Premier League 2010-11 Season (Spoilers)

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The new season begins this weekend!

Man City's goal is to make Top 4.

http://msn.foxsports.com/foxsoccer/premierleague/story/manchester-city-ready-to-challenge-big-four

City ready to challenge Big Four

Just three years ago, the Blues were an afterthought, if not a joke. Manchester City was terrible. They played at the cavernous Eastlands, rarely selling out games. They hadn’t (and still haven’t) won a thing since 1976. And for one ignoble spell in the late 90s, they were relegated twice, tumbling into the third division for the 1998-99 season.

Sure, City enjoyed some high-profile fans -- musicians Mark E. Smith (the Fall) and Liam Gallagher (Oasis) both took an almost perverse pride in their terrible team -- but they weren’t even close to being in the same league as their bitter rivals, the hated Manchester United.

These two teams shared a city -- but little else. $300 million dollars in transfers later, that’s changed. Manchester City has emerged as the team to watch this season.

Fueled by the seemingly limitless resources of Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development Limited, which bought the team in 2008, City has been turned from a punchline into what may be the world’s most financially powerful team. With a mandate to spend on talent, City is trying to prove that they can do in soccer what the New York Yankees have regularly done in baseball -- buy a championship.

Manchester City has some powerful competition in a league that has become one of the wealthiest, and paradoxically, least stable, in the world. The Barclays Premier League is in the midst of a financial arms race that has seen Russian cash take Chelsea to the top, just as American mismanagement and debt crushed Liverpool. Portsmouth was just the latest team to be hit by bankruptcy, as it is clear that despite the power of English football’s worldwide brand, that much more money is being thrown at teams and players than is being made off of it.

Football has always been a rich man’s toy, but the days of merely wealthy men owning clubs -- think Mohamed Al-Fayed, the former Harrod’s magnate who owns Fulham -- are gone. Today, football is a multibillionaire’s game, and entire nations are getting involved. City, of course, benefits from the Emirates’ enormous sovereign wealth and they may be soon joined by Liverpool, which is being bid upon by a consortium said to be backed by the Chinese government’s fund.

Still, what City is doing is giving their rivals fits. They spent over $150m in last year’s transfer market, and are closing in on that mark this season, picking up some of the game’s top talent along the way. Yaya Toure ($43.5m), David Silva ($37.5m), Jerome Boateng ($16.5m) and Alexsandar Kolarov ($24m) are the latest new faces on a team already rippling with so much talent that one of the highest paid players in the world, Brazil’s Robinho, may be sitting in the stands this season because he is out of favor with the club.

City is not done: They are said to be close to inking Aston Villa’s James Milner and Inter’s Mario Balotelli, which would swell their squad size to an astonishing 40 players. In effect, manager Roberto Mancini will be able to field not one but two first-choice sides. It’s arguably a dream situation in a league where the best teams are played to death, and depth is key. It’s also a potential nightmare, for with big money comes big egos, and that wealth means little if you can’t get your team to play together.

Chelsea’s success was due in large part to the brilliant, and joyfully egotistic Jose Mourinho, who proved himself to be one of the best man-managers the club game has ever seen. Mourinho is special -- only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger have come close in the modern English game -- and Mancini’s predecessor, Mark Hughes, couldn’t manage his stable last year.

Mancini --who seems to have many of the flamboyant qualities of the Special One, right down to his sartorial hallmark, the scarf -- has a well-deserved reputation for getting teams to play together under all sorts of constraints. At Fiorentina, he took over a club that would go bankrupt and still managed to win the Italian Cup. At Lazio, he took over another financially-strapped side and turned its meager resources into a UEFA Cup semifinalist. With Inter Milan, he won three scudetti in a row but was sacked because he couldn’t win the Champions League. Last year, he replaced Hughes in a switch that struck many English commentators and fans as seamy. In fact, Hughes, now at Fulham, is still hitting back over the move, telling the press last week that Mancini underachieved.

But despite a late season fade that saw City only win one of their final five matches, Mancini did inject immediate stability into a team that had drawn seven straight matches and at one point would slip as low as 8th. Despite the doubts, Mancini was able to swiftly corral a team that already boasted some big personalities. Mancini’s immediate mandate is to get City into the Champions League, a goal that seems very achievable. Unsaid -- but dreamt of by Blues faithful -- is their desire to win the Premiership, something City has never done. Its last top-tier title came in 1967-68, in the old English First Division.

It’s clearly possible: Mancini has depth at every position, and several players who can be water-carriers. But City will still be running up against formidable opposition in preseason title favorites Chelsea and the usual contenders Arsenal and Manchester United. Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool figure to make it difficult, as well. Of course, no matter what happens, there certainly is one thing that will give City fans some puckish pleasure. Once broke, their lucre now seems limitless.

Across town, the shoe is on the other foot as Manchester United’s fans are engaged in an increasingly bitter war against that club’s owners -- the Glazer family -- over the $1bn in liabilities taken on in the purchase of the team. But unless City finishes in the top four this season, even that schadenfreude won't be enough.
 

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Weekend Schedule:

BARCLAY'S PREMIER LEAGUE
Sat., Aug. 14
Aston Villa vs. West Ham
Chelsea vs. West Brom
Sunderland vs. Birmingham
Tottenham vs. Man City
Blackburn vs. Everton
Bolton vs. Fulham
Wolverhampton vs. Stoke
Blackpool vs. Wigan

Sun., Aug. 15
Liverpool vs. Arsenal

Mon., Aug. 16
Man United vs. Newcastle
 

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Man U and Man city showdown, I'm waiting on that. Should be big
 

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Fulham vs Man United on Sunday, that should be a good game. Man City vs Liverpool on Monday an even better game!

I kinda feel sorry for Liverpool and Man City, they really did get a really rubbish first two games of the season, but I suppose it will even itself out throughout the season!
 

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City puts a hurt on Liverpool, 3-0. Goals by Milner, Richards and Tevez. They said Tevez scored the second gaol, but it was obvious he missed it so Richards should be credited with it. Hopefully they make the change after they review it.

Joe Hart in goal with Given on the bench. Was surprised by that, maybe he isn't completely healed from his season ending injury from last season.
 
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I just bought the digital sports tier on Time Warner so Jacqui (and I) can watch the City game on Fox Soccer Plus later today. It is actually being played right now, but at least we'll get to see it. Easy to avoid the score of a Premier League game for a few hours.

Not a bad price, 4 bucks a month, and now she also gets to watch the tennis channel too.
 

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I just bought the digital sports tier on Time Warner so Jacqui (and I) can watch the City game on Fox Soccer Plus later today. It is actually being played right now, but at least we'll get to see it. Easy to avoid the score of a Premier League game for a few hours.

Not a bad price, 4 bucks a month, and now she also gets to watch the tennis channel too.
Wow a premier fan in KS. Nice. Watching the Man City game right now. Won't spoil anything. Not another mention of it.
Just wanted to say its nice to see another soccer fan.
ps. Friend's are from totenham and chelsea. So we might have a few problems in the future.......
 

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Wow, didn't know there were so many football, (soccer) fans in the US! Could be some good banter going on for sure!
 

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City looked terrible in their loss to Sunderland. Would have loved a win but they wouldn't have deserved it.

Joe Hart looked good in goal again. Only goal was a penalty kick.
 

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At the moment, City don't seem to be playing as a team, more like 11 individuals. They need time to gel as a squad, and then things will get interesting! Especially as I'm a Man United fan!
 

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They need better midfield play, just as they needed it last season! Their additions this year don't seem to have taken care of that at all.

My wife screams at the TV when the midfield doesn't do anything!
 

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I'm really surprised they swapped Ireland for Milner. In my honest opinion, Ireland is just as good as any of the stars they have in the midfield. Also, he joined the club when he was 15, so he kinda loves the club so to speak. So he would care for the club. Now players such a Barry and Milner seem to be in it for the money.

It'll be interesting to see how Mancini fits everybody into his team. Can't see Silva or Balotelli being too happy sitting on the bench when they are both match fit.
 

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I think Ireland voiced some opinions publicly that were best kept within management is why he is gone. Richard Dunne did the same thing from what I've read, and he's gone too. Two players who I would love to be back!
 

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Hmmm... Richard Dunne... Not really too sure about him. Can't really doubt that guys commitment, but I just don't really like his style of play. Bit like Jamie Carragher. And also I think the City management didn't think that Ireland and Dunne were big enough stars to make the club more attractive to the even bigger stars, which is a reason why they let them go.
 

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I hope Fernando Torres can return to form this year...was sad watching him in the WC. Shadow of his former self after 2 knee surgeries. So sad seeing one of the most dynamic players crumble like that and basically become a non factor. I'm an Arsenal fan but I root for anyone that is that exciting to watch. Gerrard and he were a sight to behold when they are both in top form.
 

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I hope Fernando Torres can return to form this year...was sad watching him in the WC. Shadow of his former self after 2 knee surgeries. So sad seeing one of the most dynamic players crumble like that and basically become a non factor. I'm an Arsenal fan but I root for anyone that is that exciting to watch. Gerrard and he were a sight to behold when they are both in top form.
I agree with you with the Gerrard and Torres link up play. Shame They are rarely both fit at the same time.

Anyway, I'd like to see how Spurs fare this season, they just bought Dutch playmaker Rafael Van Der Vaart, so looking to see how he fits in and all.
 

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City vs Blackburn, 9AM Saturday on Fox Soccer Plus. So glad we decided to get this channel.
 

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City has looked average at best other than their big win over Liverpool. And what the heck was Joe Hart thinking going out of the box for that ball? Bonehead play of the year so far right there.
 

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City beats Wigan 2-0 in a game I couldn't watch! Currently sitting in 4th place.
 

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City ends Chelsea's perfect 5-0-0 start! WOO HOO! 1-0 win! They stay in 4th place but have the same points as Arsenal and United.

They actually looked decent the whole game, and this is the first time I remember Milner looking like he belonged on the pitch.
 

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City ends Chelsea's perfect 5-0-0 start! WOO HOO! 1-0 win! They stay in 4th place but have the same points as Arsenal and United.

They actually looked decent the whole game, and this is the first time I remember Milner looking like he belonged on the pitch.
City played fantastically in that match. Doing a little favour for your friends across the city, eh Smalls? ;)
Great to end Chelski's run, but to be fair you're the first real test Chelsea have had so far. They have had had 5 very, very easy games so far this season (until number 6, that is). I don't think Chelsea are playing as well as the scorelines to date suggest.

Pity we couldn't take advantage of it... :( We've had a pretty pathetic start to the season. Our best strikers' head is eleswhere, other than football and our defence is in tatters, quite literally... Rio made a return to competitive play in the champions league tonight against Valencia, so that's something to be thankful for, I suppose.
Historically we are slow starters every season, but...
 

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City needs some more goal scoring and pronto! They've only allowed two all season (tied with Chelsea for best in the league by far). And one of those given up was Joe Hart's head up his butt episode that cost us a win.
 

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City beats Newcastle 2-1 and leaps into second place in the standings, thanks to Arsenal's loss to Chelsea and the United draw with Snderland. They also tied Juventas 1-1 in the Europa league a couple of days ago.
 

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Yikes! Wrong thread. Carry on .

Kevin
 

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