Just 11 games into the season, this Manchester City side is already being talked about as one the best Premier League sides we have ever seen. With two-time Champions League winner Pep Guardiola at the helm, the City squad is brimming with talent, especially in attack. You can expect that former La Liga and Bundesliga champion Guardiola will receive more financial backing in the seasons to come, with no limit to Man City’s potential.
All that excitement makes Manchester City one of the best clubs to manage on Football Manager 2018, and it doesn’t just stop there. The Etihad outfit have a fantastic youth set up so you'll be set for the long haul.
Straight after setting up your Career Mode, you will be presented with the club’s philosophies by Manchester City Managing Director Ferran Soriano. These will be to play attacking football, sign high profile players and to develop players using the club’s youth system. Given what the club has on offer, all three of these philosophies take care of themselves. In terms of signing big players you will just need to decide who you want.
Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak will then ask you to set the expectations for the season. The default is to qualify for the Champions Cup (Champions League), reach the final of the FA Cup and reach the quarterfinals of the Champions Cup. The Carabao Cup isn't deemed important.
You should be able to achieve all of these, but if you are feeling confident, you can aim higher. Targeting a Premier League win would give you an extra £17.6 million to play with in the transfer market, with a Champions League semi-final expectation giving you an extra £5 million.
Transfer: £80 million
Wage: £3.4 million per week (Current £3.2 million)
Pep Guardiola mixes up his formation from game-to-game, but he tends to stick with some sort of 4-3-3 system, and it should do the same. Other formations worth considering are a conventional 4-2-3-1 to get Kevin De Bruyne closer to the goal, and a 5-3-2 for more defensive security.
You will be faced with plenty of selection headaches with the Man City squad. Ederson pips Claudio Bravo in goal, with Kyle Walker, Vincent Kompany, John Stones and Danilo making up the back four.
Fernandinho is the defensive protector in midfield, and he's joined by catalysts David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne. In attack, the clinical Sergio Aguero is flanked by Bernardo Silva and Leroy Sane.
On the bench you will want Claudio Bravo, Nicolas Otamendi, Fabian Delph, Yaya Toure, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.
Benjamin Mendy is out for a couple of months at the start of the season due to a knee ligament injury, and he should come straight into your side at left back when he returns. As for Ilkay Gundogan, he's out for about six weeks (knee injury), and can add discipline to midfield once he recovers.
With Man City such a dominant team, you should opt for the control mentality. With so much quality, they should be able to overthrow most opponents, but against the bigger sides perhaps drop it back to standard.
As for your team shape, you will want to be fluid. This will allow your front five players to roam around and become incredibly difficult for opposing defenders to pick up.
Try to get as many green lights on the pitch as possible through positions, roles and duties, but make sure the side is still balanced. Avoid having any 'analysis zones' in red, indicating an area of weakness on the pitch.
City have talent pouring out of their ears, but as you would expect, their biggest threat is in attack.
Sergio Aguero – CA 4.5 star (178), PA 4.5 star (183)
With the arrival of Gabriel Jesus last season, Sergio Aguero’s role has slightly changed at Manchester City, as he is no longer a guaranteed starter. That said, he's without a doubt their premier marksman, recently becoming the club’s record goalscorer with 179 goals in 265 games.
On Football Manager 2018, the 29-year-old Aguero has a 178 current ability score, consisting of 19 balance, 18 technique and 18 agility. With his potential at 183, the Argentine could still see his rating improve when in good form, so you should start him more often than Gabriel Jesus (CA 150, PA 170). With a value of £75 million, you may be tempted to sell Aguero, and you would save £160,000 a week in wages. Perhaps give it a season for Jesus to be ready to make the step up.
Kevin De Bruyne – CA 4.5 star (176), PA 4.5 star (183)
Manchester City’s best player at the moment, Kevin De Bruyne is the heartbeat of Pep Guardiola’s side. He can shoot, pass and dribble with both feet, and now with more responsibility in the side, he's putting a bigger shift in defence.
The 26-year-old Belgian receives a 176 current ability rating on the game, and like Aguero his potential is 183. 18 passing, 18 creativity and 18 ambition show how talented De Bruyne is, with his value a massive £78 million. Despite that tempting price and £150,000 a week wages you should do everything to keep hold of the creative midfielder.
David Silva – CA 4 star (172), PA 4 star (173)
Not too dissimilar to De Bruyne, David Silva has also had to step up his defensive shift in the City side. The Spaniard goes about his business in a more quiet fashion than his teammate though, drifting around and finding pockets of space to cause havoc. With the ability to clip a pinpoint ball over the top or through the defence makes Silva a joy to watch.
The 31-year-old has a 172 CA score, and he has pretty much hit his peak with a 173 potential. 19 passing, 19 flair and 19 first touch are simply outrageous stats, adding to Silva’s £49 million value. His wages may be £160,000 a week, but you should keep the former Valencia man at the club for at least one more season.
Man City have one of the finest youth set ups in England, with many of their youngsters impressing for England youth teams this year at international tournaments. Hopefully, it won’t be long before they get minutes with the City first team.
Brahim Diaz – CA 1.5 star (96), PA 3.5 – PA 4.5 star (165)
At just 17, attacking midfielder Brahim Diaz is on the cusp of the Man City first team, making his debut in the League Cup last season. You should look to use the competition again to give the Spanish U21 international some minutes on the pitch, with his 165 PA score showing he has the quality to play for The Citizens. 16 determination, 15 dribbling and 15 temperament should stand him in good stead for years to come.
Tosin Adarabioyo – CA 1.5 star (105), PA 2.5 – 3.5 star (159)
There's been steady progression for centre back Tosin Adarabioyo, making his City debut in the FA Cup a few seasons ago, then playing in the Champions League last year and continuing in the Carabao Cup this season.
A 105 current ability puts him outside the first team picture for now, but things could change in a year’s time as he builds towards his 159 potential. His best attributes are his 17 ambition, 16 jumping and 14 temperament.
Olexandr Zinchenko – CA 2 star (115), PA 2-3 star (146)
We’ve selected Olexandr Zinchenko on the bench because of his versatility, with the Ukrainian capable of playing on either flank or as a number 10 . If you ever find yourself 3-0 up with 20 minutes to play, you can throw him on to give him game-time.
A 115 current ability means he is just short of earning starts but with a promising potential of 146, it take a season before he's in that bracket. 18 determination, 16 versatility, and 15 teamwork are the stats you are looking for from a young talent.
|Midfield Depth - DM, CM, AMR||Defence Depth - DC, DR|
|Youth Prospects||Overall Depth|
|First Touch||Work Rate|
|Star Defender (Vincent Kompany)||Strength|
|Star Midfielders (Ilkay Gundogan & Kevin De Bruyne)||Jumping Reach|
Team Leaders - Vincent Company (C), David Silva (vice-captain), Sergio Aguero
Highly influential - Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi, Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Claudio Bravo
A new feature for FM 18 is dynamics. These reflect the atmosphere inside the dressing room at your club. You must identify who the most influential players are at the club, and if you upset one of these highly influential men, you could lose the dressing room. When speaking to your players or to the media, choose your words and tone carefully as an innocent remark could upset the wrong person.
After spending £210 million in the summer, it's surprising to see that Man City still have £80 million in the bank on Football Manager 2018. That should be enough money to bring in two signings, and make City the undisputed favourites for the Premier League title.
Left back – Alex Sandro (CA 168, PA 172)
Chased by Chelsea in the summer, you can snap up Juventus left back Alex Sandro for £50 million. The Brazilian international has a higher current ability than the potential of Benjamin Mendy (CA 146, PA 156), so you won't have to wait for Mendy's return from injury to solve your left back issue.
The 26-year-old Sandro has 18 composure, 17 off the ball and 17 temperament to his game, you can see why he has a 172 potential. He'll expect an increase on his £89,000 a week wages to the six-figure mark, but it's worth for one of the most complete full backs in the worlds.
- Raphael Guerreiro - Age 23, Borussia Dortmund, Portugal, CA 153, PA 170, Value: £30m, Wage: £34k
- Danny Rose - Age 27, Tottenham, England, CA 150, PA 155, Value: £31m, Wage: £60k
- Jordi Alba - Age 28, Barcelona, Spain, CA 159, PA 165, Value: £41m, Wage: £147k
- Marcelo - Age 29, Real Madrid, Brazil, CA 166, PA 166, Value: £50m, Wage: £142k
Defensive midfielder – Matias Kranevitter (CA 136, PA 165)
Fernandinho is the only conventional holding midfielder City have, with Ilkay Gundogan, Yaya Toure and Fabian Delph more box-to-box players. Matias Kranevitter would provide a like-for-like back-up for Fernandinho, with the Zenit St Petersburg man's preferred role being a Defensive Midfielder.
Kranevitter, 24, has a 136 current ability and 165 potential ability scores, which would make him a squad player at The Etihad for a number of years. 17 adaptability, 17 work rate and 16 team work are promising attributes, which would cost you £25 million. His current wages are £30,000 a week, but you may need to push those beyond £50,000.
- Amadou Diawara, Age 19, Napoli, Guinea, CA 148, PA 168, Value: £17m, Wage: £24k
- Julian Weigl, Age 21, Borussia Dortmund, Germany, CA 148, PA 160, Value: £19m, Wage: £68k
- Wilfred Ndidi, Age 20, Leicester, Nigeria, CA 132, PA 161, Value: £24m, Wage: £35k
- Emre Can, Age 23, Liverpool, Germany, CA 152, PA 163, Value: £28m, Wage: £45k
Players to sell
You need to identify which players you won’t need at The Etihad, and with it likely that you'll be bringing in a couple of signings, the squad looks quite large. You never know what you may need in the transfer market, and selling just one player can help make room in both your transfer and wage budgets.
With just a year left on his contract you should cash in on him now, with the 34-year-old able to get you £5.25 million. His 146 current ability has fallen way off his 180 potential, so he's set to worsen even more over the season. You will save a massive £190,000 a week by letting him go.
Looking at the financial projection, things are looking pretty rosy for Manchester City. Bank balance and turnover is on the up, with the club only set for a brief spell of debt over 2018. You will be pleased to see that your transfer budget will hit a whopping £350 million in the summer of 2018, but perhaps keep an eye on the Financial Fair Play regulations. With the club already spending £200+ million in the summer, you may not be able to spend too freely.
The sky’s the limit
Quality squad – check. Healthy bank balance – check. Promising youngsters coming through – check. Manchester City have perhaps the best set side in world football, but the only thing missing is an established history. Two Premier Leagues, an FA Cup and two League Cups is all the club have won since the money came rolling in a decade ago, but they have never had a squad of this calibre before.
Challenging in Europe is now a realistic target, and judging by the current season, lifting a third Premier League title looks a foregone conclusion. It’s down to you on FM 18 as to how far this City side can go.
Manchester City first team squad roles and ratings
|Player||Age||Pos||Role||Duty||Role Ability||CA/ PA|
|Ederson||23||GK||Sweeper Keeper||Support||3 star||152/ 162|
|Kyle Walker||27||DR||Full-Back||Attack||3 star||151/ 159|
|Vincent Kompany||31||CD||Ball Playing Defender||Defend||3.5 star||160/ 168|
|John Stones||23||CD||Ball Playing Defender||Defend||3 star||147/ 172|
|Danilo||25||DL||Defensive Full-Back||Defend||2 star||148/ 155|
|Fernandinho||32||DM||Defensive Midfielder||Defend||3 star||153/ 160|
|David Silva||31||MCR||Advanced Playmaker||Support||4 star||172/ 173|
|Kevin De Bruyne||26||MCL||Deep Lying Playmaker||Support||4.5 star||176/ 183|
|Bernardo Silva||22||AMR||Inside Forward||Support||4 star||159/ 175|
|Leroy Sane||21||AML||Winger||Support||3 star||151/ 176|
|Sergio Aguero||29||STC||Trequartista||Attack||4.5 star||178/ 183|
|Claudio Bravo||34||GK||Goalkeeper||Defend||3 star||149/ 167|
|Eliaquim Mangala||26||D (C)||Central Defender||Stopper||2.5 star||150/ 155|
|Fabian Delph||27||D (L) M (C)||Box To Box Midfielder||Support||2.5 star||139/ 145|
|Yaya Toure||34||DM M (C) AM (C)||Deep Lying Playmaker||Support||3 star||146/ 180|
|Olexandr Zinchenko||20||M (RL) AM (RLC)||Inside Forward||Support||2 star||115/ 146|
|Raheem Sterling||22||M (L) AM (RLC) ST (C)||Winger||Support||3 star||151/ 165|
|Gabriel Jesus||20||AM (RL) ST (C)||Inside Forward/ Trequartista||Attack||3 star||150/ 170|
|Nicolas Otamendi||29||D (C)||Central Defender||Defend||3 star||150/ 155|
|Tosin Adarabioyo||19||D (C)||Central Defender/ Defensive Centre Back||Defend||1.5 star||105/ 159|
|Brahim Diaz||17||M (C) AM (RC)||Advanced Playmaker||Attack/ Support||1.5 star||95/ 165|
|Benjamin Mendy||22||D (L) WB (L)||Full-Back||Attack||3 star||146/ 156|
|Ilkay Gundogan||26||DM M (C) AM (C)||Advanced Playmaker||Support||4 star||160/ 168|
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