out like the season he lost 8-2 to Manchester United and went into the transfer market haphazardly buying just for the sake of it and not because he had long identified his targets.

After Pep Guardiola's First Game: 4 Things I Learnt

Just as other fans had been writing about their frustrations and their expectations for their favourite clubs before the league kicked off, I wanted to write about my darling Manchester City and their 2016/17 English Premier League campaign.

But I decided against it. “Pep is a very unpredictable and unconventional coach,”I thought to myself. And it’s true: None can exactly say what he’ll bring along with him on any certain day and so, I decided to wait till after The Philosopher’s first game-in-charge before writing anything on the Citizens; after the Sunderland game, there was plenty to talk about. And I’ve touched on some in this piece.

Sweeper Keeper, Different Keeper
Pep Guardiola has kick-started the “revolution engine” in the blue half of Manchester by introducing some new tact and converting some players. In his first game on Saturday, he chose to pick Caballero over Joe Hart.

But this Caballero was a different one. Not in a bad way though. This Caballero was “all of a sudden” reluctant to play long balls. He preferred to pass the ball to Kolarov or Stones rather than trying to find Aguero upfront. Whenever his Center Backs got marked, he directed his kicks to the sides where Sterling and Nolito were waiting.

Also, Caballero wasn’t afraid to come off his line to make clearances; another familiar feature of a goalkeeper under the Pep.

Building Up Play From the Back… Painstakingly!
As a fan who has seen plenty of games, it was a bit surprising to see City players spend a lot of time on building play from the back. Under Pellegrini and Mancini, we were used to the “Fernandinho-drags-it-from-the-defense-passes-it-to-Silva-who-passes-to-Aguero-for-the-goal” kind of moves.

But it was shocking to see the Center Backs exchange so many passes. No player was in a hurry to kick the ball forward. Matter-of-fact, they seemed to be more interested in kicking the ball back to their own half, than going forward.

Of course they were those “Old Man. City” moments of lightning-quick counter-attacks but with around 600+ passes completed, it’s more than obvious: The Philosopher is in town.

The Conversion Has Started!
Pep Guardiola is not a coach afraid of making changes (no matter how weird it is). He’ll switch players, twitch formations and still get the results he wants. Not a lot of coaches can do that.

Against Sunderland, the formation on paper was a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Fernandinho to play as the holding midfielder. When the game started, the formation switched to something like a 3-2-4-1 formation (lol, if there’s anything like that), with Sagna and Clichy spending more time in the midfield and Fernandinho enjoying his position between Stones and Kolarov, the center backs of the day. I almost forgot to mention Nolito playing wide.

Pep Has Brought His “Philosophies” To the City
Kolarov has become a center-back. Fernandinho may soon become a permanent center-back too. But where will Otamendi, Kompany and Mangala fit into? In other news, the story of Manchester City’s full-backs may just be another Lahm tale.

Joe Hart is uncertain with reports of a certain Claudio Bravo’s arrival rife. Aguero, Silva and De Bruyne look untouchable but, who knows what’s next for Yaya Toure or/and Fernando?

Funny enough, Pep seems to want to surprise all with the most-unlikely name: Raheem Sterling who was the Man of the Match against Sunderland. The formation change has not been much of a surprise though.

No one knows what’s coming next from Pep and the Citizens. But after his first game-in-charge, Manchester City fans are in for a football season of a lifetime!

 

After Pep Guardiola’s First Game: 4 Things I Learnt

Just as other fans had been writing about their frustrations and their expectations for their favourite clubs before the league kicked off, I wanted to write about my darling Manchester City and their 2016/17 English Premier League campaign.

But I decided against it. “Pep is a very unpredictable and unconventional coach,”I thought to myself. And it’s true: None can exactly say what he’ll bring along with him on any certain day and so, I decided to wait till after The Philosopher’s first game-in-charge before writing anything on the Citizens; after the Sunderland game, there was plenty to talk about. And I’ve touched on some in this piece.

Sweeper Keeper, Different Keeper
Pep Guardiola has kick-started the “revolution engine” in the blue half of Manchester by introducing some new tact and converting some players. In his first game on Saturday, he chose to pick Caballero over Joe Hart.

But this Caballero was a different one. Not in a bad way though. This Caballero was “all of a sudden” reluctant to play long balls. He preferred to pass the ball to Kolarov or Stones rather than trying to find Aguero upfront. Whenever his Center Backs got marked, he directed his kicks to the sides where Sterling and Nolito were waiting.

Also, Caballero wasn’t afraid to come off his line to make clearances; another familiar feature of a goalkeeper under the Pep.

Building Up Play From the Back… Painstakingly!
As a fan who has seen plenty of games, it was a bit surprising to see City players spend a lot of time on building play from the back. Under Pellegrini and Mancini, we were used to the “Fernandinho-drags-it-from-the-defense-passes-it-to-Silva-who-passes-to-Aguero-for-the-goal” kind of moves.

But it was shocking to see the Center Backs exchange so many passes. No player was in a hurry to kick the ball forward. Matter-of-fact, they seemed to be more interested in kicking the ball back to their own half, than going forward.

Of course they were those “Old Man. City” moments of lightning-quick counter-attacks but with around 600+ passes completed, it’s more than obvious: The Philosopher is in town.

The Conversion Has Started!
Pep Guardiola is not a coach afraid of making changes (no matter how weird it is). He’ll switch players, twitch formations and still get the results he wants. Not a lot of coaches can do that.

Against Sunderland, the formation on paper was a 4-1-4-1 formation, with Fernandinho to play as the holding midfielder. When the game started, the formation switched to something like a 3-2-4-1 formation (lol, if there’s anything like that), with Sagna and Clichy spending more time in the midfield and Fernandinho enjoying his position between Stones and Kolarov, the center backs of the day. I almost forgot to mention Nolito playing wide.

Pep Has Brought His “Philosophies” To the City
Kolarov has become a center-back. Fernandinho may soon become a permanent center-back too. But where will Otamendi, Kompany and Mangala fit into? In other news, the story of Manchester City’s full-backs may just be another Lahm tale.

Joe Hart is uncertain with reports of a certain Claudio Bravo’s arrival rife. Aguero, Silva and De Bruyne look untouchable but, who knows what’s next for Yaya Toure or/and Fernando?

Funny enough, Pep seems to want to surprise all with the most-unlikely name: Raheem Sterling who was the Man of the Match against Sunderland. The formation change has not been much of a surprise though.

No one knows what’s coming next from Pep and the Citizens. But after his first game-in-charge, Manchester City fans are in for a football season of a lifetime!