With the final third of the season upon us teams are pushing to determine their final position in the league, vying for safety and qualification to Europe. Yet there seems to be a debate that every year grips the headlines that isn’t mentioned this year and that’s the title itself. It is as good as over now if you talk to anyone interested in football or listen to any pundit when probed on the subject. So we have to ask, what went wrong for Man City. Why couldn’t they really make a challenge for the title? Or are Man United just too good?
What’s been the difference between the two Manchester clubs? Are we really going to accept that Van Persie is the only difference? He has arguably been the best player in the Premier League this season but Man City have dropped as many points this season with 11 games left as they did all of last season.
It isn’t just Van Persie’s goals that have opened up such a lead for United at the top of the league but what’s wrong gone at City. While Ferguson picked and acquired his targets, Mancini was left frustrated and with his desire to bring in players, it left a bad yield to enter the city ranks. Would Champions of the Premier League really be massively improved with the purchases of Scott Sinclair, Jack Rodwell and Maicon? They are undoubtedly good players but they are not the quality that City really need. Not to fight off Manchester United to retain the title. There failure to sign their top targets meant that as their rivals felt galvanised for the new season, the city players had to pick up the weight of expectations again. Also with players like Nasri under performing its dangerous to have a lack of depth. Mancini’s attempt to bring a fight for places almost worked but as Man City played poorly, he was forced to bring in other players into the team to just put a decent team out.
Their lack of signings have a deeper issue off the pitch, which is a fragmented structure they had in place. They have started a restructure, which should aid them in rivalling the impressive behind the stage goings-on at United. Mancini’s frustration at the deal closing and work of Brian Marwood was very public and showed that where other teams would go and get their targets, City simply couldn’t and didn’t . If at the start of the new season they have signed the players that Mancini wants then maybe they’ll have a chance at the title but when two teams finish on the same points and only one team improves the team then the outcome is inevitable.
The issue with City trying to defend their title is that the Premier League tilt belongs to Fergie and every year you must attempt rip it from him. Every year you must come back stronger because that’s what Manchester United will do. Fergie views that title as his and its down to other teams to take it off of him and City haven’t done enough to warrant that. That is what Fergie brings to Manchester United but is Mancini good enough to rival and beat Ferguson on a regular basis? There are arguably better coaches out there who know how to win and the obvious name to put forward is Mourinho. He wants a job in the Premier League and has a sensational track record. Ferguson never feels any pressure over losing his job where as for Mancini it is another distraction to attend with. Maybe if he puts another title under his belt and perhaps picks up a few more bits of silverware this talk will go but expectations will always be huge whether he succeeds or not.
With this title as good as over, Mancini should have one eye on the summer and the next season. If he does lose his job then City need to move quick to bring the stability needed to throw everything they have in chase of success. With the unsuccessful summer spending of 2012 you can be sure that big names will move in and out of the blue part of Manchester. Mancini might be best to rule a line under this season, store it away somewhere it can’t be found and label it: ‘how not to beat Fergie:the learning years.’ However he sees this season, he will have to focus on next year now and play his part in what makes English Football so enthralling.