Anelka key to Keegan's strategy

Manchester City 4 - Charlton Athletic 0
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Kevin Keegan hopes he has assembled a squad capable of giving Manchester City supporters "a season to remember". Charlton's manager Alan Curbishley will have spent most of the weekend trying to add to his, following their second successive four-goal away defeat.

Kevin Keegan hopes he has assembled a squad capable of giving Manchester City supporters "a season to remember". Charlton's manager Alan Curbishley will have spent most of the weekend trying to add to his, following their second successive four-goal away defeat.

Keegan was understandably upbeat about City after an impressive first win of the season at a time when some were questioning his and the club's ability to survive in the Premiership. If this is the start of something good, Keegan will be hoping he does not receive a massive offer for Nicolas Anelka ahead of tomorrow's transfer deadline.

Anelka scored twice in this game and laid on the fourth for Shaun Wright-Phillips after Trevor Sinclair had also netted for City. Lyon and Monaco have both attempted to lure Anelka back to his native France this summer, but Keegan insists City have to keep him, even if a £20m bid surfaced.

"Nicolas is irreplaceable," he said. "We have not got millions to spend on players and I don't think we'll be adding to the squad now. It is a small squad, but we have cover in most positions and I think we have the players to give our supporters a season to remember." Curbishley wishes he could share that optimism, after coming into this game after two convincing home wins following a 4-1 loss at Bolton on the opening day.

"We'll see what the weekend brings," Curbishley said. "I'd like to bring at least one more in before Tuesday and in my eyes that would give us enough strength all round. If the chairman had been at Manchester City, he might have wanted 11 new players. The deadline is now tight and I would like to do something. I want to bring in some players. We had an offer for Marcus Bent turned down by Ipswich and we may move off that one now, then we'll crack on with other things."

Curbishley held an impromptu meeting on the pitch with his coaching staff, Mervyn Day and Keith Peacock, immediately after a game in which his side offered little resistance after Anelka struck a 13th-minute opener. Sinclair added a second in the 35th before further strikes by Anelka and Wright-Phillips finished it off.

Curbishley explained: "I wanted to make sure I had seen what I thought I had seen out there in terms of our performance before I went in to the players. That left me a lot to think about - we can't concede eight goals in two away games and expect to do well. Last season we were better away from home."

Wright-Phillips is doubtful for England's World Cup qualifiers against Austria on Saturday and Poland on 8 September. Keegan confirmed: "He's got a problem with his back, so he may have to come back to us. He's doubtful but obviously we'll let the England physios decide."

Goals: Anelka 13 (1-0); Sinclair 35 (2-0); Anelka 60 (3-0); Wright-Phillips 78 (4-0).

Manchester City (4-4-2): James; Mills, Dunne, Distin, Thatcher; Wright-Phillips, Barton (McManaman, 75), Reyna, Sinclair (Macken, 80); Fowler, Anelka. Substitutes not used: Waterreus, Jihai, Bosvelt.

Charlton Athletic (4-4-2): Kiely; Young, Fish, Fortune (El Karkouri, 65), Hreidarsson; Murphy, Kishishev (Konchesky, 65), Euell, Rommedahl (Johansson, 65); Jeffers, Lisbie. Substitutes not used: Andersen, Hughes.

Referee: Mark Halsey (Lancashire).

Booked: Charlton: Murphy.

Man of the match: Nicolas Anelka.

Attendance: 43,593.

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