The City Summary (January 10, 2014)

Manuel Pellegrini has been named Barclays Manager of the Month for December.

The Chilean has won over City fans with his exciting brand of attacking football, even those who weren’t happy with the departure of Roberto Mancini.

He was today recognised for City’s excellent December and that doesn’t even include the club’s win over Bayern Munich in the Champions League since the award only covers the Premier League.

City won six and drew one of their seven league games in December, one of the best months in club history.

Pellegrini is the first City boss since Mancini in October 2011 to win this award.

Negredo, Yaya and Kompany were up for the Player of the Month award but unsurprisingly the excellent Luis Suarez took that prize.

Pellegrini gave his regular team news update ahead of Sunday’s trip to Newcastle. City have a good record against Newcastle recently, including two wins this season (Premier League and Capital One Cup), so the Magpies will feel they’re due a win.

City welcome back Micah Richards and Jesus Navas to the squad, while “King of Africa” Yaya Toure is also OK despite hurting himself against West Ham.

#WheresJovetic will continue for at least another week with the Montenegrin still sidelined, and equally unsurprising is the absence of Jack Rodwell.

Pellegrini delivered more good news by declaring that Sergio Aguero could be back in action next week. Pellegrini said, “Maybe against Blackburn or against Cardiff”, news we exclusively revealed on Monday.

Possible starting 11 vs. Newcastle: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic, Kolarov, Yaya, Fernandinho, Silva, Nasri, Negredo, Dzeko

Newcastle will be without key trio Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon (both injured) and Mathieu Debuchy (suspended) for the game, but midfield talisman Yohan Cabaye has been passed fit.

The outstanding Samir Nasri, who is enjoying arguably the best season of his career, today spoke to Sky Sports‘ Weekend Warm-Up about a variety of subjects.

The Frenchman has always been very eloquent and as always provided some good quotes for the press.

On Negredo:

“I think he (Alvaro) is the signing of the season so far.”

“He’s scored plenty of goals, he can hold the ball, he can play, he can find the space, he’s a good finisher and he works a lot. He’s been really good for us – I think he is the complete striker.”

On City’s improvements this year:

“It’s not a surprise when you see the quality of our offensive players.”

“It’s just that this year we have an identity and philosophy about the way we play, that’s the big change.”

“I think that we are going to score way more and beat the record by Chelsea or United.”

On Pellegrini (vs. Mancini):

“Confidence is everything for a player and the new manager has come in and given me a lot of confidence and freedom on the pitch as well.”

“We talk a lot and he reminds me a lot of Arsene Wenger when I first came to England who was like a dad to me.”

“When I came to City it was different because Arsenal were like a family to me. I arrived here with some big players and to a manager that liked conflict and for me that was a big change and I needed time to adjust.”

“With him (Pellegrini) it’s just like it was before. It’s like something that I know already and I really like it that way.”

“There is more talk. You know what you’re doing right and you know what you are doing wrong. You know why you play or why you don’t and that’s what I like.”

La Liga strugglers Real Betis want to sign City goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon this month, according to the Daily Mail.

Pantilimon’s contract is due to expire next summer (though there have been conflicting reports on this) and Betis’ apparent willingness to pay only £414,000 seems to reflect this.

£414,000 is a lousy fee for such a talented goalkeeper and even if he is to leave for nothing this summer, it would hardly seem worth selling him for what amounts to little more than a couple of weeks wages for a star player.

There have also been rumours of Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach being interested in Panti as a replacement for Barcelona-bound Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

One of City’s many Ghanaian youngsters, Godsway Donyoh, is set to return to Sweden on loan with newly-promoted side Falkenbergs FF.

Godsway spent time on loan in the Allsvenskan with City partner club Djurgårdens IF, where the 19-year-old made 20 first team appearances.

Falkenbergs are coached by former Barcelona and Celtic star Henrik Larsson, who could be a great mentor for the promising young winger.


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