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Many City fans had been expecting United to overturn a slender 2-1 deficit and if not for David de Gea’s butter fingers they might have won on the away goals rule and set up the first ever major cup final between the Manchester clubs.
Instead, City fans can put the body armour away and expect more of a friendly day out at Wembley on March 2nd.
City have been given an allocation of 31,580 for this game, with adult prices ranging from £40 to £100. Most season card holders should be able to get a ticket, but those on the League Cup scheme will be rewarded for their loyalty by having first dibs.
You can find ticket prices and criteria at the official site.
City have bought a majority 80% share in the club, with NRL club Melbourne Storm picking up the other 20%. Much like the City/Yankees collaboration with New York City FC, this seems a smart move and will enable City to tap into the knowledge of local businessmen.
CEO Ferran Soriano said the intention is to make Melbourne Heart, which is more than likely going to be renamed Melbourne City, into a major player in Australian football. Right now, they sit bottom of the league and have the fourth lowest attendances in the A-League.
Premier League fans will be familiar with their captain Harry Kewell, who spent years in England at Leeds and Liverpool. Former Dutch international Orlando Engelaar and former Coventry striker Michael Mifsud also ply their trade for the club.
Melbourne Heart play their games at beautiful AAMI Park, which seats 30,050 fans. Some will wonder if they might move to Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium, but with a current average attendance of around 10,000, a 50,000+ stadium might be too much, too soon.
City want to revolutionise football and are looking to create a “family” of clubs around the world, who will share the same footballing philosophy and scouting networks, while maintaining strong ties to the local community like City.
No major announcements are planned until mid-2014 and Melbourne Heart’s season is likely to end without too many changes.
Manchester City are now the second highest earners in English football, behind only United.
The annual Deloitte Football Money League was released yesterday and showed that City have overtaken Arsenal and Chelsea this year with record turnover of £271m.
This makes City the sixth highest earning club in the world, not bad for a club that those with heads buried in sand believe relies entirely on a wealthy owner.
These figures should also mean that City comply with the first monitoring period of Financial Fair Play, though the official financial report is yet to be released.
The area in which City lag behind their rivals is matchday revenue, with City’s ticket prices, considered to be the best value for money in the league, and lack of corporate/executive seats making for comparatively low matchday income, despite average attendances of around 47,000 (more than the likes of Chelsea, Spurs and Liverpool who have higher matchday revenue).
The stadium expansion will improve matchday income significantly with many more premium seats to be introduced, along with more standard seats that will include the much talked about £299 value season tickets.
The full breakdown can be seen below (click to enlarge).
City have yet to reveal the extent of Alvaro Negredo’s shoulder injury after he landed heavily against West Ham.
He was seen leaving Bridgewater Hospital in a sling on Wednesday, but the Daily Mail reckons it is nothing serious and he should be back for the Spurs game next week.
Pellegrini should clarify The Beast’s condition at tomorrow’s press conference.
With City playing in the Capital One Cup final on March 2nd, the Old Trafford derby, which was scheduled for March 1st, has been postponed.
United will have that weekend off while over 30,000 Blues travel south to Wembley.
The new date of the match is yet to be confirmed.
The 22-year-old, who has been fairly outspoken to the Norwegian press about a lack of chances at City, was granted an early release by City, half a season before his contract was due to expire.
Despite links to many big clubs, including Arsenal at one point, Ibrahim has flown to Greece and will join former City youth team-mate Vladimir Weiss at Olympiacos in the coming days.
It’s thought that Olympiacos will loan him out to Crete-based club Ergotelis FC for experience.
Ibrahim made three first team appearances for City’s first team, including a Premier League appearance against Liverpool in 2010.
Best of luck to Abdi on his new adventure.
City have been rebuffed in another attempt to sign Real Madrid defender Pepe, according to El Confidencial.
30-year-old Pepe was City’s number one defensive target last summer, with Pellegrini looking for a high-level defender to add experience to the defence.
With young defender Raphael Varane badly injured at the time, Real wouldn’t sanction the sale of Pepe and that stance hasn’t changed.
City had to settle for Martin Demichelis instead, but with Joleon Lescott on his way out in the near future, City are looking at defensive options.
Both Kurt Zouma and Eliaquim Mangala have been targets, but deals for either are difficult this month. City have been very interested in Mangala, but Porto want around £40m for the young Frenchman, a price City feel is too high.
If a defender isn’t signed this month, City will hold on to Lescott until the end of his contract in June.
In the same article as the Pepe news, El Confidencial had a snippet on Isco. Remember him?
Nasri’s blistering form this season has made the Isco saga easy to forget, but he was one of City’s main targets last summer and was tipped to follow Pellegrini from Málaga to Manchester.
The Spanish publication claims that Isco, now of Real Madrid, is considered “persona non grata” (a very unwelcome person) at City, because he had given the club his word that he’d join, but went back on that when Real dispatched Zidane to lure him to the Bernabéu.
Of course, football is a fickle business and if Isco does ever become available, an apology could quickly change things…
Pellegrini’s merciless holistic army made it 18 games unbeaten tonight with an easy win over West Ham in the second leg of the Capital One Cup semi final.
City were never in any danger of losing their 6-0 lead, but Pellegrini named a fairly strong side with Aguero and Negredo up front, while West Ham were close to full strength from what they had available.
City’s team did have an element of youth about it with 18-year-old Marcos Lopes starting and Boyata returning at right-back. Both had fine games, but it was the performance of Lopes that really stood out tonight.
Lopes was a menace to West Ham’s experienced defence (average age: 30), especially in the first half, his pace and low centre of gravity causing them problems.
Just 3 minutes had passed when a perfect Lopes cross found the unmarked Negredo who added yet another goal to his collection with a header.
20 minutes later and Lopes went on a mazy run, taking several West Ham defenders out of the game before giving the ball to Aguero, who skillfully scored his 22nd goal of the season.
City were finding it all too easy but what was impressive was that they were still working hard, Lopes for example tracking back and completing 5 successful tackles, an amazing feat for an attacking midfielder.
What also stood out about Lopes’ performance was his maturity. Rather than playing like the usual kid who looks overawed and meek, “Rony” was fully involved in the team and his team-mates looked like they trusted him, often giving him the ball.
Many youth players don’t grasp the chance when they’re given it, but Lopes did. Pellegrini said after the game that Lopes has a “great future” and this performance may give the manager reason to use him more often.
The second half was little different to the first. West Ham huffed and puffed, having a couple of penalty shouts that would have been soft if given, but were outclassed by the well oiled City machine.
The race between Kun and Negredo for top scorer continued as Negredo used his incredible strength to shrug off West Ham defenders and score from a tight angle.
This was Negredo’s 23rd goal of the season, again making him the club’s top scorer. What an amazing signing he has been at £16.4m!
Besides another fine performance and win, the big news was the long awaited return of Stevan Jovetic, who replaced Aguero for 25 minutes. He showed a few nice touches and flicks, but the most important thing was that he got through the game unscathed.
Jack Rodwell also returned from another injury and was good after coming on for Garcia, completing 100% of his passes and using the ball well.
City could have had more and threatened to make it a 10-0 aggregate score, but Chris Foy took pity on the Hammers, adding just 1 minute of stoppage time when there probably should have been about 4 minutes.
So it’s back to Wembley, a stadium we’ve become very familiar with in recent years after forgetting what the place looked like! The only question remaining is, United or Sunderland? We’ll find out tomorrow.
West Ham: Jaaskelainan, Taylor, Johnson, Tomkins, Rat, Diarra, Diame, Nolan, Morrison, J. Cole (Downing 47), Carroll (C. Cole 46)
Subs not used: Adrian, Chambers, Jarvis, Collison, Noble
Manchester City: Pantilimon, Boyata, Lescott, Nastasic, Clichy, Navas (Kolarov 78), Garcia (Rodwell 63), Fernandinho, Lopes, Negredo, Aguero (Jovetic 65)
Subs not used: Hart, Zabaleta, Demichelis, Dzeko
Goals: Negredo 3 + 59, Aguero 24
TKA Man of the Match: Marcos Lopes
Stats courtesy of WhoScored:
It would seem City are not letting the grass grow under their feet and we have been making serious moves for Sevilla’s brilliant young left-back Alberto Moreno.
And it could be third time lucky doing business with his club if our director of football, Txiki Begiristain has his way.
City have recently been linked with a £30m move for Southampton starlet, Luke Shaw, although Pellegrini has known for months the starlet favours a move to Chelsea this summer.
Almost completely off the radar is Moreno, who seems to have come from nowhere to break into the Spanish national team this season and already earned two caps.
City’s chief Spanish spy, Rob Newman, has also been to watch the player on a number of occasions over the last three months.
Real Madrid have a declared an interest but ‘Cheeky’ has been laying the groundwork for a good while and there is a feeling our good relations with Sevilla could tip the balance.
Moreno has also been linked with United in recent weeks (who hasn’t?) but they could be in for a shock with the bidding starting at £25m.
A contact of ours was recently in the company of Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who stated Moreno will be the best left-back in the world very soon.
This kid sounds dynamite.
The Serbian left-back, 28, appeared to be heading for the exit and has 12 months remaining on his current £90,000 a week deal going into this summer.
A number of clubs, including Mancini’s Galatasaray, are keen to do business at a reduced £8m. Italian giants Roma and Inter Milan have also expressed an interest.
City, however, want to sit down with Kolarov before the season is out and discuss a potential new two-year extension.
Kolarov has managed to force his way in ahead of Gael Clichy on a number of occasions this term and is certainly enjoying his best spell at the club.
Pellegrini has clearly had a positive impact on AK, who has been outstanding in recent weeks.
A new deal would be on reduced terms, but with lucrative bonuses inserted.
If Pellegrini thinks he is now worth it, who are we to argue?
The deal is being held up while Stoke complete a permanent deal to sign ex-Blue Stephen Ireland from Aston Villa. With Oussama Assaidi already on loan from Liverpool, Stoke have to make Ireland’s deal permanent to free up a loan spot for Guidetti.
As soon as this is sorted, Guidetti’s move to the Potters will be pushed through.
Guidetti has already passed a medical and despite serious interest from across Europe, including late efforts from Lazio and Sampdoria to take him on loan, he will finally be playing Premier League football soon.
Stoke have asked about an option to sign him permanently at the end of the season and while we can’t confirm if there has been any progress on this, you’d think City would say “no” to that.
The Swede is very well thought of by City and Pellegrini, who tried to sign him on loan for Málaga last season. He will have competition such as Peter Crouch up front at Stoke and will hope to replicate the outstanding form that saw him score 20 goals in 23 games while at Feyenoord.
City will be watching the 21-year-old academy product closely. The success of this loan deal could determine whether he is in City’s long-term plans or if his future will lie elsewhere…
As we exclusively revealed last week, West Ham are more than willing to ‘pony-up’ the £90,000 a week it would require for Joleon to end his association with us.
And Lescott has made it clear he wants the move and will also sacrifice an additional loyalty payment, a figure we are not privy to, to also help push things through.
City have told the Hammers we will know one way for certain by January 20th if Lescott will get his wish.
This would seem to coincide with players who need to be registered for the next stages of the Champions League?
It’s a small window to try and make something happen in the market, but City are certainly pushing hard to find a top-class replacement.