Ped Into Europe, City Out
First of all may I apologise to avid readers of The Ped Report for being unable to offer my usual musings in the light of City's exit from Europe's Elite Competition. I spend most of the midweek working in France these days and do not travel as I have done in previous seasons. Equally as Mrs Pedmachine made an untimely visit to my new found abode, I had to take her out for dinner rather than sit in the Brasserie watching Satellite Direct.
The Blues took their much awaited and anticipated exit from not only the Champions League but also the Europa League at the hands of Borussia Dortmund last night.
The 1-0 defeat confirmed that the project might be falling off the Abu Dhabi rails as City became the first English club not to win a match in their group. I think even Lille won one match!
This will not be well received in the sand dunes but to most City fans it is probably now a relief to discover that we will not spend the latter half of the season playing our league matches after everyone else.
I firmly believe as does the magnanimous Mr Mancini that this should now spur City on to retain the title and hopefully throw in the FA Cup for good measure. That would represent success, not necessarily in adversity.
As City now only has to parade at weekends it would be unforgivable if they were to finish outside the top one. And this quest needs to start immediately with Stretford's finest heading along Mancunian Way on Sunday morning. Rested after possibly fielding a shadow team tonight and with the jersey pulling Serb waiting in the wings, the Stretfords will be wanting to bring to an end City's unbeaten run and their league match dominance at the Etihad which Dennis Tueart believes is the cornerstone to City winning the title for the second successive season.
They should start this by getting back to level points with the rags on Sunday and move the pressure their way as they know that after January they will be playing six times a month compared to City's four. This gives City more recovery time for injuries and only when Sky plays its scheduling games should any pressure come back to the Etihad.
Performances in the Champions League have been a bit of a shambles, especially as City had the Madrid game won before throwing it away in stoppage time. That would have put a different complexion on the Group with other teams taking note and maybe changing the way they addressed their matches against City. In the end, Mancini didn't send out his team to take charge of matches and they duly paid for this wherever they went.
The new learning curve starts again now, but having got the taste of silverware for two seasons, it is now time to keep the flow running and ensuring that the double is seen on campus by the end of May.
Let's see what Sunday brings!!
all times East Manchester
Su 09Dec 13h30 The rags, The Etihad, PL
Sa 15Dec 12h45 Newcastle, St James' Park, PL
Sa 22Dec 15h00 Reading, The Etihad, PL
We 26Dec 15h00 Sunderland, Stadium of Light, PL
Sa 29Dec 15h00 Norwich, Carrow Road, PL
Tu 01Jan 15h00 Stoke, The Etihad, PL
Sa/Su 05/06 Jan TBC Watford, The Etihad, FAC
Su 13Jan 16h00 Arsenal, The Emirates, PL
Sa 19Jan 15h00 Fulham, The Etihad, PL
Tu 29Jan 19h45 QPR, Loftus Road, PL