Manchester City 2 Valencia 0
   Jo can't stop scoring

Saturday 7th August 2010 : GYKO at the COMSTAD for another season


Manchester City ended their pre-season programme on a high note with victory over Spanish visitors Valencia.

Gareth Barry and Jo settled a low-key contest with goals either side of the interval.

But manager Roberto Mancini and his players know judgement day is looming, with the Abu Dhabi United Group expecting some return on an investment that will once again top 100million if, as expected, James Milner joins from Aston Villa before the transfer deadline.

The spending power City have at their disposal could be assessed by the players they had on the bench. Shay Given, Adam Johnson, Joleon Lescott, Patrick Vieira, Kolo Toure and Craig Bellamy, and that was not the full extent of it by any means.

Although club sources claimed the attempt to lure Milner north had got no further, Mancini was still able to name four new signings, including Yaya Toure, who is supposedly being paid in excess of 200,000-a-week. Little wonder the Blues are third favourites for the title seven days away from the opening game of the Premier League season, their own eagerly-anticipated trip to Tottenham. The difficulty is clearly going to be giving enough players time on the pitch.

Neither a rueful-looking Bellamy, nor Roque Santa Cruz, played any part, which will only serve to heighten speculation that their futures may lie elsewhere. It would be a shame for Bellamy, at least given how much affection he is held in by the City faithful. However, there are just too many players in Mancini's squad.

Skipper Carlos Tevez and new boy David Silva - both of whom were given extra time off due to their presence at the World Cup - got only 35 minutes under their belts before making way for Shaun Wright-Phillips and Johnson. In Tevez's case, it was enough to almost give his side the perfect start when Micah Richards latched onto his brilliant chipped through-ball and volleyed goalwards, only for Miguel Angel Moya to make an excellent save. Moya also denied Toure, whose 25-yard daisy-cutter was heading for the same corner.

It was Jerome Boateng who created the 27th-minute opener though, showing enough confidence to dart onto the right wing after being offered the chance to run from his central defensive base. Boateng featured at full-back during the World Cup for Germany and is obviously a young player of huge versatility and no little skill given the manner in which he picked out Barry with a fine far-post cross that invited the headed finish.

City continued to dominate from that point on, without making their pressure tell. Brazilian striker Jo came close to grabbing a second but his low shot bounced back off a post and there were only five minutes left when he eventually found the net with a close-range finish.

It was an acceptable way for City to conclude their pre-season programme, although Valencia created enough openings at times to suggest Mancini's men still need to gel, which offers their early-season opponents some room for optimism.

Borussia Dortmund 3 Manchester City 1  Hart saves, Jo scores but city lose again

Wednesday 4th August 2010 : Beni Vietor for GYKO at the Westfalenstadion Dortmund

Manchester City went down 3-1 to Borussia Dortmund in their latest pre-season friendly at the Westfalenstadion. Paraguay striker Lucas Barrios put Dortmund ahead with a ninth-minute penalty only for Jo, who spent time on loan at Everton and Galatasaray last season, to level two minutes later.

Joe Hart ensured City went into half-time on level terms by diving to his right to keep out a casual Barrios penalty. But the Germans restored their lead five minutes after the break through Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski then wrapped up the win in the 81st minute.

With the last friendly on Saturday City need to get some kind of team pattern together or are they holding back for bets, who knows. Maybe they are destined to be the nearly men but one things for sure, Tottenham will be fancying their chances to start the season with another win against a City side who they never have too much trouble against at the best of times.

On a brighter note, City seem to have found a player who can deliver a damned good free kick, Aleksandar Kolarov is one such player.


Inter Milan 3 Manchester City 0     Vieira gets early bath
Sunday 1st August : Stu Brekenhauser for GYKO at the M&T Bank Stadium Baltimore

Patrick Vieira was sent off as Manchester City lost 3-0 to Inter Milan in Baltimore in a match made more notable by Mario Balotelli's absence. In City's final match of their USA tour, the veteran City midfielder saw red after just 21 minutes after he was alleged to have elbowed Marco Materazzi.

Much of the build up to the contest surrounded the rumoured transfer of Balotelli from Milan to Manchester but as it happened the 20-year-old wasn't even on the bench. Inter took control after Vieira's dismissal and took the lead in the 39th minute when Esteban Cambiasso fed Victor Obinna whose shot from wide on the left found the net via substitute Micah Richards.

City fell further behind in the 54th minute when Inter added a second when Obinna's cross was deflected into his own net by the unwitting Joleon Lescott. And the impressive Italians added some gloss in the 74th minute through a stunning long range strike from Cristiano Biraghi.


Club America 1 Manchester City 1   City win 4-1 on Pens   
Wednesday 28th July 2010 : Ade Hanley for GYKO at the Red Bull Arena

SHAY GIVEN put down a marker in the battle to be Manchester City's No1 by becoming the penalty shoot-out hero. The Republic of Ireland legend played his first game since dislocating his shoulder at Arsenal at the end of last season. And he saved spot-kicks from Aquivaldo Mosquera and Daniel Montenegro to give City the honours in the Aarons International Soccer Challenge.

Emmanuel Adebayor, Jo, Vladimir Weiss and Patrick Vieira all scored for the English club here in Atlanta. The handful of City fans who have travelled to this leg of their United States tour got a first glimpse of new-boy Yaya Toure. The Ivory Coast international is the only one of Roberto Mancini's 76 million summer signings to make it out here.

Big-spending City could have slipped behind as Montenegro slammed a shot against the base of the post on the half hour. But they took the lead shortly before the break when England hopeful Adam Johnson was felled in the area by Mosquera. Striker Adebayor stepped up to take the spot-kick and sent the keeper the wrong way to give City the lead.

Mancini threw on Given at half-time to replace his big rival for the No1 jersey at Eastlands Joe Hart. And he was picking the ball out of the net within two minutes as Enrique Esqueda chased a long through ball and levelled for the Mexicans. icah Richards thought he had won City a penalty just after the hour but instead earned himself a yellow card for diving.

One time record signing Jo could have won it when he fired a rebound straight at the keeper who failed to hold Weiss' shot. And Adebayor went agonisingly close as he volleyed a last-minute effort against the bar in the final minute. So a shoot-out was needed to decide the winners and it was City who came out on top thanks to Given, who moments later picked up the trophy.

Mancini's squad now move on to Baltimore for a match against his former club and Champions League winners Inter Milan on Saturday.


New York Red Bulls 2 Manchester City 1   New Kit - Same old City
Sunday 25th July 2010 : Chip Bale for GYKO at the Red Bull Arena AGAIN

Manchester City suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of New York Red Bulls on Sunday night at the Red Bull Arena. Roberto Mancini's side fielded a youthful look, but the likes of Joe Hart, Wayne Bridge pictured below), Stephen Ireland and Emmanuel Adebayor all started against a side rejuvenated by the arrival of former Arsenal star Thierry Henry.

Henry started for the hosts but was unable to find the net, however that mattered little as his team earned a deserved victory.

City had the first opening of the match when Jo smacked a shot straight at in-form Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul from close range, and the Brazilian paid the price for his miss as his team fell behind moments later. Bridge was undone down the City left by the pace of Dane Richards, whose driven cross allowed Macoumba Kandji to slide the ball past Hart from a few yards out.

Adebayor looked to level the match when he tested Coundoul with a stinging drive, but the keeper was equal to the shot and pulled off a smart save.
Jo atoned for his earlier miss by netting the equaliser on 55 minutes after good work from substitute Greg Cunningham allowed the striker to flick the ball over the advancing keeper for a neatly taken goal.

But the Americans claimed victory when Richards went from provider to scorer when he smashed home a stunning 25-yard drive that cannoned in off the crossbar. City finish bottom of the Challenge group after suffering defeat to Sporting Lisbon earlier in the tournament, which also included Premier League rivals Tottenham.

Manchester City 0 Sporting Lisbon 2  New York Blues
Saturday 24th July : Chip Bale for GYKO at the Red Bull Arena

ROBERTO MANCINI gave his Manchester City big guns the night off but his fringe players wilted in the New York heat.
Two first-half goals from Sporting Lisbon striker Yannick Djalo won the game for the Portuguese who are about to start the new season.
The likelihood is only three starters here - Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Adam Johnson - will feature in City's first league game at Spurs in three weeks. Even so, it was a lacklustre display by Mancini's second string, who wasted the chance to catch the manager's eye.
Mancini said: "We were missing maybe 15 or 16 players and were playing against a team who are further on with their preparations for the new season. "They have played maybe eight games and have the Europa League next week so it is normal that we were slower. "There are a number of players who are just training and maybe six or seven who are not yet back because they played at the World Cup. "We are building our squad and still have 20 days to go."

Craig Bellamy - whose position is likely to be under threat from David Silva this season - was given a chance to impress. But the Welshman wasted two decent early chances to give City the lead as the Premier League side began brightly.

And it was Sporting who opened the scoring midway through the first half as Simon Vukcevic crossed from the right. Djalo got up highest and the Guinean-born forward's header just about had enough power to beat England keeper Joe Hart. It got worse for the Premier League's big-spenders six minutes before the break as Carlos Saleiro's clever flick completely deceived Kompany. Djalo raced clear again and he calmly went round Hart before slotting into the empty net for the second. The 24-year-old is expected to leave Lisbon this summer and has been linked with Tottenham and Everton. And he may now have more admirers as he caused plenty of problems for Kompany and his defensive partner Joleon Lescott.

City seemed to be lacking energy on a humid evening which saw the temperature topping 80 degrees Fahrenheit at kick-off time. Mancini threw on Wayne Bridge in place of rookie Greg Cunningham at the break but the former England man's future at Eastlands is in doubt. Lazio full-back Aleksandar Kolarov is on the brink of joining the Premier League's big spenders and is likely to be first choice on the left-hand side.

Another raft of subsitutions followed from both managers but it failed to change the course of the game as Sporting held on comfortably. City now play New York Red Bulls here tomorrow in the final game of the four-team tournament before flying on to Atlanta next week.

Macclesfield 2 Manchester City XI 1
Saturday 24th July : Nick Nailer for GYKO at the Moss Rose 

Tyrone Barnet and Nat Brown scored goal in either half of a 2-1 win for the Silkmen over Manchester City's 'Elite Squad'.

Although the Silkmen had the better of the chances throughout the game, Jose Veiga had twice been in action, sweeping up behind the back line, before the opening goal of the game. It was only 14 minutes in when the Silkmen won a a corner at the away end. Matt Hamshaw took the kick and found Tyrone Barnett who hit the underside of the bar before seeing his header bounce in.

The lead didn't last long as Elabdellouai equalised with an excellent solo effort only a few minutes later. Jinking past two challenges he advanced into the box before slotting past Veiga in the Macc goal.

But after the goal the chances were all Macclesfield as first Emile Sinclair seemed to be fouled just on the edge of the area before Tyrone Barnett saw his close range header blocked by a diving defender from close range.

From the corner both Nat Brown and Shaun Brisley rose to meet the ball but it was inches in front of both and neither could make contact.

With no changes at half time, the Silkmen retook the lead less than ten minutes after the break. Matt Hamshaw's free-kick found Nat Brown who headed home from the edge of the six yard box.

Vinny had two good opportunities breaking into the box wide on the right, but on neither occasion could he squeeze off a shot or find another bue shirt.

Carl Tremarco was replaced by another trialist, Jason Beardsley before Nat Brown was called into action with a well times challenge at the last second.

Macclesfield: Veiga, Reid, Tremarco, Brown, Brisley, Hamshaw, Butcher, Bolland, Daniel, Sinclair, Barnett.

Subs: Cudworth, Chalmers, Wedgbury, Lowe, Mukendi, Roberts, Beardsley

City: Karius, Vidal, Smith, McGivern, Tse, Abu, Razak, Elabdellouai, Poole, Benali, Chantler

Subs: Vesili, Johansen, Bunn, Olle-Roman

Portland Timbers 0 Manchester City 3            Timbers Felled in Amertica
Saturday July 17th 2010 :

Manchester City hit the ground running in their US tour as they saw off Portland Timbers 3-0.
Stephen Ireland, Emmanuel Adebayor and Jo got the goals for the Blues, as they eased to a comfortable success.
City have been in America for the past week, stepping up their preparations for the new Premier League season.
They were far too strong for MLS new-boys the Timbers, with Roberto Mancini likely to have been impressed by the showing from his side.
The game, played in front of a sell-out crowd at the University of Portland's Merlo Field, took a while to get going, but City were always well in control.
They included Kolo Toure and his brother Yaya Toure within their ranks, fresh from World Cup duty, but neither saw any action.
Instead, it was left to Ireland, whose future at Eastlands remains uncertain, to open the scoring in the 43rd minute.
Adebayor then nodded home 60 seconds later, with Adam Johnson providing his second assist of the game, to give City breathing space at the interval.
The Timbers struggled to find a way back into the game thereafter and Brazi
lian striker Jo wrapped things up for the visitors after 68 minutes.
Team: Hart, Trippier, Boyata, Mee, Cunningham, Ireland, Zabaleta, A Johnson, Vieira, Bellamy, Adebayor.

Second half - Taylor, Richards, Kompany, Lescott, Cunningham (Bridge), Tutte, Kay (Onuoha), Ibrahim, Helan, Guidetti (Tchuimeni-Nimely), Jo


Hyde United 0 Man City XI 2
Saturday 17th July 2010

Hyde pushed a young Manchester City side all the way in an exciting pre-season friendly at newly revamped Ewen Fields. Despite heavy rain up until kick-off, the pitch was in good condition and assisted the swift passing game of both sides.
Both sides gave debuts to a number of players and two of these turned out to be the stars of the show. Hyde gave a debut to former Dundee goalkeeper, Bryn Hindley and he turned in a superb performance with a string of excellent saves to keep City at bay.For City the star of the show by some distance was Mohammed Abu,who gave a majestic performance in midfield.
After a pretty even first half hour, it was City who drew first blood on 39 minutes when Ahmed Benali scored from close range. City went on to have much of the play early in the second half, but Hyde then picked up the tempo and it was German goalkeeper, Loris Karius who had to make a series of good saves to preserve City's lead.
Greg Traynor and Scott Mooney both went close for Hyde before Chris Chantler grabbed City's second in the last minute with a cool finish.
Both managers were delighted with their first competitive games of the season and there were plenty of positives for both sides to build on.

Manchester City: Karius; Vidla, Tse, McGivern, Smith; Elabdellaoui, Clayton, Abu, Chantler; Bunn (Roman, 70), Benali.

Hyde FC Team: Hinley, Stott, Smart, Lees, Taylor, Pollitt, Rick, Lea, Scott, Burke, Stewart