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Players in demand, Shakespeare needs to take action and his decission making is vital for future of the club

DATE: 29.07.2017 - THE CUNNING FOX - NEWSDESK

 

Four pre-season friendlies are played, one win, two draws and a defeat is the results so far. More or less all players have been involved, only Huth and Mendy without any games, they are out with injuries

Looking at the squad and compare it with the one from the (PL winning season), we have the following.

Goalkeepers: Schmeichel, Schwarzer, Hamer, (Schmeichel, Jakupovic, Hamer). This is all harmony, still a good balance. The goalkeeper situation looks good and nothing to worry about in this position.

Full backs: Simpson, Johnson, Fuchs, Chilwell, Elder, (Simpson, Fuchs, Chilwell, De Laet). Looks ok, but would have liked to see more competion for Simpson on the right back or even getting a better option.

Simpson is doing his job, and Johnson is a very interesting new young prospect. The England U.19 player can become a full international if things works well for him. Amartey is also a cover on right back, even Benalouane can play there, but at the moment ok, but nothing more.

Central defence: Huth, Morgan, Benalouane, Maguire, Amartey, (Amartey, Huth, Moore, Morgan, Benalouane, Wasilewski). Enough bodies and all of them Premier League capacity, with Maguire and Morgan the two that probably will play against Arsenal.

Looking at the defence and comparing it with the one from the PL winning season, would say that it looks almost equal, but Morgan and Huth are two years older and might not be at the same level as two years ago. Both been injured also, so difficult to say.
 

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The logistic is always difficult, but looking if Maguire get comfortable in his role and performs to his best level, then hopefully this will be an area that could be well covered this season.

Gibson from Middlesbrough or Kara from Anderlecht are two players that has been linked, but to change too many players in this crucial area is not the best, would settle with Maguire and Morgan, and Benalouane, Huth and Amartey as cover, looks ok.

Central Midfield: Drinkwater, Ndidi, Iborra, James, King, Mendy, (Drinkwater, Kante, James, King, Inler). Kante and Inler are both gone, and Kante is one player not replaced and will never be. He is one of a kind, and at the moment Ciy are lacking his motor and movement in a 4-4-2 system.

Shakespeare still play a four men midfield and that riddles TCF since other teams are often fiver or even six in that area. Ndidi is one that can really become a great one, and at his young age he is showing great abillity.

Danne Drinkwater and Wilfred Ndidi is the midfield duo that will play in the middle. Iborra not easy to figure out and he might end up as Zagorakis did under MON, not really a player fitting the style City are playing. Strange signing.

You can play Iborra behind Vardy, but if Iheanacho comes in, then you have two forwards who are just that, forwards, and you start to wonder what type of combination Vardy and Iheanchu will become. Another strange combination that will make the midfield weaker.
 

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Up front: Okazaki, Ulloa, Slimani, Vardy (Vardy, Dyer, Okazaki, Ulloa). City looks better than when winning the PL. But one might be leaving and one might be coming in. We will just wait and see.

Okazaki will always be in demand because of his attitude and the service he gives to Vardy up front and covering the area between midfield and the forward line in a splended way. He is "the best" defensive forward in the Premier League.

Kante and Okazaki did fantastic in the PL winning season, and especially the areas covered when winning the ball back was one of a kind. Shakespeare turned back to this when he took over, and hopefully he will stick to his plan also in the season that we soon are starting.

Pre-season so far has not yet seen a pattern of system and play, so we just have to wait and see in the games v. Wolves, Burton and Gladbach what he will do and how he will play.

Flanks: Mahrez, Albrighton, Gray, Musa, Lawrence (Lawrence, Albrighton, Gray, Mahrez, Schlupp) With Albrighton you always get 100 %. A player that, if he continues to play well, can be the next England international coming from Leicester. Strangely overlooked by Southgate.

Mahrez is a tricky one, and hopefully he will stay and give 100 %. Last season he never got to the level of the season before, but his performances in pre-season has been good, and he looks fresh and he will be very important.

Mahrez was the key to City's game last season, if he scored or made the assist, or being third on balls, his presence was always there when City won games in the Premier Laegue and the Champions League.

He is a "class player" and the one that will be almost impossible to replace. Lawrence is the one closest to Mahrez of the current players, but not yet at his level. Lawrence has not realy PL experience and will use time to adapt to a more faster game.

Musa can on his best days be a player of great importance, but he can also vanish totally and is not one giving you a 100 % feeling. He will of course if he gets games on a regular basis becoming better, but not shure, yet.

At this moment the squad lacks quality in certain areas to be a top four team, but hopefully they can get enough points to secure a top 10 finish. Vardy and Mahrez are key players, Maguire must as fast as possible become a leader in defence.

Iborra and Jakupovic, two other new signings so far, are good quality players. Jakupovic is a cover, Iborra will challenge Drinkwater and Ndidi, and could also play in a certain role just in front of the defenders or just behind the top forward. But then the style of play must change.

Iborra is not a counter attacking player, and that is why I can't figure out Shakespeare at this moment. What will City become under the leadership of Craig Shakespeare. The pre-season so far has not yet given any answers.

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