CAN I HAVE A WORD?
So, the new season is only round the corner now and pre-season is well under way.
City have successfully progressed through to the second round of qualifying for the UEFA Cup after beating Faroe Islands outfit EB/Streymur 4-0 on aggregate. During the away leg it was goals from Martin Petrov and Didi Hamann that gave City the advantage. At Oakwell, the home leg, Petrov struck again to give City the lead. Darius Vassell made it definitive with a goal in injury time.
Both performances proved to be an ideal opportunity for Mark Hughes to test out his players and cast his eye over who may be completing his first team line-up this season. Personally, I thought Petrov proved to be quite a handful for EB/Streymur. Daniel Sturridge looks sublime; it is exciting to see a player of that calibre in a City shirt- he is so young with incredible potential. Call me stupid, but with his first touch and dinky moves, I see an element of Thierry Henry in him. Definitely one to watch.
But for me, the best player of pre-season so far has to be Vedran Corluka. Having played in the Euros this summer has only made him better and he looks even sharper and confident of venturing forward to contribute crosses into the box, as well as defending comfortably. Michael Johnson also looks lively in midfield.
The defeat in Hamburg in the friendly game was quite disappointing but it was an experience for the players and certainly something that they must learn from and improve on. Next up is Stockport, a local derby that Hughes will expect a result from.
Despite City missing out on signing Ronaldinho to AC Milan (that should be interesting in the Thomas Cook Trophy game), Hughes has strengthened by signed Brazilian striker Jo from CSKA Moscow for £18 million. A lot of money means a lot of expectation, and when Jo returns from playing in the Olympics for his country, City fans will be hoping he adjusts quickly to Premier League life.
Hughes’ other signing was completed this week. Tal Ben Haim, an Israeli defender, was signed from Chelsea for a fee rumoured to be around £5 million. The 26 year old has signed a four year contract and will definitely be a vital asset to the squad.
The UEFA Cup draw was today, and City have been drawn against a Danish team- FC Midtjylland. The home tie will be on the 14th August at Eastlands, with a trip to the SAS Arena on the 28th August.
Keep the blue faith as always,