Manuel Pellegrini drew a little bit of criticism when he made big, bold statements about Manchester City’s capabilities and ambition following his appointment to one of the biggest jobs in English football.
He’s backed that up, buying well and his City team have their first chance of the season this evening to prove that they can dominate the Premier League, wrestling the title back from Manchester United.
The eleven which starts the match this evening is difficult to predict because there is so much quality in the City squad but there are a number of key players likely to feature who will all be under big pressure.
It’s the job of the Manchester City captain to set the tone and example for the rest of the team to follow.
Kompany’s leadership skills are going to be vital over the course of a long season where there are going to be dips in City’s form.
Kompany is under pressure because of that need to set the right tone, having just seen Manchester United and Chelsea win well, with Liverpool also building some momentum following that win over Stoke.
Lescott is likely to step in and deputise for the injured Matija Nastasic, who will miss out with an ankle problem.
Lescott hasn’t really featured consistently since playing a big role in City’s title winning campaign in 2011/2012. It’s a chance he needs to grasp with both hands otherwise he could leave a negative impression on Pellegrini, who could subsequently be reluctant to use him.
Fernandinho is one of the new recruits likely to start and under pressure to justify a price tag of £35 million, which the club paid for him earlier this summer.
It’s his first league game in English football and his first match in front of the City supporters who will be keeping an eye on him to see if it’s money well spent by the club.
Fortunately he has protection in the form of Yaya Toure and quality provided by David Silva, which should make receiving and distributing the ball under pressure a little bit easier.
One of the things City have really been missing is a world class, high quality winger with the ability to make a wide position his own.
City went a long way to make a deal for Navas happen and they will be expecting some sort of pay back having likely encountered Navas’ immense desire to stay in Sevilla when going for the deal.
He’s in a similar position to Fernandinho in the respect that he’s anew signing playing in front of City fans in a league match for the first time. The difference is he’s City’s wide man and has to master that role quickly.
If Pellegrini goes with two forwards for this match, and there is every chance he will considering City are at home, Negredo is likely to partner Sergio Aguero.
He doesn’t have as high a price tag to justify as Fernandinho but he’s under pressure to form that great, sort of prolific partnership with Aguero which has been missing from the club.
Strikers have come and gone (Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli) with Aguero, and to a degree Edin Dzeko, the only strikers at the club to maintain any sort of form and consistency in City colours.
What do you think? Which City star do you think is under the most pressure?
image: © Gabrielcorbachobermejo