There was something eerily predictable about Mikel Arteta’s 87th minute strike which not only gave Arsenal a priceless 1-0 win over title chasers Manchester City, but also condemned Roberto Mancini’s men to their fifth league defeat of the season.
Now a mighty seven points behind leaders Manchester United with just six games to go, the race for the 2011/2012 Premier League table looks to be all but over.
But after such a great start to the season and looking imperious throughout winter, where did it all go wrong for City? In The Stands Rolly Pelovangu investigates…
1. Manchester City Have No Title-Run In Experience
Perhaps the number one reason as to why Manchester City have collapsed in the race for this season’s Premier League crown boils down to their inability to handle the pressure cooker when the fire was roaring at its hottest.
Sir Alex Ferguson calls it ‘squeaky bum time’; the crunch period in a season when experience above all becomes the number one deciding factor as to who crosses the finish line in first place and who is forced to settle for second.
Manchester United have been in such situations many times before whilst the same could not be said about virgins Manchester City.
Who then can be surprised that it was the reigning champions who excelled during ‘squeaky bum time’ whilst their near neighbours wilted under the pressure.
That United are set to win this season’s Premier League crown with their highest points total ever despite being far from their best throughout the campaign and defender Nemanja Vidic being out speaks more about City’s failures rather than United’s success.
2. Manager Roberto Mancini Is Not Good Enough
A view favoured by those who doubt the credentials of City coach Roberto Mancini. Having failed to adequately deal with the circus surrounding Mario Balotelli and the never ending Carlos Tevez saga, the Citizens’ collapse has once again aroused many people’s suspicions that the Italian coach is just not good enough to manage City at the highest level.
After 17 wins in their first 22 matches, the Citizens sat some eight points clear at the turn of the year, have the most talented squad, floss the biggest wad of cash, and were on course for a treble. Now they will be ending the season potless.
On this fact alone serious questions about Mancini ought to be raised.
3. Carlos Tevez’s Antics Ruined The Season
The day Manchester City’s top goalscorer Carlos Tevez refused to come off the bench during his sides’ 2-0 defeat to Bayern Munich back in September was arguably the day when a poisonous weed was planted in the City camp.
However, as pointed out by In The Stands at the time, it wasn’t so much Tevez’s actions as to Mancini’s reaction to the event which proved costly.
Mancini shat on man who made him and his team look so good the season before. Barely had us journalists garnered a credible understanding of just what went on in the City dugout that night at the Allainz Arena when we were made to believe that Tevez was the Devil’s favourite demon.
Much groveling and sucking-up ensued as the Argentine was brought back into the team thus pissing on people like Edin Dzeko, Sergio Aguero and Mario Balotelli.
The message was clear – your not good enough, or at least not as good as rebel Tevez. Furthermore, you can do what you want and be forgiven.
Is it any wonder that Balotelli’s head hasn’t been right ever since the return of Carlos Tevez? In fact, the 21-year-old has been craftily engineering a move out of the club – the hooker story leak, turning up at Inter press conference and hissy fits on the pitch being emblematic of this.
4. Mancini Didn’t Build on FA Cup Success In 2011
Like Portsmouth in 2008, Southampton in 2003 and Millwall in 2004, Manchester City’s FA Cup run last season was supposed to usher in an age of success and preponderance.
And like the aforementioned clubs this has not happened to the surprise of many. That the trophy cabinet at Eastlands will be bare this season is shocking enough especially when you consider the fact that City were in the Carling Cup semi-final, had Europa League success firmly in sight, and held an eight point advantage at the top of the table.
5. The Squad Could Not Cope Without Yaya Toure or David Silva
City’s two best performers this season were Yaya Toure and silky-footed attacking midfielder David Silva, who, alongside captain Vincent Kompany carried the team for long spells.
However, once midfield general Yaya Toure jettisoned away to the African Cup of Nations before returning tired, David Silva’s form dropped.
Then the City defence collapsed in the wake of Kompany’s red card ban, thus lo and behold, it didn’t take long for the Citizens to collapse.
Now, whose fault is that?
Do you agree with the views above? Let In The Stands know what you think below…