Posts Tagged ‘Roberto Mancini’

Everyone regained their breath? What a Super Sunday that was, with arguably the best game of the day being saved till last. Manchester City narrowly edged out a valiant Arsenal attempt to take at least a point away from the Etihad Stadium, but what did we learn from that enthralling ninety minutes?

Arsenal are involved in the best games of the season – They’ve lost 8-2, won 5-3 at Stamford Bridge and lost 2-1 in a very entertaining North London derby. The Gunners inability to defend but ability to attack have allowed neutrals to enjoy some of the best Premier League games ever and this campaign isn’t even half a season old.

Wenger never ceases to amaze – In the Frenchman’s post match interview he concluded that “We are now out of the title race” Err sorry Arsene, but were you ever in it?

RVP’s record affected his game – No one even knew such a record existed but a few weeks ago the media went crazy as the Dutchman closed in on Alan Shearer’s 36 Premier League goals in a calender year. Yesterday for the first time, I saw Van Persie seem fixated on this possible achievement and several occasions take the selfish option instead of sliding in one of his team mates much to the frustration of them and no doubt, the fans.

Micah Richards is a shocking defender – *and jump * Sorry, that was me getting off the ‘Micah Richards for England’ bandwagon. The Manchester City right back was terrible yesterday, I mean we’ve always known he was clumsy (probably should have been a penalty against Ramsey) but the Englishman took his inability to defend to all new levels. If Arsenal had utilised the left wing at all they would have found copious amounts of space for Gervinho, Walcott and Arshavin, on so many occasions Richards was tucked inside Vincent Kompany or Kolo Toure highlighting his lack of positioning and tactical understanding. This performance comes after a terrific attacking and defending performance from Glen Johnson earlier in the afternoon.

The Arsenal Utopia is over – For many years Arsene Wenger’s side have been deemed the second greatest passing team on the planet behind Barcelona, however at the Etihad yesterday that myth died. The Gunners passing was far from slick and in the opening twenty minutes it was nothing short of suicidal far from the crisp passing days of Pires, Bergkamp and even more recent such as Hleb and Fabregas, if anything City played the ‘Arsenal way’.

Mancini can’t help but revert to type – This season the Man City manager seemed to cave in and gave the media and the fans what they wanted, free flowing attacking football with all of their striking superstars on the pitch at once. However yesterday the ice cool Mancini went back to his old stereotypical Italian ways; with the score at 1-0 and the game far from won the Italian took off Mario Balotelli and replaced him the versatile but defensive James Milner. The substitution surprised many but worked as Mancini’s side grounded at an Italian scoreline of 1-0.

Gary Neville is a terrible pundit – Oh wait we already knew that.



It is rare thing that fans of Arsenal, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur unite, however all of the aforementioned fans, crossed their fingers, prayed to the big guy in the sky and sold their soul in hope that Manchester City wouldn’t be able to ‘buy’ a top four finish. However credit, where credits due, Manchester City did exceptionally well in achieving third place and avoiding that dreaded Champions League qualifier. So that’s the first stage complete, but the real challenge is yet to come for the guys on Eastlands, will they have a Tottenham Hotspur style debut season or will they bow out without even a whimper?

It is a hard, physical and competitive season in the league alone before you consider cup competitions, that is why a strong in depth squad is a necessity in today’s beautiful game, something which isn’t an issue for City. Even if many of the players are rumoured to be on the move this summer, as things stand they are still City players, upfront there are Roque Santa Cruz, Jo, Felipe Caicedo and Craig Bellamy and that’s even before you consider Carlos Tevez, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli. Manchester City are overloaded with players in all positions, and with rumours linking all of football’s current greats with the Manchester outfit, they hold a squad more than capable of succeeding in club football’s greatest competition.

Champions League football is played at a very different pace and style to Premier League football. Domestic football in England is fast, quick and highly entertaining and with all due respect to Robert Mancini’s side and set up, this isn’t their style of play, yes, of course they can play like the English Premier League stereotype but with the two defensive midfielders’ they were always going to have Mancini’s Italian defensive influence within their play. A more defensive approach is taken by the majority of teams in the Champions League, meaning City can play to their usual formation, tempo and style.

The one doubt in my mind over Man City’s ability to succeed in next seasons Champions League is their abysmal showing in this season’s Europa League. Poor performances and results against the likes of Lech Poznan and Dynamo Kyiv, were a clear example that Mancini’s side just weren’t ready for the challenge of Europe. Europa League is seen as a second rate and inconvenient tournament but until City begin regularly qualifying for the Champions League, they should be given the competition their best shot, especially with many believing at the beginning of the season that, the Europa League was their main chance at silverware.

The beauty of the Champions League is anything is possible, no one expected Rubin Kazan to ever take points off Barcelona or Tottenham Hotspur to reach the Quarter Finals. The jury is still out on what the expectations of Manchester City will be in next season’s competition but anything is possible.

In true Premier League style, the winners were only decided on the penultimate fixture and we enter the final group of fixtures with only one team relegated. It is safe to say this has been an amazing Premier League this season, with all of the ‘big teams’ dropping points week in week out, other teams finding themselves close to relegation and then a week later on the verge of a top eight finish and, naturally, the odd controversial decision. This year’s campaign has given us many reasons to laugh, smile and sometimes cry, but this has only made our love for the beautiful game grow stronger. Here are my positives from yet another Premiership campaign.

Top Four Party Crashed yet again- Last season it was Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham who broke the top four ‘cartel’ at the expense of Liverpool and this season it is Manchester City’s turn to steal the limelight. Roberto Mancini said his main aim was a top four finish and his City side duly obliged in giving their manager just that. However, it wasn’t plan sailing; at one point it looked like neither Tottenham or Manchester City wanted to qualify for the Champions League, with both teams slipping up, Spurs especially struggling against the ‘lesser’ teams, so much so that it looked like Liverpool could be in with a shout for fourth spot, an achievement that seemed impossible after their start to the season. The constant ‘swings and roundabouts’ for the prestigious final Champions League berth has been a credit to the league and the improvement of the chasing pack.

Classic Games- Us football fans have been treated to some fantastic footballing spectacles this season. Who can forget Newcastle’s heroic comeback against Arsenal to earn a point after being 4-0 down at half time? Or Manchester United’s 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers, in which Berbatov claimed five and even the recent game between Blackpool and Bolton, yet more fantastic entertainment.

Emergence of genuine English talent- Every season there is always a fresh batch of talent that is dubbed as the next set of stars to lead England to international glory. Year after year us loyal fans are let down with the likes of Francis Jeffers, Seth Johnson and Michael Ricketts, but this year the Three Lions appear to be on to some real gems with Andy Carroll, Jack Rodwell and Jack Wilshere; no doubt all three will go on to be stars for club and country.

Blackpool- Regardless of what league the Tangerines will be plying their trade in next season, this one belongs to them. Ian Holloway has well and truly found a place in the hearts of all football fans this term with his honest, down-to-earth and, at times, downright hilarious attitude. Blackpool’s ‘attack at all costs because that’s the only way we know how to play’ style of football may very well be the cause of their downfall come next Saturday, but what entertainment they have served up doing it; Holloway’s team has scored 53 goals so far this season, more than most of the sides in the bottom half.

Roll on next season.

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