Last chance for Mancini’s Man City

Last chance for Mancini’s Man City

Last chance for Mancini’s Man City

There’s a bizarre wind blowing across the Etihad. Football’s nouveau riche side, Man City, is one match away from the European cold as the Citizens find it hard navigating through the continental waters. Only one point collected from their three matches so far is a grim statistic of a team fighting to be among Europe’s elite. Thoughts of being Barcelona equals now appear as a lazy old cliché still being paraded around.

Even though the Sky Blues were thrown into the murkiest of waters in the Group of Death, their journey wasn’t destined to end without a fight. Not that it may, but after an excruciating 3-1 away loss to Ajax Amsterdam, the team supposed to be the group’s battering rams, progress into the second phase of the Champions League or even Europa League appears as blind faith.

Roberto Mancini’s glitterati footballers were supposed to show their might, but a decent affair at the Santiago Bernabeu was quickly extinguished by Borussia Dortmund’s domination of Etihad, before Ajax reduced the English champions to rubble. That wasn’t the script, that wasn’t what Sheikh Mansour and Chairman Khaldoon had set out as their team’s objective.

Tonight, an injury-ravaged City Slickers face Frank de Boer’s side, not only with the intent to strike revenge, but with a mission to spare their season’s blushes. Micah Richards, Joleon Lescott, David Silva, Maicon, James Milner and Jack Rodwell are the casualty list, and after the 0-0 draw against West Ham over the weekend, it doesn’t bode too well for the Italian gaffer. He’s indebted to Joe Hart.

Underwhelming performances have highlighted the lack of cohesion in the team and a drop in form of key players. Sergio Aguero was a hitman last season, any shot he took seemed destined to find the back of the net. Yaya Toure was a juggernaut, his forward forays made him look like an unstoppable train. Carlos Tevez has always been a terrier, David Silva one of the best play makers. Lescott and Vincent Kompany were lynchpins last season.

All these now appear to be crawling into the book titled ‘History’. The former Inter Milan manager’s future is being called into question, what with news that a tactical master in Josep Guardiola i Sala is on the prowl, with the English waters appearing to be the Spaniard’s favored destination. But even before matters next season are discussed, it’s De Boer and his legend equal, Dennis Bergkamp, who look certain to steal the Italian’s thunder. Ajax will not be looking to sit back and soak in the pressure.

Is Roberto Mancini the best man at the helm of Manchester City? Are his tactics capable of striking a winning formula on the European front? The gaffer may be decrying his team’s inability to adapt to tactical changes, but if his four years at the San Siro are anything to go by, European heights will just be but a mirage.

Tuesday 6th November

10:45pm               Real Madrid – Borussia Dortmund, SS3

10:45pm               Schalke – Arsenal, Veltins-Arena, SS5

10:45pm               AC Milan – Malaga, Giuseppe Meazza, SS6

10:45pm               Man City – Ajax, Etihad Stadium, SS7

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