Sunday, 6 November 2011

Can Anyone Stop Man City?

We've got that Dentyl mouthwash that has both green and blue liquid in it. You shake it and it becomes somewhat turquoise and then after a while the colours settle back down into separate layers.

The first few months of the Premiership are much the same. Teams like Blackpool last year find themselves flying, only to settle back to where they're destined to fight for survival. And teams like Arsenal of this year struggle initially only to slowly rise and challenge for the European places. By early November, the table has started to roughly resemble how it will look in May (with a few exceptions - sorry Toon Army, it ain't gonna last)

Now that we're into double figures in the Played column and it's no longer what can be appropriately described as 'early season', the question really must be

"Can anyone stop City?"

They're 5 points clear, have dropped just 2 points all season and since beating Everton 2-0 on 24th September, they have scored 20 goals in 5 league matches, never failing to score at least 3 goals in a 
match. Which of Aguero, Balotelli, Silva, Nasri, Dzeko, or Toure would fail to get into any team in the league? My Football Manager experience tells me that a squad rotation system is for blooding youngsters and giving the players you rely on a bit of a break, not just because you've got so many world class players it's fun to experiment. My mistake.

The only comfort for Utd, Chelsea et al. is that City haven't been here before. They have multiple league winners in their squad but as a club they're very much new to leading the league and being title favourites. They could yet turn out to be a Newcastle of 95-96, who led by 12 points at Christmas time, only to be overhauled by Utd.

Every team has poor spells of form or a month with a few key injuries, the only question is how City will cope when that inevitably comes. So far they've managed to combine devastating (e.g. at Old Trafford) with gritty (e.g. yesterday at Loftus) and get the results every time. When the Champions League knockouts, the FA Cup, even the Carling Cup, are all knocking at the door, Mancini's plate-spinning skills are really going to be tested.

But I think the hardest challenge for City this season could be the 2012 African Cup of Nations in January. So far this year Yaya has been their driving force, providing infinite energy and power as well as attacking prowess. Most importantly for City he combines the ability to go forward and create & score goals with the defensive skills required to allow Mancini to play multiple forwards. Players like Barry/Hargreaves/De Jong offer the defensive side, players like Silva/Nasri/Johnson offer the sleight, skilful attacking side. When Yaya is away for what is likely to be the full 3 weeks, it is going to really test the depth and mental strength of the new league leaders, especially during what is traditionally United's strongest period of the season...


  1. very impressive , a well written blog . i rarely find footballing blogs where i agree with all the facts stated . i do agree here, i am a City hater , so i do hope some one stops them , i jus can't seem to find who it will be

  2. Quality post. I dislike City, in principle, but I also respect the job that Mancini has done. Whatever people say, I think he has done a fine job managing egos and getting those players to finally play like a team. It's not as easy as it looks.