Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday December 29 2009
City's groanathon 4-3 win over Sunderland was noteable for a lack of team defensive cohesion and an abject failure to employ a Plan B when it ain't going right. Enter Mancio...
City's reinforced enemies amongst football hacks and beyond of the past 16 months have been denied yet again. The Blues have completed the first half of the season with only 2 league defeats (one of which we are fired up to avenge next week) and all of a sudden have become a far steadier ship on top of that startling fact.
Roberto Mancini has answered the call of a City hierarchy who many Blues believe had all but given up on Mark Hughes months ago.
That has taken serious balls and the pressure he and his side were under going into the Boxing Day battle with uncompromising Stoke must have been immense.
To his and his side's absolute credit they put in more than a shift to beat a side they would have arguably at least have conceded goals to based upon previous evidence and took that belief to the hostile atmosphere of Wolverhampton where despite the disappointingly bitter, begrudging reaction of Mick McCarthy, played some of the finest football seen across the Premier League this season. They played like a team released.
And players who were beginning to lose their way under Sparky are clearly benefitting. Gareth Barry has re-emerged as a commanding midfield presence and the rust free Vincent Kompany has been a revelation at centre half. Both are serious contenders for Blues captain in Kolo Toure's african absence.
Carlos Tevez, who the arrogant smugfest United We Stand referred to as 'a dog chasing a stick' once they realised their club could no longer afford his services, has been sensational.
Many Blues will tell you that the tools were always there, yet Sparky just could not pull it all together.
Okay, we've far from arrived, but the signs are there that what is now Mancio's injury hit squad have a new found steely resolve. Beating Stoke and Wolves with plenty to spare is no easy feat this season.
You know you are on the right track when both Stoke and Wolves fans are laughably bellowing to Manchester City fans 10 years on from our third tier nightmare 'where were you when you were shit!?!!' We can take that as a glowing compliment.
So the signs are good and flying in the face of the fevered pro Hughes media campaign, (following their campaign to get him sacked) that even saw the pisspoor MUTV devote a whole 'special' day deciated to the sacked Blues gaffer 24 hours after his departure, we must remind ourselves that His Highness Sheikh Mansour and Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak are no mugs. Hughes had hinted that his side's lack of a winning mentality would be addressed financially in January and without question, the owner, as is his right, decided that he'd seen enough of the Thaksin Shinawatra appointed former Blackburn manager.
CEO Garry Cook's 'points trajectory' buffoonery did a lot of damage to the club's image that Mancini and his team have gone a long way towards beginning to nullify but stern challenges await them throughout January.
Meanwhile, if Cook isn't looking over his hapless shoulder already after his appalling treatment of Mark Hughes then he should be.
Whatever anybody says, City's resurgence has helped revitalise what had become a turgid procession of a 'Big Four' dominated league. Furthermore, Spurs, Birmingham and Villa's tremendous efforts have also shown other sides that those for so long financially superior clubs are no longer invincible.
City have raised the stakes and were Wenger, Taggart, Ancelotti and Benitez watching City's free flowing football last night, they must have been shifting uncomfortably in their seats as the still widely predicted and longed for Manchester City implosion refuses to materialise.
This season's Premier League is there for the taking for the side who can find winning consistency backed by astute management.
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Date:Tuesday December 29 2009
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