2015-16 EPL Season Previews: Manchester City

The Blog FC are previewing every English Premier League side ahead of the 2015-16 season. Who’s arrived? Who’s departed? What do they need this coming season? Who will be the key man? All of that, and more, is answered below, as David Mooney from The Blue Moon Podcast previews Mancester City’s season ahead.

EPL Season Preview Hub

Manchester City

Manchester-city-crest-mcfc

By David Mooney

Manager: Manuel Pellegrini
Captain: Vincent Kompany
Ins: Raheem Sterling (Liverpool), Fabian Delph (Aston Villa), Patrick Roberts (Fulham), Enes Ünal (Bursaspor), Jason Denayer, Bruno Zuculini (End of Loan).
Outs: Alvaro Negred0 (Valencia), Matija Nastasic (Schalke 04), Karim Rekik (Marseille), Scott Sinclair (Aston Villa), Stevan Jovetic (Internazionale, Loan), Seko Fofana (SC Bastia, Loan), Olivier Ntcham (Genoa, Loan), Enes Ünal (KRC Genk, Loan), Micah Richards, James Milner, John Guidetti (Free Transfer), Frank Lampard (End of Loan).
Last season: 2nd
European competition: UEFA Champions League

2014-15 was… Very disappointing. It’s somewhat bizarre to describe a second-place finish as ‘very disappointing’ but I can’t lie – it felt like City were a mile away from Chelsea by the start of March and you’d expect the runners up to be a little better than that. It was all down to the poor springtime the club endured and that left them well off the pace in the end. The defence looked at sixes and sevens, while the strikers couldn’t find the net – so Sergio Aguero’s poor run didn’t come at the right time. Vincent Kompany has been woefully out of form and that’s impacted on Eliaquim Mangala (who looked much better when paired up with Martin Demichelis), so that partnership was leaking chances and goals.

2015-16 will be… Hopefully better, although the defensive issues make me wonder if it will be! The club looked a shamble at the back in the preseason friendly with Stuttgart and, while it’s easy to say it was only a warm up game, it was the final match before the season starts. To be 4-0 down inside 37 minutes in the final friendly is alarming – especially when the defence was made up of the players expecting to start against West Brom. If Manuel Pellegrini can sort that out, then he’ll have a good chance of winning the Premier League trophy again. In terms of attack, the capture of Raheem Sterling is great as it’s added some much needed pace into the team, while the emergence of Kelechi Iheanacho is something for the fans to be excited about.

Aguero's fitness is pivotal to City's chances at the title.
Aguero’s fitness is pivotal to City’s chances at the title.

Key player: Sergio Aguero. It’s no coincidence that City do well when the Argentine is fit regularly and keeping him on the pitch and not in the physio’s room is the most important aspect for 2015-16. He’s the one player in the league who is able to score from nothing – the number of times defenders seem to have him in a safe place and he’s taken two touches to beat them and stick the ball in the net is impressive, and it gives the City fans a sense of confidence that when he’s on the pitch there’s always a chance. That he’s only looked out of form for the Citizens for six games last year is a demonstration of how good he can be.

What, or whom, do Manchester City need? I think City really need a new defender. As I talked about earlier, Vincent Kompany has been struggling for form for some time and perhaps his injury problems have taken their toll. He’s been impressive for a number of years, but 2014-15 was probably his worst – but Pellegrini couldn’t put somebody else in for him to take the pressure off him. Now he’s got Jason Denayer coming through the youth academy after a successful loan stint in Scotland, but it’s a big risk to throw in a youngster. Add to that that the full-backs (Pablo Zabaleta aside) are nothing more than bang average and it’s a certain area for concern.

The Blog FC predicted finish: 3rd

David Mooney is a Manchester native and appears on The Blue Moon Podcast, which you can subscribe to on iTunes here. David also contributes articles on Manchester City to ESPN FC, and you can follow him on Twitter here.