Verdict: LA Galaxy 1 Manchester City 1 (City win 7-6 on penalties)
Contrary to what is being reported elsewhere, Mario Balotelli’s failed attempt to backheel a goal wasn’t the only point of interest in City’s final US match. The game offered both positives and concerns in our bid to improve on last season.
One of the main attractions of pre-season games is the opportunity to see new signings. Mancini started the game with what appeared to be his strongest available side, apart from Yaya, and it was interesting to note Gael Clichy appeared ahead of Aleks Kolarov.
The French international was nearly knocked out by an early blow to the head but looked very comfortable in a Reoberto Mancini side. Regularly involved and showing a good touch, this was a promising 45 minutes.
The second half saw the introduction of Savic and, again, his comfort on the ball was noticeable. The Montenegran also had the confidence to step up and score a penalty in the shoot-out.
After missing the first two games while waiting for his transfer to be cleared, Denis Suarez finally made his debut. Sadly it was only for the last couple of minutes, though he also stepped up in the shoot-out and produced a very coolly taken effort.
In the first half, City were in total control with Silva reminding us of his magnificance. Balotelli’s pace, directness and willingness to interchange with Dzeko give us a cutting edge that disappeared once he left.
The attempted backheel was actually a poor effort, failing to come close to scoring, while the histrionics that followed at least ensured someone other than Tevez is in the headlines. After his knee problems, it’s important that Mario gets some sharpness back in his game as he remains an important player.
The second halves of friendly games often fizzle out and City were poor here. The absence of Silva linking up play and Balotelli’s pace left us laboured and lacking a spark.
Edin Dzeko and Adam Johnson failed to impress. The Bosnian is willing and didn’t receive great service after half-time, but watching him reminds you of just why the club goes to such lengths to try and keep Tevez.
With Johnson not always a threat, Mancini was reported to be in the market for a top class winger this Summer. Neither Johnson, Wright-Phillips or Weiss looked to be of the highest standard.
All three have their moments but someone who can consistently get behind defences on the flanks might be more valuable than either Nasri or Sneijder. Not that they wouldn’t be welcome mind. We could do with someone to take the onus off Silva.
Guidetti showed good strength and desire to nearly fashion a late winner. Then it was on to penalty shoot-outs. Despite not being a fan of them generally, there is a case for them at the end of a pre-season friendly. Particularly after a less than inspiring second-half.
If Balotelli wanted an example of someone displaying their confidence and self-belief in the right-way, he need look no further than Joe Hart. With the penalties going to sudden death, Joe expertly turned one away with his hand before placing the ball back on the spot and slamming home the winner himself.