by Adam Bond

After watching another frustrating Man City performance at the weekend I can’t help but think Mancini has a lot to do in the summer to make City a dominant force in domestic and European football. You can buy some outstanding players which might help with this transformation and the priority must be to get rid of the dead wood which is going to hurt City in the new FFL rules as the dead wood earn a lot of money. Nearly all of the top players in the world have been linked with City and majority of them being attacking options especially after the departure of Balotelli leaving City an attacker short. But when you look at the situation closely it’s not as bad as it looks as City could change a few players around in a new system and that could save them a few million and get the best out of the players they currently have.

Mancini has a very experienced and solid defensive line with a usual back four of Clichy, Kompany, Nastasic and Zabaleta with Lescott, Garcia, Kolo Toure, Kolarov, Maicon and Richards ready to come into the side. This is lot of defenders which have lots of experience at European and International levels and would command a starting place in any team in the Premier League. Looking at City’s formation of 4-2-3-1 it makes the midfield work a lot harder to cover and with the full backs playing as second wingers it leaves huge gaps and basically means you are playing with 2 centre backs and a defensive midfielder which is very narrow and allows opposition wingers to get into the box which is not where you want them. Looking at the defenders City have it would be beneficial for the to play 5-2-1-2 as this would allow the full backs to be wing backs but with a defensive midfielder in front of the 3 centre backs it creates a back 4 when the opposition attack, this is a lot easier to stop the attacks and the wing backs can either cover in midfield or recover and allow the centre midfielder to return into midfield. In this system you need patient centre backs, naturally attack minded wing backs and a water carrier defensive midfielder. City have all of these as Nastasic, Lescott, Garcia, Richards and Kolo Toure would be the choices as the 3 centre backs and Garcia and Richards could play in midfield if needed. Kompany for me is very similar to David Luis of Chelsea as he is a tough tackling no nonsense footballer which I feel is missing from the City midfield, he would give Yaya Toure the freedom in midfield and create a hard barrier to get past like Vieira and Keane did for Arsenal and Man United. Davis Luis is a transformed player in the centre of midfield where his positioning, tackling, passing and pace keep the pressure off the centre back and the attackers. Kompany would have the same effect for City as he is very similar to Luis but with his height and frightening presence makes him a more all rounded midfielder. The wing backs of Maicon, Clichy, Zabaleta and Kolarov would make City a hard team to defend against as those players would constantly cause a headache for all full backs and bring opposing wingers back into help out which keeps the counter attacks down.

In midfield City have got a lot talented midfielders which I feel is problem for them as in a 4-2-3-1 system you have too many players playing a free role and with Yaya Toure joining the attack (which he usually starts) it leaves too many players high up the pitch. In a 2-1 midfield Yaya Toure would be the go between in the 2 with a solid defensive player behind him and a free role player in front. Barry and Rodwell are the main defensive midfielders but I would go for Kompany or Garcia in that role as Rodwell could fit the system in a go between role but he is not the centre back cover which is needed in this role. Milner is again a go between player and would slot into a wing back role if needed but again he is not a centre back. Barry is a defensive midfielder and he couldn’t fit into a back 3 or wing back roles but could slot into left back when City need to see out the game. The attacking options of Nasri, Silva and Sinclair are top attacking players and would thrive as the main free role player; these players have the ability to use both feet and find passes in the tightest of areas. Silva would be my main player with Nasri close behind, Nasri could also do the go between role but he is more at home in and around the box. Sinclair could be another forward if needed but his range of shooting causes all sorts of problems and he would have licence to do so.

The forward 2 would be a tough choice as Tevez, Aguero, Dzeko and Guidetti are all top strikers and with the mooted arrival of a top international coming in over the summer it’s going to be a tough call. I would go for Aguero and Dzeko as Aguero is a striker and not the attacking midfield role which he is playing in the current system. Dzeko is a proven goal scorer and his classic centre forward presence makes him hard to handle. Tevez and Guidetti are both excellent players and would be a straight swap for Aguero and Dzeko as they are very similar. If you place any of the forwards in to the 5-2-1-2 system with a playmaker behind them it makes for a fierce forward line.

City need to shore up their defence and would have to sell before they could buy which could make the summer very frustrating for Mancini. All of the current squad are more than capable of winning the league in the right system but the Champions League is not as far away as some may feel and if the system was right and the players in their rightful positions City could be real contenders next season. All the players which have been linked with City I would like to see Hummels or Subotic, Cavani or Falcao, Coentrao or Santon and Ozil or Gotze. All these players are at the highest standard and would cost a lot and that’s hoping some of the current squad could be sold to make space for them to come in.

Let’s hope Mancini can make City into the dominant force which we have seen in recent seasons and pose a threat in the Champions League.