Manchester City are soaring through the skies of success. Earning 2nd in the Premier League, most believe it’s only a matter of time before City take over as top of the Premier League table. The possibility of winning every Cup competition is within reach. Multiple trophies a season has become the expectation for Manchester City as a Football Club. What should we expect to see out of the individuals representing City on the pitch? Should more or less be expected from a player in the second half of the season? I will answer this query to keep your mind focused on supporting the better half of Manchester.
- Erling Haaland
The prodigal child returned to Manchester. A generational talent who many believe could be the key to breaking Manchester City’s Champion’s League Curse. All expectations for the 22-year-old were shattered when he scored 9 goals in the first 5 matches, leading City to their most goals through 15 games since the 19/20 season. Haaland missing out on the World Cup gave him time to heal his foot and other lingering ailments. Pep Guardiola used the wealth of time during the World Cup determining endless ways to get to the ball at Haaland’s foot. Breaking the Premier League scoring record has to be a personal goal. Erling breaking Andrew Cole’s & Alan Shearer’s record of 34 goals in the 93-94 season should excite every City fan. 35+ goals can be expected without losing grip of reality.
- Julian Alvarez
The only World Cup winner on the squad, seemingly picking up where Sergio Aguero left his City & Argentina shirt, he started the season off slowly needing a short break after a long season for River Plate. Scoring 7 goals for Manchester City in all competitions proves he doesn’t need much time on the pitch to make an impression. Not many players earned as much respect during the World Cup as Alvarez. Starting the World Cup consistently as a sub, Argentina lost to Saudi Arabia and were on the brink of elimination against Mexico. Alvarez came on the 62nd minute and became the energy needed to pull past Mexico. In fact, you could say up to the Final, Julian was one of the 3 most influential players on the squad. Alvarez brings back a level of security, confidence, and swagger to the Etihad that only comes with winning the World Cup. I’d expect Alvarez to flirt with 20 goals and Pep to play him often when he returns to Manchester.
- Jack Grealish
Gucci Grealish brought an edge and a considerable amount of cool to the squad last year. Another year on the squad, and the belief was Jack could be in his head less after becoming accustomed to “Pep Ball.” He has struggled to get consistent playing time. A change in player role could be the reason behind his dip in form. England crashed out of the World Cup, with Grealish getting little time on the pitch even after being brought on as a 90’ min sub against the USA. The only expectation you can have for Grealish is to play well when he is given a chance to play. It might be too soon to wonder if leaving Manchester could be the best for both parties. It could be too late if we wait another year, but I will admit I am being quite hard on a player that brings joy to the locker room and Man City fans all over.
- Riyad Mahrez
5 goals and an assist in 19 appearances and coming into the second half of the season looking more like the decisive winger with one of the best first touches in the world. What makes Mahrez important is his goals are distributed through 3 scoring competitions. Mahrez is at the “been there, done that” portion of his career and his experience is going to be important in the latter stages of Cup Competitions. My expectation for Mahrez is not a lofty one considering he could be leaving Manchester next season. Stay healthy, be decisive with the ball, keep that gorgeous first touch, and no turning off when he needs to track back.
- Phil Foden
The future of Manchester City Football, Stockport’s own Phil Foden. A repeat, defending Premier League Player of the Year. I feel he won his first PL title in the 17/18 season. He has been a fixture on the squad for longer than a quarter of the players on the squad. Phil has the unique perspective of being one of the younger players on the squad while being one of the players with plenty of match experience in City Blue, getting most of his playing time in the Premier League bagging 7 goals along with 3 assists in 14 appearances. The entire team learning to play with a goal scorer like Haaland takes adjustment time. Foden has all the ability to be the best player in the Premier League with Haaland being his teammate. Foden ended the previous season with 14 goals and 11 assists in all competitions. Phillip Walter Foden will not match his assist tally of last year, but he will smash his goal scoring record of 16 goals in 20/21 season. Let’s say he scores as many goals as his age.
- Cole Palmer
Going to be honest, I don’t see the upside in Cole Palmer that I saw in Foden. What I can say is watching Palmer’s ascension will provide some of the sauciest, jaw dropping moments we have seen at Manchester. No moment appears too large for the 20-year-old, any and all defenders can get nutmegged. Cole Palmer has earned 13 appearances this season and the only expectation for him seems to be getting comfortable playing with the size and speed of the Premier League. If he’s able to score 3 goals and 3 assists, that will be exceeding expectations for me. Palmer has played multiple positions under Pep and our bald leader appears to be learning about the player in real time as we are. The thing to watch for is his appearances as the matches grow in importance. Can Pep trust the young phenom to stay cool, calm, and collected during knockout stages? When Managers figure out how to gameplan for him, when attention is all on him, how will he react? We need to watch his body language more than his statistics this season.
Look for Midfielder, Defender, and Goalkeeper Expectations soon