Now its time to review the fortunes of three more clubs Man City, Newcastle and Sunderland. All can look forward to drama with one being the potential Champions, another striving for that wonderful European land and the other just trying to stay afloat. We start with the former champions:
Roberto Mancini achieved a mediocre everything : results , table placings and Champions League campaigns that often ended in tatters. Yet it became clearer and clearer that many sections of the press admired this rather impatience and often sulky looking individual. The reason for this is that he made good copy : rows with strikers Balotelli and Tevez, constant battles with the board and very public displays of displeasure . City in the end had had enough of dealing with all the fall out and went for the opposite man, Manuel Pellegrini a wiry, cool and slightly quiet character.
City at home have been in blistering form, knocking goals in for fun and they have the personnel to continue their impressive 100% home record. Away the Etihad they have been less than clinical or even effective. This is a worry because you can’t win the league with poor away form. Winning the title is all about going to places like Stoke and grinding out a one nil victory not putting sixes and seven’s passed Norwich at home. If they are to win the league Pellegrini has to start to put a run together away from Manchester. With all the money that the owner has lavished on them they should be winning trophies .
Pellegrini has been a cliché because he has been breath of fresh air. The calm has returned to a typically turbulent club. Now the board just need stability. Club politics is a dirty thing that can see the death of football clubs and City certainty do not want that.
Newcastle have been impressive and solid they now how to cause a stir an invariably they do from banning the local press , to sacking perfectly decent managers yet this seasons football is threatening to be a welcome distraction from all the other distractions. They are looking to finish as high up the table as they can and they probably will finish in the top eight.
This is the club who can go to Old Trafford and win and also beat the likes of Jose Mourinho lead Chelsea. They are a fit club with a real work rate and this becomes increasingly important as any season progresses. Fitness is a good quality in a squad. There is no doubt that this season will be regarded as a success for the most Northern club but there are still a number of key problems for this club to iron out if they are going to make the next step into Champions League contention.
Firstly as was mentioned earlier banning the local press is silly and naïve act to commit. The readership of your local press is likely to consist of the vast majority of your fan base so it is bizarre that Newcastle wants to inflict such bad PR on themselves. PR is an essential part of the modern world and image is often more about just the persona it’s about integrity. Getting a good a press in the local media is not rocket science: charity days , fan days and school days are just three ways of getting good PR. It just seems that at the moment that good results are not seen as being nearly enough to satisfy a particularly fan base. If a set of fans think that their club is already poorly run giving them yet more ammunition is madness. Newcastle’s board will need to get back to basics if they are to get to the bottom of this one and it will need to happen fast.
Pardew is not a popular manager, when a big job comes up like a Liverpool or Chelsea his name is never mentioned for the role. This doesn’t need to be puzzling for one thing he doesn’t seem to be the most inspiring of people and secondly he is quite arrogant and employers don’t really like arrogant employees. Pardew a couple of seasons was named Manager of the Season perhaps it’s time we gave this guy some credit after all he is a rare phenomenon and that’s English manager pushing towards the top of the Premier League…
A poll conducted at the beginning of the seasons asking fans whether Paulo Di Canio would last the season would of overwhelmingly voted no. And so it was that they were bottom and a new man last seen at Brighton was brought in. In truth Sunderland should of just appointed Di Canio on a short term basis but they fell for the estranged Italian and they fell head of heels and that was a big mistake. Poyet is not known for being a passive character when it comes to management and while he might not be as dictatorial as his predecessor , it seems a risk to appoint someone with a similar management style.
When you glance at the table it’s not easy to pick the three clubs that will depart to the Championship this spring. Pulis has brought experience and hope to Palace, Cardiff have a new manager and Sunderland have just reached a domestic cup final. Cup runs do one of either two things to a club, either they make them sink or swim. It is not known how Poyet will fair but maybe he should be given till a month after the transfer window has shut before fans should begin to consider his value. Poyet has got potential but potential often meets its match in the Premiership and divorce lawyers often begin to lick their lips pretty quickly when it begins to go South. Poyet will have done a solid job if in six months he is manager of Sunderland and they are in the top tier of English football.
Even if Sunderland do go down that will not be the end and they will be back and probably by the end of next season they would have won the Championship. The fan base is key and that will not dwindle. Good luck Sunderland!