Our form in the run up to this season has seen us go unbeaten and whilst it doesn't really count for anything, some performances are giving extremely positive indicators for the coming season. We played 2 entirely different teams in both the games, and everyone in the squad got a decent run out with the exception of Sergio Aguero who has been thwarted with a bad case of blisters.
The game against the Irish XI was mostly a chance for some of the younger members of our squad to demonstrate their ability. With the exception of Gareth Barry, Adam Johnson, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Stuart Taylor it was an extremely young side. The game was won 3-0 and was pretty straight forward really, the Irish team put up a good show of their defensive ability in the first half but City slowly picked up the pace as the game went on and there were some extremely encouraging performances.
SWP continued his impressive preseason, for me he was the man of the match, at this point we know exactly what we are getting, it was a performance full of endeavour and work rate and he along with Adam Johnson ran the show and gave the Irish defense a torrid time. They both managed to get on the score sheet with will well taken goals, Wright-Phillip's strike in particular was a lovely finish on the volley. There also has to be a lot of credit for Gareth Barry who played some defense splitting passes and got himself an assist.
Some of the youngsters impressed as well, one of the stand out performers for me was midfielder Abdul Razak who patrolled the midfield alongside the England international. He made a brief cameo against West Brom last season and he is highly thought of by many at Eastlands, he looked industrious and kept things simple, it was a very impressive performance.
Stefan Savic looked solid again at centreback, he had very little to do, but when he was tested he dealt with things well. Young Swiss player Frederic Veselli got another run out after his first against Club America, he looked competent and solid at full back and got forward well to support the midfield. Perhaps the best youngster was newly signed Denis Suarez, to say that he looks like a David Silva in waiting would be heaping too much pressure onto his shoulders, but he looked great. His movement in the midfield was superb, and he always wanted the ball, he floated about well and seemed to understand what was expected of him. He got 30mins and to be honest I was hoping he would play the full 90, but there are definitely signs there that he could go on to be a really special player.
The third goal was scored by a young Italian trialist Luca Scapuzzi, a player who has previously been at Milan, his goal will no doubt have done him a lot of good and who knows it may secure him a 12 month contract to see what ability he has.
The only real disappointments for me were Weiss and Guidetti some of the 'older' statesman in comparison. Weiss got a lot of praise on twitter, but a lot of it surprised me, he is full of endeavour but he has a real tendency to overcomplicate things, with a resurgent SWP I do wonder if he will see many games this season. Guidetti as well worked hard but never really tested the opposition defense, good effort and work rate, but there was very little final product.
The game against Inter Milan was a totally different kettle of fish. It was an entirely changed team and they definitely impressed. It is hard to single out who played the best, because everyone had a good game, even Aleksandar Kolarov looked greatly improved. As I have made clear previously I feel that Edin Dzeko could have a really good season this time around, he looks more mobile, slightly quicker, his touch seems to have improved and he seems to be understanding his team mates a lot more. He scored the second on the day and finished in style, most of the credit must go to Silva for an absolutely exquisite reverse pass, but the finish itself was confident and controlled, as soon as he picked up the ball in a one on one situation there was no doubt where it was ending up. He was unlucky to not have scored earlier, he converted a wonderful Kolarov cross, but the goal was wrongly ruled out for offside.
Mario Balotelli was also much more involved this time, he scored a cracking header off a corner to give City the lead and he looked a constant threat. Such a frustrating player, if he was 'interested' every game like he was yesterday he would be a top striker, but his attitude makes it difficult. You don't know what you are going to get, his performance against Milan was much more FA Cup final rather than LA Galaxy.
The star of the show, as has been on numerous occasions however was David Silva, on a day where Wesley Sneijder was expected to shine, he was totally eclipsed by the magical Spaniard. He was the heartbeat of City again and there was a clear suggestion that he might be even better this year than he was last. Some of his passing was sublime and the Inter midfield never managed to get close to him. I still have concerns that we may be too reliant on him, but with the arrival of Sergio Aguero some of the creative responsibility might be taken away from him, and that may not necessarily be a bad thing.
There was another good cameo from AJ and SWP who played the final 10mins, and they combined late on for another Adam Johnson goal, if Wright-Phillips isn't at the club next year it would be a real shame, his preseason has been excellent. Milner looked solid and impressive in the midfield, his work rate is truly exceptional and I think people may have judged him too early last year and now that he is settled into his better position I am sure he will go along way to win over some of his critics.
3-0 against Inter Milan on paper is a great result, and it was, the team played with fluidity and understanding and that can only be a good thing with the Premier League season just 2 weeks away. It is important to remember that Inter are much earlier in their preseason than we are and so we always had a great chance of winning the game, but some of the performances on show were extremely impressive, definitely reasons to be cheerful as we start with the competitive games next weekend.