City Slickers II hot for the rest!

by Matt Quinn

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

Last season I made the inspired prediction that Spurs would crack the top 4 and qualify for the Champions League. After watching them take around 23 matches to get their first point, I realised that my ability to forsee in football was still pretty bloody ropey. Previous failures included tipping Craig Bellamy to win European Footballer of the Year while at Liverpool and Colombia to win the World Cup in ‘94.

However, undeterred, I’ve decided to give another spot of pre-season predicting a bash and this year I’ve been seduced by the outrageous wealth of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed up at the City of Manchester stadium. This year, I have a feeling that a real power shift will take place in the Premiership and it will be the most unpredictable season English fans have seen for many a year. Hence why I’m now making a prediction. Man City will win the Premier league. Easily.

The tumult within the usual top 4 teams means there is no clear championship favourite for once. City’s neighbours, United, have been unquestionably weakened by player loss, while their summer reinforcements are less than inspiring. Most worrying for United is the lack of quality and genuine inspiration in their midfield. Anderson, Nani, Tosic and Valencia really have to step up to the mark this season, or I honestly believe they will struggle to finish in the top 3.

Chelsea have also struggled to recruit legitimate world class players this summer. Yuri Zhirkov is a cracking player, but will have to displace one of Chelsea’s best functioning partnerships – Ashley Cole or Malouda- to make the starting eleven. Overall, I fail to see much of an obvious improvement on last seasons efforts unless Ancelotti can bring in another striker or creative midfielder.

Liverpool may be the best placed of the usual suspects to grab their first title in around 78 years, but with question marks over the futures of their most important duo, Alonso and Mascherano, and with Benitez’s capacity to self-combust I feel another runners-up is their best hope.

Arsenal, meanwhile, have cured their Achilles heel of a defence that is susceptible to the high ball, by bringing in a 5’10” centre back from Belgium…. Now that’s sarcasm.

Which brings me to Man City and Mark Hughes. I honestly believe that Hughes has all the attributes to be a top class manager and his recruitment policy since taking over at Eastlands has been highly impressive. Rather than becoming the proverbial kid in the candy shop, Hughes has bought wisely. Shay Given, probably the most consistent keeper in the premier league for the last decade, was drafted in with immediate success. The acquisitions of Wayne Bridge and Gareth Barry and his flirtations with John Terry, show that Hughes is acutely aware of how important a British backbone may be for future success. Indeed, the industrious and classy midfield axis of Gareth Barry and Nigel De Jong may well be one of the most impressive in the league, with the added benefit of allowing Vincent Kompany to drop back into an ever-improving back four.

However, it is upfront where Hughes has really splashed the cash and I believe he has splashed it wisely. Tevez, Santa Cruz and Adebayor all have exceptional Premier League experience and are fine acquisitions. The critics will point to the fact that they are money-grabbing ego-maniacs who, along with Robinho, will disrupt team unity. Surprisingly, these accusations have never been levelled at Man United after purchasing Owen, Carrick, Rooney, Ronaldo and Berbatov, or at Chelsea for purchasing Ashley Cole, Lampard, Anelka or Drogba. Indeed, despite having these “ego-maniacs”, neither club has really suffered for it. So why should Man City?

To my mind, they wont suffer. Quite the contrary, they will flourish and, combined with a few further quality additions, will coast towards a maiden Premiership title. With generous odds of 25-1 with some bookies, get yourself down to William Hill and put a fiver on the Blues from Manchester. In fact, while you’re down there, double it up with a bet on Craig Bellamy to win European Player of the Year. You know it makes sense.

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  • Darren

    no chance, I can’t wait for Peter Pickles anti article to this tomorrow!

    City are making the same mistakes Real did, buying forwards. Why do they need so many? They were the 4th top scorers last season

    Will Adebauyer & Bellamy have a fight the minute they find out one is earning more then the other.

    Will Robihno bring Ladyboys to the hotels for away games?

    Will Gareth Barry have to buy 10 pad locks for his new ultra large piggy bank?

    Will Santa Cruz actually score more then 6 goals this season, if he plays that is?

    Should be a lorra lorra fun down at Eastlands!

  • Peter Pickles

    Did you really predict that about Craig Bellamy? Or was that just a joke?

    Also, I think you’re wrong again. But you’ll see why in my “anti-article” lol tomorrow…

    Plus Colombia? That HAD to have been a joke… (wasn’t that the same year the fans shot and killed Escobar–or whatever his name was–for scoring an own goal?)

  • Matt Quinn

    Honestly, both the Bellamy and Colombia predictions were real.

    I love Bellamy the player and think -if he wasnt always injured- would be a world class performer.

    Im praying Villa buy him soon. Were always linked with him, but never buy him.

  • Iain

    It is a real prospect that Man City could win the league. They have gone about their recruitment pragmatically, much as Chelsea did under Jose Mourinho. But then, Chelsea had Jose Mourinho. Mark Hughes has no experience of winning things, and I think that’s the crux of the argument.

    Without the super boss they won’t be winning much. Maybe a league cup that will inspire them in future seasons? Top 4 is a very real prospect though. Hopefully not at the expense of Arsenal, but I have to admit I am more scared now than at any stage last season of that.

    It would be quite cool if they did win though. Can’t explain why, but it would be exciting. Like Blackburn Rovers all over again!

  • Iain

    p.s. Matt – Columbia, good shout for 1994. Freddy Rincon, Tino Asprilla, Adolfo Valencia. I waited up to see their games (and Romania too, who were as good if not better – maybe I just like teams that play in yellow?)

    Craig Bellamy is not a good footballer. I am happy to be proved wrong but the boy can’t pass and has issues with the offside laws. Him and Adebyebyeor will have fun together!

  • dexylongshot

    Poor old Columbia, if they didn’ have that nob Higuita in goal, they would have denied us another Roger Milla wiggle in 1990. Valderrama, there was a player, what a barnet!

    Bellamy, when 100% fit, awesome player. Unfortunately for West Ham, he was only 100% in about 3 games, in those games he was awarded man of the match in all and looked the business. I’m sure he’ll be off by next summer thou. 8 strikers = aggro.

  • stevie

    Chavski already had the foundations in place long before Ambravich came along, they had won the FA and finished in the top 4. What have Man City done over the last 3 years? Mid table rubbish. It will take at least 3 years for them to win a trophy, and when they do it will only be the Coca Cola Cup. Thats what 600 million will buy them!

  • Matt Quinn

    Yeah but Stevie- Chelsea may have had the foundations but they still bought 12 new players in the summer that Abramovich took over. Thats a new team in my book… Man City arent going about it as badly as chelsea either.

    Chelsea bought Veron, Crespo, Mutu etc that window…. personally, i think City’s signings have been better than those. Plus they have some decent youth players to fall back on… Onouha, Ireland, Richards etc…

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