Pre Season Games

Arsenal 3-1 Manchester City: Poor defensive show from City leaves Pellegrini pondering new arrivals

“If we buy someone, then OK. If not, I think we have got the squad to solve our ­problems," says new City boss

Yaya Toure fights for the ball with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny

Yaya Toure fights for the ball with Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny
Manuel Pellegrini might just need to get the cheque book out again , writes Simon Mullock at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki.

The new Manchester City boss boasted to fans on ­Thursday night that a ­near-£100million investment in new players has given him the best squad in the Premier League.

After seeing the Blues blown apart by Arsenal in Helsinki, he may be having second thoughts.

It might have only been a money-spinning friendly, but, on this evidence, the Gunners look much better prepared for the new season than City.

Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey and Olivier Giroud all came out on top in one-on-ones with Joe Hart as Arsene Wenger’s men gave a sell-out crowd in the Olympic Stadium a real exhibition of top-class ­finishing.

Some of City’s defending, though, was shambolic.

Pellegrini inherited a team that has boasted the meanest rearguard in the Premier League for the last three ­seasons.

But, at times, Vincent ­Kompany and Joleon Lescott looked like strangers.

And, with Matija Nastasic set to miss the opening month of the new campaign through ­injury, Pellegrini will now surely step up his efforts to land a new centre-back ­before City’s opener against ­Newcastle. Pellegrini said: “Of course, the result is not the best way to prepare, but I don’t think the score ­describes ­exactly what happened here.

“We had a lot of chances to score – and didn’t.

“I think Arsenal only had maybe three or four chances and scored three goals.

“We had some problems ­defending and we will try to improve that this week.

“We will see this week what we need.

“If we buy someone, then OK. If not, I think we have got the squad to solve our ­problems.

“We have conceded too many in pre-season and will have to arrange it.”

Going forward, City look like a team that will create plenty of chances and, on ­another day, Alvaro Negredo could have had a hat-trick. Negredo did net City’s ­80th-minute consolation, but, by then, the Gunners were out of sight.

It was all positive for the London team, who clearly had the bulk of the support in the historic 39,000-capacity ­stadium. Jack Wilshere looked back to his brilliant best ­before being replaced at ­half-time.

Theo Walcott during a training session

Quick off the mark: Theo Walcott was in good form for the Gunners

And more good news for England boss Roy Hodgson is the form of Walcott.

The Arsenal wideboy opened the scoring in the ninth minute when he produced a burst of pace to leave Gael Clichy standing, before lifting a ­clever finish over Hart.

Bacary Sagna also saw Hart tip his long-range shot against the post.

But City should have been level by the break, with James Milner, Negredo and Edin Dzeko all wasting clear ­chances.

Negredo twice threatened after the half-time break, ­before the ­Gunners floored City with two goals in four minutes.

First, Ramsey timed his run to perfection to collect Sagna’s pass, then skipped around Hart before sidefooting home.

And then substitute Giroud capitalised on some desperate defending by Kompany to loop a deft shot over the oncoming Hart.

Wenger said: “It was only a friendly, but our attitude was very good.

“We were highly focused – and that’s good.

“I don’t know what this win will do, but it should lift our confidence.

“We have a number of ­players going away on ­international duty now and we will have to wait until they come back to prepare for our first game.”

Bayern Munich 2-1 Manchester City: Blues let win over European champions slip in Audi Cup final

Negredo's first goal since move from Sevilla gave Pellegrini's men the lead but harsh penalty decision let hosts back in

Super, Mario: Match-winner Mandzukic beams as City's Zabaleta hangs his head

Super, Mario: Match-winner Mandzukic beams as City's Zabaleta hangs his head
Manchester City have lost to hosts Bayern Munich in the final of the Audi Cup pre-season tournament, despite scoring first.

City led Euroeapn champions Bayern through summer signing Alvaro Negredo before goals from Thomas Muller and Mario Mandzukic turned the game around.

After a quiet opening, Bayern should have taken the lead in the 29th minute, but Javi Martinez took Arjen Robben's far-post cross away from his better-placed defensive colleague Dante.

City, who scored five first-half goals to beat AC Milan in Wednesdays semi, immediately went close against the run of play when Stevan Jovetic, another newcomer, shimmied inside onto his right foot and lashed just wide.

Negredo missed out from crosses by Samir Nasri and James Milner late in the first half, both attempted headers bobbling harmlessly off the Spaniard's shoulder.

Another, more convincing, header after half-time was saved, but Negredo opened his account for deposed Premier League champions City on the hour when he beat Martinez and fired inside the far post.

The lead lasted only five minutes, though.

Muller tucked away a penalty after Pablo Zabaleta was penalised for handball.

The decision appeared extremely harsh, with the Argentinian defender beaten to a header and the ball rebounding off his trailing arm out of his field of vision.

Mandzukic then stooped to head in Muller's cross - just beating former City defender Jerome Boateng to the chance - and make it 2-1.

Edin Dzeko forced a late reaction save from Manuel Neuer but Bayern held on to win.

In the earlier third-place play-off, AC Milan beat Sao Paulo 1-0 thanks to Kingsley Boateng's goal early in the second half.

The Ghanaian teenager finished coolly after being picked out by Urby Emanuelson's long ball.

Manchester City 5-3 AC Milan: Blues run riot in first half of mad Munich friendly

Blues race into a five-goal lead, then concede three in six minutes just before half-time as Audi Cup tournament starts with a bang

Corker, Kola! It's 3-0 to City as Aleksandar Kolarov scores

Corker, Kola! It's 3-0 to City as
Aleksandar Kolarov scores
Manchester City beat AC Milan 5-3 in an explosive pre-season friendly in Munich in which all eight goals were scored in the first half.

City stormed into a 5-0 lead before conceding three times in the final eight minutes before the break.

The closest either side came to adding to the score in the second half was an Alvaro Negredo shot that struck the crossbar 11 minutes from time.

The first half of this Audi Cup clash had been breathless, David Silva slotting home City's opener after just three minutes before two goals in four minutes from Micah Richards and Aleksandar Kolarov had them 3-0 up midway through the half.

Deposed champions City - fielding a stronger side than Milan and further on in their preparations - added a fourth in the 32nd minute when Edin Dzeko got the first of his brace.

The second duly rattled in four minutes later when he scored a fine volley on the turn.

But just in case they thought it was all too easy, Milan then scored three times in six minutes.

Stephan El Shaaraway broke clear to get the first in the 37th minute and then stayed alert to score a second two minutes later when City stopped, waiting for a whistle that never came.

Andrea Petagna suggested a comeback was on when he made it 5-3 in the 42nd minute, but that would prove to be the final score.

New City manager Manuel Pellegrini sounded slightly amazed they did so well in the first half-hour, but was not impressed by what followed.

"It's not normal that we can be beating Milan 5-0 after 30 minutes," said the Chilean.

"But I didn't like the last 15 minutes of the first half, because I thought we relaxed before the end of the game and in football you can't do that.

"It's better that this happens now though rather than in the Premier League so we can sort out these things before it starts."

City will now face hosts Bayern Munich in tomorrow's Audi Cup final after the German and European champions saw off Brazilians Sao Paulo 2-0 in the other semi-final.

Man City 1-0 Sunderland: Edin Dzeko scores the winner as City win in Asia Trophy final

The Bosnian striker struck early, but later skied a penalty kick as Manuel Pellegrini's men sealed victory in Hong Kong

Winners: Vincent Kompany holds aloft the Asia trophy

Winners: Vincent Kompany holds aloft the Asia trophy
Edin Dzeko was Manchester City's hero once more as Manuel Pellegrini's men overcame Sunderland to lift the Barclays Asia Trophy.

Just as he had done in the semi-final triumph over South China, Dzeko scored the only goal to give the Blues a deserved victory.

It was not quite a trouble-free victory for City as key defender Matija Nastastic was stretchered off in the second half, but they were the better side and only two goal-line clearances from Craig Gardner kept the score down.

It has been a productive few days for Dzeko. Expected to be on his way out of the Etihad Stadium this summer, the Bosnian remains and until reinforcements are brought in to compensate for the departure of Carlos Tevez and, last season, Mario Balotelli, so he is destined to remain.

Edin Dzeko: Hero to zero

Yaya Toure created the opportunity with a flick-on intended for Pablo Zabaleta. Wes Brown got there first, but the former Manchester United man could only turn the ball into the path of Dzeko, who duly rammed home a brilliant half-volley which flew in off a post.

Alvaro Negredo should have made it two after being played in by David Silva but the Spaniard blasted disappointingly over.

Negredo did no better when he was picked out by Dzeko later on, this time ballooning the ball over from a central position.

City keeper Costel Pantilimon did not have much to do and even when Emanuele Giaccherini had a chance, his shot went straight at the Romanian.

Sunderland had a lucky escape just before the break when Gardner headed Silva's free-kick against his own post, then clattered into the upright himself as the Black Cats scrambled clear.

With heavy rain falling on an already saturated surface, an area of approximately 50 yards either side of the halfway line resembled a bog.

Ground staff try to get the pitch in a playable state as heavy rain pelted the surface

Dzeko was certainly looking suspiciously at it when he skied a penalty high over the bar midway through the second half.

On this occasion, though, the surface did not seem to be any more responsible than Dzeko's poor finishing.

City suffered a blow 17 minutes from the end when Nastastic was stretchered off following an innocuous-looking incident involving Giaccherini.

Following his earlier heroics, Gardner went one better after Samir Nasri had presented Jesus Navas with a shooting chance, sliding back to make a brilliant goal-line clearance.

Pantimilon's save from Sebastian Larsson's free-kick ensured there was no late reprieve for Sunderland.

Supersport United 2 Manchester City 1  Sloppy City Lose Again
Thursday 18th July 2013

MANUEL PELLEGRINI was back home in Santiago as his Manchester City team were beaten again in South Africa.

The Chilean boss has had to leave the club’s training camp here in South Africa due to a family issue back at home.

So assistant boss Brian Kidd was back in charge — although Pellegrini had left detailed instructions before he departed.

City looked rusty as they went down 2-0 against Supersport United in Pretoria on Sunday and they got off to a bad start here too.

A disastrous back-pass by Aleksandar Kolarov allowed Bongani Ndulula to steal in and go round Joe Hart before rolling the ball home.

James Milner
MIL THRILL ... James Milner celebrates his goal

But City hit back quickly and scored their first goal of pre-season.

Scott Sinclair’s cross should have been headed in by Yaya Toure but the Ivorian’s flick on fell nicely for James Milner, who hammered a shot back across the keeper.

It was the English club who looked the more likely winners as Rodwell saw a low shot smartly saved by the AmaZulu keeper.

Edin Dzeko — who has been promised a new start despite City spending £40million on new strikers — saw his chance well saved.

The home team made it a Nelson Mandela Day to remember late on though as Abdul Razak gave away a penalty and Carlington Nyadombo scored from ths spot.

Reports in Chile suggested the 59-year-old had flown home as his mother is seriously ill.

Kidd said: “He had to go back to Chile for personal reasons. We hope he’ll be in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning but we’re not sure.

CITY KICKER ... Bongani Ndulula rounds Joe Hart to level
CITY KICKER ... Bongani Ndulula rounds Joe Hart to level

“Obviously you want the boss here but he prepared the team right for tonight and his backroom staff have been superb with their attention to detail.”

Meanwhile, there was drama after the game as AmaZulu coach accused fans of showing Mandela a lack of respect by staying away on his 95th birthday.

The Moses Mabhida Stadium was less than half full for the game and Craig Rosslee said: “It’s very disappointing that for a man who spent nearly his entire life behind bars, I think we should have shown a bit more consideration for the anniversary.”

Manuel Pellegrini's reign at Manchester City starts with a defeat
Sunday 14th July 2003 :
Yaya Toure
Yaya Touré is tackled by Mogogi Gabonamong and Sameehg Doutie as Manchester City were beaten 2-0 by SuperSport United.

Manuel Pellegrini's tenure as the Manchester City manager opened with a 2-0 defeat by SuperSport United as the side began their two-game tour of South Africa.

The Senegalese striker Mame Niang headed SuperSport ahead in the 56th minute and the South Africa international Kermit Erasmus beat City's reserve goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon one-on-one in the 82nd minute for the second at Loftus Versfeld.

Edin Dzeko forced a double save from Ronwen Williams in the 19th minute and James Milner was denied in the 73rd by a combination of the substitute goalkeeper Boalefa Pule and a diving block by a defender.

Manchester City's new signing Fernandinho started in a subdued debut for City before Pellegrini made wholesale changes to the Premier League team's lineup in the second half.