Monday, 17 August 2015

What to take away from City's dominant win

In one of the most important battles for the crown of England, the dethroned king of last season that is Manchester City slayed the team that took their throne, Chelsea, 3-0. In a first half that Manchester City showed their determination to put last season behind them, Begovic kept out Aguero twice with great saves. Aguero would finally get the better of the Bosnian in the end though after a counter attack led by Raheem Sterling would lead to City patiently carving open the Chelsea defence with Yaya Toure and Aguero combining at the edge of the box. Vincent Kompany would then hurt Chelsea's chance of a comeback with a header from a corner late in the second half. Fernandinho put the sword through Chelsea's heart late on when David Silva closed down Ivanovic's clearence and it fell to the Brazilian who finished first time.

1. City show desire and passion missing from last season
The main difference in this performance and that of last season's matches against Chelsea was City showed the desire to leave their blood, sweat and tears on the field. Vincent Kompany and Elaqium Mangala both showed a great understanding and were warriors willing to battle to the end with the brute Diego Costa. Aleksander Kolarov bombarded forward and whipped devilish crosses all game, while Bacary Sagna was a shield blocking all of Eden Hazards quick stabs trying to get to Joe Hart. Yaya Toure and Fernandinho never stopped running, covering every blade of grass on the field. They were also combatant with all their tackles in their personal battle against the duo of Cesc Fabregas and Nemanja Matic. The wide players of Raheem Sterling and Jesus Navas were always tracking back and closing down the opposite wide players, and when in attack ran directly at their man. David Silva showed that he can match his poetic nature with a darker aggressive side, and Aguero challenged for every aerial ball although he was most likely to lose out and also chased onto every through ball.

2. Raheem Sterling adds another dimension
In his home debut, Sterling showed why City invested so much in him. He adds another dimension to City's attack in the form of a direct and counter attacking option as shown in City's preseason and their opening goal. Sterling ran from his own half into Chelsea's defensive third gliding past players. From there City's attack carved open the Chelsea defence with Silva, Toure and Aguero combining before Chelsea could recover their shape. This goal was a mix of the patient, elegant City fans have come to love and a direct style that Raheem Sterling brings from his days at Liverpool.

3. With Otamendi, City's defence will be world class
With Manchester City seemingly taking the lead in the race to sign Otamendi, Mangala showed no sign of being affected by the news during the game against Chelsea. Him and Kompany were both world class in the game against the champions and shut out one of the Premier League's best in Diego Costa. With the addition of Nicolas Otamendi, City's defence will be world class and can rival that of Chelsea's. Otamendi had a spectatcular season with Valencia and helped them achieve a Champions League qualifying spot. He will add experience and composure to Manchester City's back four, and will be able to replace Kompany should he struggle like he did last season, or Mangala if he shows a lack of composure. Also with the addition of the Argentine, Pellegrini has the option to play Mangala at left back, a position he played along with centre back at Porto. 

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Chicharito and other signings that can assist Tottenham to top four

Last season, Tottenham won the battle but lost the war against neighbours Arsenal. They got the better of their rivals twice in the derbies with a draw away and a home win, but in the end they lost out on a top four finish, and will be gracing the Europa League again for another season.

Having finished six points out of the top four last season,  Tottenham showed glimpses of how good they can be on their day. They famously beat the future champions Chelsea 5-2 after being behind by two, and beat Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Line with one of their own Harry Kane scoring the winner. With the right signings, Tottenham can build on last season and battle in the Colosseum of football, the Champions League, instead of the overshadowed fight pit that is Europa League.

Up until Harry Kane burst on the scene, Tottenham's strikers were struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. The mediocre pair of Emmanuel Adebayor and Roberto Soldaldo failed to inspire the fans with any confidence. It was only from the end of 2014 that a Tottenham striker looked lethal in the form of Harry Kane. Kane carried Tottenham and made himself a household name in 2015, but he is only one man and has only had a good half season. Plenty of players have been one season wonders, so Tottenham need another striker that can pick up the goalscoring if Harry Kane is out of form or gets injured. In a world where proven available strikers are few and far between, as shown by Manchester United and Arsenal's hunt, Tottenham have been linked with Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez. He spent last season on loan at Real Madrid, and showed what he is capable of when he is given starts towards the end of the campaign with goals against Atletico Madrid and performances like that against Celta Vigo. He is just the striker Tottenham should sign as before his loan to Spain he was a proven Premier League goal scorer and he would suit spurs style. He is much different and more effective than Soldado and Adebayor as he makes the runs in behind the opposition that lead playmaker Christian Eriksen would love. He also stretches the defence so the wide players in Nasir Chadli and Erik Lamela could cut in and exploit pockets of space. He would be a great signing to Spurs and improve their chances of a top four finish.

A position which was arguably their weakest last season, Spurs need a centre defensive midfielder. They need someone who can screen the backfour with a great passing range, positioning and tackling. Two players that are similar but contrasted by age Tottenham should target are William Carvalho and Thiago Motta. Sporting Lisbon's William Carvalho has been linked with a move to Arsenal, but so have a lot of players. The twenty three year old star shined as an anchor in midfield for Portugal recently in the under 21 Euro's. This is the role that Tottenham need as he possesses all the skills required as he has the aforementioned passing range, positioning, and tackling. Carvalho is also Yaya Toure-esque in the way that he can make bulldozing runs from the midfield into the oppositions third.
Thiago Motta is the other name that Tottenham should take note of. Spurs have been linked with the want-away PSG star. Motta is currently thirty two but celebrates his thirty third birthday this month. Although in the twilight of his career, Motta is still one of the best holding midfielders in the world and would offer Tottenham's young midfield what Carvalho couldn't, experience. Motta is a champions league winner with Jose Mourinho's famous Inter side, and from there he moved to Paris Saint Germain and has picked up multiple domestic medals. Although not as mobile as Carvalho, Motta's positioning, intelligence and passing is better. The Italian wouldn't be a long term solution to Spurs midfield, but he would push their top four prospects for the upcoming season.

Tottenham currently have four wingers in Andros Townsend, Nasir Chadli, Erik Lamela and Aaron Lennon. The latter though has one foot out the door as it appears he has no future with the club. The other three though have struggled for consistency in the Premier League. Townsend arrived on the scene when Tim Sherwood was in charge. He appeared to be a breath of fresh air but defenders soon realised his reliability on cutting in on his left and shooting from range. Chadli started last season scoring goals at important times for Tottenham, but wasn't consistent later on in the season. Lamela has arguably been the worst of the three having struggled to adapt to the Premier League since his big money move in 2013. What Tottenham need is a consistent winger. Tottenham are linked with Crystal Palace's Yannick Bolasie. Bolasie is a winger with a lot of flair, but Palace have reportedly slapped a 25 million pound price tag on him. Bolasie would be a good option as he was one of the Premier Legaue's best wingers last season, his best moment when he terrorised Liverpool in Palace's dominant 3-1 victory last season. He is known for his silky dribbling and skills, but Tottenham should only consider him for a maximum of 10 million pounds as playing for a team like Palace with the objective of avoiding relegation is different to playing with Tottenham targeting Champions League football.

Other wingers Tottenham should consider signing are Bayer Leverkusen's Karim Bellarabi. Bellarabi is a tricky player who possesses a fair amount of pace on the right hand side of midfield. He had a strong campaign for Leverkusen and has the ability to cut inside or run down the line. He started Germany's last Euro Qualifier in their dominant win over Gibraltar and managed to get on the scoresheet. This performance showed that he can take his game to another level by playing with the international side.

So far Spurs have mainly focused on improving their defence in the transfer window with their signings of Toby Alderweireld, Kieran Trippier and Kevin Wimmer. Alderweireld is the by far the best signing after having a great season for Southampton, but for Tottenham to challenge for top four, they need a conistent striker, holding midfielder and winger, and the players mentioned are just who they need.