City Sports Report

EPL Champs Manchester City ready for The Stadium

Manager Manuel Pellegrini and Edin Dzeko Preprare for Yankee Stadium Match (Photo by Jason Schott)

Manchester City, the defending English Premier League champions, are set for their match with English rival Liverpool tonight at Yankee Stadium. This match is part of the Guinness International Champions Cup.

Manchester City had perhaps their best season ever in 2013-14, as they won the Premier League and League Cup titles, and, for the first time in their history, reached the knockout stage of the Champions League, which is played among all the top teams in Europe.

Manchester City is in a partnership with the Yankees of New York City FC, which will start playing in the MLS in March 2015 at Yankee Stadium.

On Tuesday afternoon, Manchester City Manager Manuel Pellegrini and striker Edin Dzeko spoke to the media at the Essex House hotel in Manhattan.

Pellegrini said of New York City FC and their Head Coach Jason Kreis, “A lot of things Manchester City has done in England they have tried to do the same thing here in New York. Jason has been with us the last six months in England.  He’s a young manager, (a) very good manager. I am sure New York City will be very successful.”

Pellegrini said of midfielder Samir Nasri, who will play on Wednesday night, “(he) has a little problem running, we will see if he is 100 percent fit, if he is, he will play. If not, he will return to the team Saturday.”

Dzeko said of a possible new contract, “I can only say that I’m really happy at City and, at the moment, we are talking about a new contract, so we’ll see what happens, but the main thing is that I’m happy at City.”

Dzeko also talked about playing at Yankee Stadium, “We played there last year against Chelsea, so it’s nice to play there again. Even though it’s not a football pitch, but we’ll be ready for it.”

I asked Dzeko if he can tell the difference between playing on an American football field, like the one they played on recently at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, and a baseball field like Yankee Stadium. He said, “Pitch is definitely different than what we’re used to playing on the football pitches. I grew up in a very difficult (in Bosnia)…We didn’t have enough good pitches and everything, so for me, it is nothing new. For us, as football players, we have to adjust because, even in England, not every pitch is real good.”

The players to watch for on Manchester City are:

Goaltender: Joe Hart is the English national goalie for the past two World Cups and has been with Manchester City since 2006.

Midfielders: Samir Nasri is entering his fourth season with ManCity and recently signed a new five-year contract. Fernandinho is entering his second season for ManCity and recently completed a run to the World Cup semifinals for Brazil. James Milner is entering his fifth season at ManCity and recently competed for England at the World Cup. Jesus Navas is entering his second season at ManCity after a long career at Sevilla in Spain, where he led them to two UEFA Cup titles.  He was also part of Spain’s 2010 World Cup championship team. David Silva was on Spain’s 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro championship team. Yaya Toure has had a long career, playing at Barcelona before joining ManCity in 2010, and had his best season last year, as he scored 24 goals and was voted third in the PFA Player of the Year tabulations.

Strikers: Sergio Aguero, who just played in the World Cup final with Argentina, had 28 goals last season. Edin Dzeko, of Bosnia, had 26 goals in 2013-14, and had a tying goal in the final game of the season that led to the team winning the Premier League in 2011-12. Alvaro Niguera of Spain had 23 goals in 2013-14, his first with ManCity.

Defenders: Gael Clichy of  France, who is the last active European player from Arsenal’s ‘Invincibles’ team that went undefeated in 2003-04, is on the roster. (Thierry Henry of the Red Bulls was also a key part of that team) Clichy joined ManCity in 2011.

Martin Demichelis joined ManCity last season after a long run at River Plate in his native Argentina and Bayern Munich in Germany.

Vincent Kompany is Manchester City’s captain, and joined them in 2008-09. He was the captain for Belgium in the World Cup.

Follow Jason Schott on Twitter @JESchott19

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