Are Manchester City ready to win the Premier League?
November 11, 2010 6 Comments
It has been just over two years since Sheikh Mansour bought Manchester City. Over 500million pounds and a ‘supposed’ World Class manager later, it comes as no surprise that last night’s Manchester derby was billed by Alex Ferguson as the most anticipated Manchester derby in recent times. It was supposed to be the chance for City to show the world that they were no longer the pretenders living in United’s shadow, that the power had shifted and that they were now ready to make a stance and go on and win the Premier League. Well that was yesterday and after a bore draw at Eastlands I was left thinking are City actually good enough to win the league?
If you were expecting end to end football played at a fast pace with the odd bit of handbags, Eastlands was not the place to be last night. Despite Tevez and Rafael trying their best to add a bit of spice to the event, ironically it was the Haye v Harrison advertising boards that were more interesting.
What surprised me about the game was Mancini’s choice of selection. At a time when United seem to be stuttering I really thought City, playing at home would take the game to them. This was their chance to show everyone that they can play good attacking football and really give United a pasting. So I leave myself asking, why did Mancini play 3 defensive midfielders in the middle? Judging by his post match interview it was because Mancini was happy to play for a draw. Despite the millions injected in to the club, it looks like Mancini doesn’t believe his team is good enough to win the title.
Other people may disagree, but I think when it comes to the transfer market Mancini has done as well as he can. To develop a side that can win the title you have to look at previous sides that have done so. Manchester United and Chelsea have dominated the Premier League in recent years and it is definitely these two teams that City must learn from. Despite the flair from abroad, both United and Chelsea have kept a ‘British core’. Whilst Terry and Lampard, are the spine of the Chelsea team Ferdinand, Scholes, Carrick and Rooney do the same for United. What both teams have done is, place flair players such as Ronaldo, Drogba, Malouda around the British players. Man City have tried to replicate this with their transfer policy. Whilst developing Hart in to a world class keeper, they have bought Lescott, Barry and Milner to act as a spine to the team in which they can add creativity to, from abroad.
Man City has also tried to place flair players around the ‘British core’. Tevez, Silva, Ballotelli, Bellamy and Adebayor have all been bought to add the spark to the team. However Man City’s status in world football has left them suffering where United and Chelsea have been able to prosper. Without the coveted Champions League football, Man City haven’t been able to bring the very top players they want. Despite knocking on the door of Kaka, Ronaldinho etc. they have all gone on to play for the European greats. This hasn’t stopped City recruiting talented players, but the aforementioned players all have one thing in common, they bring baggage with them, this is why they want to leave Arsenal, Man Utd, Inter Milan etc. Is it really a surprise when rumours come out of the City training ground that there has been a bust-up? Robinho, Bellamy, Adebayor, Toure, Tevez and Balotelli all have a reputation for being troublemakers with Jose Mourinho even calling Balotelli ‘the son of a wh**e’. Putting all these loose cannons in the same team is definitely going to hinder the dynamics of the group and ultimately be detrimental to the teams performance.
What City really need is to find the balance between discipline and flair just as Man Utd and Chelsea have done in recent years. This is why I feel Mancini opted to play three defensive midfielders against United because the so called flair players are to undisciplined to perform against the top opposition. To find that balance City have to be in the Champions League, without Champions League football they will only attract the best players who are unsettled at top European clubs or up and coming players from clubs without European status (i.e. Milner and Barry moving from Aston Villa).
As far as I’m concerned, without Champions league football, City will not win the league. Despite having a British core which I believe is essential to winning the Premier League, they lack talented players who also are willing to play as part of the team. They need the Champions league so that they can bring in the ‘next level’ of footballer to develop the side. By the ‘next level’ I mean top class players such as Ozil, Ronaldo, Messi and Iniesta. Players who are extremely talented but also have a level head. I think Mancini knows this and I think he will most definitely be setting his sights on the top four this season.
If City do make the top four, This time next year the answer to my question ‘Are Manchester City ready to win the Premier League?’ would be very different…or at least I would expect it to be.
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