With the 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge friendly only two days away, whitecapsfc.com examine Manchester City FC's strikers in part five of their six-part series on the English Premier League (EPL) club. With the upcoming match between Vancouver Whitecaps FC and City set for Bell Pitch at Empire Field on Monday night, strikers will be the main attraction heading into the July 18 friendly.
With City’s attack firing on all cylinders throughout the 2010-11 EPL campaign, their strikeforce are back and ready to improve on last season's 60-goal output. With highly coveted transfers in sight, up-and-coming young talent ready to be showcased, and a collective knack for scoring goals, City’s attack should be locked and loaded to display their embarrassment of riches again this season.
Starring in the feature role of primary striker with is 25-year-old Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko. After departing German Bundesliga club VfL Wolfsburg in January, Dzeko made 21 appearances for ‘The Citizens’, immediately displaying his natural scoring touch with six goals. City will be expecting even more from the two-time 'Bosnian Footballer of the Year', who brings a wealth of experience and skill to City after claiming the 2008-09 German Bundesliga title with Wolfsburg before capturing the 2009-10 Bundesliga 'Top Scorer' award with 22 goals. Having appeared for Bosnia & Herzegovina 37 times since 2007, Dzeko’s 'Midas touch' turned Man City’s 2011 English FA Cup run to gold, as he tallied twice for City against Notts County FC in the fourth round.
Along with Dzeko on their North American tour is a group of young, talented forwards that will be highlighted throughout the World Football Challenge. With the following five strikers all under 21 years of age, City will have plenty of energy and enthusiasm at the top of their formation against Whitecaps FC.
20-year-old Italian forward Mario Balotelli joined City in 2010 after spending three seasons with Italian Serie A giants Internazionale. In that time, Balotelli made 86 appearances with Inter and scored 28 times before moving to England. Balotelli made 28 appearances for Man City during the 2010 campaign and added 10 goals, a performance that earned him the 2010 'Golden Boy' award. Balotelli is also a member of the Italian national team, having already made two appearances for the Azzurri.
Also looking to impress is Swedish striker John Guidetti. After joining City in 2008, Guidetti has spent the majority of his time on loan with Sweden's IF Brommapojkarna and England's Burnley FC throughout the past two seasons. Guidetti has been a key member of the Swedish youth national teams, finding success at every level. Guidetti scored eight goals in 11 appearances for Sweden's U-17 squad, five goals in five appearances with his country's U-19 squad, and is a key member of their U-21 side.
But City's pride and joy of their future offence rests in the hands of 17-year-old Spanish sensation Denis Suarez. After acquiring the talented striker from Real Club Celta de Vigo in May, Suarez will be making his inaugural debut for the East Manchester side. Suarez has played for Spain's U-17 national team and will play for City's reserve side this upcoming season.
City are also proud to have Andrea Mancini - son of manager Roberto Mancini - in their ranks. After being loaned to the EPL club in 2008, Internazionale released the younger Mancini, who went on to spend time with Italian clubs AC Monza Brianza 1912 and AC Bellaria Igea Marina during the past couple of seasons. Andrea joins 21-year-old Northern Ireland international Ryan McGivern, who also has spent time on loan with Morecambe FC, Leicester City FC, and Walsall FC in England. As a member of the City youth team, McGivern won 2008 English FA Youth Cup title and has already featured for Northern Ireland's senior squad on 12 occasions.
With Dzeko and the rest of the City strikers ready for the World Football Challenge, Whitecaps FC will need an impressive defensive effort to handle the EPL club's offensive gems. However, City will not be the only side with quality strikers at the helm, as Whitecaps FC will have Designated Players Eric Hassli and Mustapha Jarju to choose from. With the opportunity to see fantastic strikers apply their trade under the bright lights of Bell Pitch at Empire Field, fans should be ready to see many exciting moments during Monday's game.
On Monday, July 18, at 7 p.m. PT, Vancouver Whitecaps FC host this year’s English FA Cup winners, Manchester City FC, in an international friendly match as part of this year's Herbalife World Football Challenge. Fans can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster Ticket Centres, online at ticketmaster.ca, or Charge-by-Phone at 1.855.6.GO-CAPS (1.866.646.2277).