Adding Wilfred Bony won’t help Manchester City in 2014-15


It has been reported that Swansea City forward Wilfred Bony will join Manchester City during the winter transfer window after a £28 million fee has been agreed to between the two clubs. Manuel Pelligrini, City’s manager, was looking to add a forward to bring more depth to his two forward attack in anticipation of a two-horse fight to the Premier League title against Chelsea and a deep run in the Champions League.

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  • Africa Cup of Nations

    Currently, Bony is away from Swansea City on duty with the Ivory Coast National team during the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations. In the unlikely event the Ivory Coast is unlikely eliminated at the end of the Group Stage, the earliest he could potentially return to England as a new member of Manchester City is January 29.

    This means he definitely will be unavailable for the most important match of the 2014-2015 season, away to Chelsea on January 31st. City currently trails Chelsea by two points. He will also miss the January 18th home match against Champions League contending Arsenal, a stumbling block where City could drop valuable points.

    With a loss to Chelsea, Bony would join a City side that sits five points behind Premier League leaders Chelsea, needing them to drop points for City to have any chance to challenge for the title.

    Also, with Manchester City’s forwards Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko, and Stevan Jovetic all returning to fitness, Bony will begin his tenure as City’s fourth attacking option as the other three are already imbedded into the side and have formed a connection with each other by training and playing together.

    Playing with Two Forwards

    “Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City’s manager, is one of the few major managers who prefer to play with two forwards…”

    Manuel Pellegrini, Manchester City’s manager, is one of the few major managers who prefer to play with two forwards. Usually, he positions two ball players, Samir Nasri and David Silva, on the flanks to drift centrally providing the ability for City to play through opposition. This is an effective strategy against the majority of their opposition, who are usually lower to mid table sides that attempt sit deep and deny City goal scoring opportunities.

    However, when City play sides who can compete for possession, they are overrun in central midfield if they still attempt to play with two forwards, as most notably seen in their 1-1 home draw with AS Roma during the 2014-15 Champions League. This has forced City to drop a forward and play a 4-2-3-1 formation, with three recognized central midfielders against the better teams in the Premier League and the Champions League. If healthy, Sergio Aguero, City’s best player during the 2014-2015 season will occupy the starting Center Forward position. This means in their most daunting away matches against Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, and Manchester United, Bony will only be able to affect the match as a late substitute. Also, in the Champions League against the best sides in Europe, City will be forced to drop a forward limiting the influence Bony will have in Europe.

    Bony, a forward who has scored 25 Premier League goals in 54 Premier League matches, will have a considerable affect in matches against mid to lower side clubs where he can play in a strike partnership. However, in the matches against the better English and European sides where titles are decided, because Chelsea will also win the majority of these matches, his influence will be limited.

    Champions League Registration

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  • To add Bony to their Champions League Knockout Stage roster, City must sacrifice a non-homegrown player that was registered for the Champions League group stage. Normally, with 25 players available, this addition would have a negligible affect on City’s depth throughout the remainder of the tournament. However, City have been hit with a penalty for breaking FFP regulations, meaning they are only allowed to register 21 player for the Champions League. City must register three goalkeepers allowing them to only have 18 field players available.

    With Pelligrini playing a 4-2-3-1 formation with only one forward against the biggest sides in European football, having three forwards, Bony, Jovetic, and Dzeko sitting on the bench is wasteful and will affect the squad depth in an area that is City’s greatest weakness.

    While he may have a greater contribution in the coming seasons, because of his late arrival to Manchester City’s squad due to the 2015 African Cup of Nations, City’s change of formation during title winning matches, and ramifications of City’s squad depth, Bony’s addition to City’s Champions League roster will limit his value towards City’s title ambitions during the 2014-15 season.