Writer: Johnny Baguette
Date:Tuesday April 13 2010
Everyone connected with Manchester City would do well to heed Roberto Mancini's one game at a time philosophy. There are still 5 games to go and a lot of football to be played...
Of course, any Blue could be forgiven for getting carried away at what will be City's best ever Premier League finish, but all that excitement will count for nothing if we lose focus in thinking we've already made it into European Football's promised land.
City embarked upon a 10 game mini season at Fulham and The Blues have reached the half way stage of it in a strong position. Outside of being outmuscled at home to Everton, the City side have settled steadily into a 442 formation with the accent on attack.
This combined with the nucleus of the side being unchanged and key players all running into form and fitness at the right time have helped shape City into a formidable looking outfit with a month of the season remaining:
City's 10 Game Mini Season Results So Far:
(Last 10 started with win at Fulham)
P:5, W:4, L:1, F:16, A:5,
Pts:12 out of 15, GD:+11
Some hacks are already declaring the race for fourth is over and that City's stunning break up of the top four monopoly is complete. We need to be wary of not being suckered into all the hype.
With points and goals on the board, Citizens have every reason to feel supremely confident going into the defining weeks of the season, but history tells us that just a couple of results can change the whole complexion of a league table.
If Pompey shocked Spurs beat The Arsenal on Wednesday night, then pressure would increase upon City to deliver a derby win on Saturday. A similar cycle of to-ing and fro-ing could then realistically continue until City and Spurs go head to head on 5th May.
Back to the derby and rag faces have become as sickly yellow and green as their scarves in recent weeks as they watch their arrogance sustained empire slowly crumble. An underfunded squad now over reliant upon a backbone of once consistently brilliant old stagers looks to have almost run it's course and is in desperate need of an overhaul that as debts stand, cannot happen.
But Taggart remains at the controls and you can bet your life he will exploit every trick in the book that he can in an effort to stop the erstwhile 'liddle ciddy' from securing an 18th league win of the season and another step closer to The Champions League.
Whether it's declaring three of his key players as very doubtful right up until kick off then selecting them or terrifying referee Steve Bennett, the Stretford bin man will not go down quietly.
City fans can take great heart at the way the rags have been roughed up by The Blues across the last two years; Being forced to fork out £30 million for Berbaflop, being unable to pay for the brilliant Carlos Tevez's services and being forced to field a senior side against City in a cup competition they dismissed as pointless for so long are all noteable landmark moments as the gap between the two clubs continues to close at a rapid pace.
Sure, we can take comfort from the fact that whatever happens in Manchester on Saturday, City will be back in the rags faces next season, but that comfort won't be required if everyone keeps their feet on the ground and stays concentrated.
We're close, but we're not there yet.
Date:Tuesday April 13 2010
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