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Premiership Season Preview Manchester City

Manchester City Odds: 500/1 Last Five Seasons 2005/06 - 15 (Premiership), 2004/05 - 8 (Premiership), 2003/04 - 16 (Premiership), 2002/03 - 9 (Premiership), 2001/02 - 1 (Championship, Promoted). 2005/06 Cup Progress FA Cup Sixth Round vs West Ham United (h) - lost 2-1. Carling Cup Second Round vs Doncaster Rovers (a) - lost 3-0 on penalties with the score 1-1 after extra time. Top Goal Scorer 2005/06: Andrew Cole and Darius Vassell (strikers) - 10 goals each. Players In Joe Hart (Shrewsbury Town - 600,000), Dietmar Hamann (Liverpool - 400,000), Bernado Corradi (Valencia - Undisclosed), Paul Dickov (Blackburn Rovers - Free), Ousmane Dabo (Lazio - Free). Players Out Lee Croft (Norwich City - 600,000), Willo Flood (Cardiff City - Undisclosed), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Southampton - Nominal), David Sommeil (Sheffield United - Free), Mikkel Bischoff (Coventry City - Free).

Manchester City endured a disappointing season which despite an undefeated start and winning three of their opening five matches, capitulated in them losing nine of their last 10 games and finishing nine points away from relegation. Manager Stuart Pearce has rung the changes in time for the new campaign and instilled Richard Dunne as the new club captain in place of contract rebel Sylvain Distin. Republic of Ireland international Dunne has made 288 appearances for City following his 3 million switch from Everton six years ago. Pearce has opted for Serie A experience this summer with the signings of Bernardo Corradi and Ousmane Dabo. Valencia striker Corradi, formerly of Lazio, spent last season on loan at Parma where he scored 10 goals in 35 league appearances.

Dabo is a former French international who turned down a new contract offer from Lazio and signed a three year contract at the City of Manchester Stadium. Former favourite Paul Dickov returned to the club following his release from Blackburn Rovers. The former Arsenal striker first played for City between August 1996 and February 2002 and scored in the 1998/99 League One play off final which saw City return to the second tier. Pearce also signed Dietmar Hamann on a free transfer after the player signed a pre-contract agreement to join Bolton Wanderers. Hamann made 283 appearances for Liverpool in seven years at the club before switching to Manchester.

Verdict City need to get off to a good start to banish the dire run of form they encountered at the end of last season. It will be another tough campaign for Stuart Pearce's side but they are unlikely to be involved in a relegation battle. Mid table safety or obscurity, whichever way you look at it.

David Walker runs Bet365 free bet and UK poker websites. A free email course: "Seven Days to Better Betting" is available at both of these websites.


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