Wednesday, 17 March 2010

The Season So Far: A new writer at NotB

Notes from the editor: I just want to welcome John to the site. Probably the only Korean season ticket holder at City! Here's a brief review of the season so far...

Early Season

City looked to have an excellent transfer period. The signing of Premier League proven players, like Adebayor, Toure, Barry and Lescott, showed intent, that City wanted to be strong enough to challenge the 'Big 4' and at least the top 6. A bright start with consecutive wins (inc. Barca friendly and cup matches) without conceding a goal seemed to prove that City were on the right track. After 9 games, 8 wins and one loss, City seemed to have turned a corner in their development, the success had some people even dreaming of winning Premier league trophy.

But then disaster struck: they recorded 7 consecutive draws. The joint most consecutive draws in the league’s history to date. The most damaging factor was the standard of opponents faced at home, minnows such as Burnley, Fulham and Hull, the result were simply not good enough . Yes, they were not defeats, but the performances were not good enough., surely every city fans will agree with that. The tactics were rigid, big signings didn't perform consistently and midfielders and defenders seemed not functioning. The defensive issue hadn't changed since Hughes took over, with vast investment, some improvement was needed! The result made the Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak and Garry Cook impatient and ultimately, the draw against Fulham forced them in to the process of recruiting a new manager.

The first target for the executive was Guus Hiddink, excellent manager with great track-records. Unfortunately, he was tied with Chelsea owner, Roman Abramovich so they moved on to their second choice, Roberto Mancini. The Italian jumped at the opportunity after a years break from the game, despite knowing that he wasn't their first choice. After some internet rumblings, the 4-3 win against Sunderland spelt the end of the Mark Hughes era and Mancini immediately took the charge.

New Era

Roberto Mancini; although clearly not their first choice, he has great CV, certainly better than previous incumbent. Winning the Scudetto 3 times and several domestic cups, Mancini record isn't a fluke, he has a good knowledge of English football and the game in general. It seemed to be a good appointment for a City team that wasn't functioning. Mancini enjoyed a good start, and changed the emphasis of the side from ultra-attacking side, to a very defensive set up. However, after the ‘honeymoon’ period, the result seemed to be slipping away from him, especially after crashing out in Carling cup and FA cup in space of 3 weeks. The win against Chelsea alleviated Mancini from some pressures in the press, but the match against Sunderland showed City require more improvements to become dominant force this season and secure that 4th spot.

So, will City get their holy grail? Will City change their manager if they we don't secure 4th? Is Jose on the way? Will Robinho ever come back to City? (probably not!)

... only time will tell.

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