Who is to blame for the Manchester City blue moon falling?
April 14, 2012 2 Comments
After the Premier League games on March 4th, Manchester City had a two-point lead over Manchester United and an 11 goal advantage in terms of goal difference. Now just over one month later, after their 1-0 defeat to Arsenal they found themselves eight points and two goals behind. Who is to blame for this though?
A lot of the attention over the last week has been around Mario Balotelli. There is no doubt that the circus that surrounds Balotelli does not help the team spirit or the harmony of the team when they are on the pitch. His constant neglect of his defensive duties was evident against Arsenal when his unwillingness to defend resulted in constant Arsenal pressure down Manchester City’s left hand side for the first 25 minutes on Sunday. His temper also lets his team down. Balotelli should have been sent off early on against Arsenal for a horrific tackle on Alex Song and of course has already been sent off against Liverpool earlier in the season and was lucky to get away with a cowardly kick out at Scott Parker in the home meeting with Tottenham.
There is no doubt though that Balotelli possesses ability. His record this season of 17 goals in 31 games in all competitions shows that he has potential and his calmness from the penalty spot is to be admired. However until he learns to control his temper and improve his team play he will always cost whichever team he plays for more points than he gains them.
The other player who must take a portion of the blame is Carlos Tevez. His record before the start of this season of 52 goals in 81 games for City was outstanding and his ability to create something out of nothing for himself or for his teammates made him one of the most feared strikers in the league. His refusal to warm up against Bayern Munich in the Champions League would once again have done nothing for harmony in the dressing room. His constant refusal to apologise whilst trying to engineer a move away from the club for the last 6 months would have left a bitter taste in his fellow player’s mouths whilst they were trying to win a title for the supporters.
The man who must take the most blame for city’s capitulation in the title race is Roberto Mancini. Whilst Balotelli and Tevez have both acted unprofessionally he is to blame for giving them both too many chances. Tevez should never have been allowed back in the dressing room after effectively going on strike for the majority of the season and after Mancini said he would never play again.
Mancini seemingly has no Plan B in his locker either. He is far too negative away from home and this has resulted in defeats against Arsenal, Swansea, Sunderland and Everton. Opposition teams have worked out that if you cut off David Silva’s space then Manchester City do not move the ball quickly enough to hurt you.
There is clearly no team spirit in the dressing room which also comes from the manager with players constantly arguing and bickering on the pitch with each other. This is the main reason why City have blown their chance at the title. Whilst even many Manchester United fans would admit City have better players, United are more of a team and have the winning mentality which comes from their manager.
The buck always stops with the man in charge and that is why Mancini may well find himself out of a job in just over a month’s time and City will need a new man to get the blue moon rising once again.
By Chris Newman