Mancini left to search where it has all gone wrong
It is a wonder that in the space of just weeks, a whole season appears to have disintegrated for arguably the two most attractive sides in the league.
City now find themselves a lengthy eight points behind Manchester United, a margin they themselves—even in their pre-Christmas pomp—were unable to fashion.
Meanwhile, Spurs' more hopeful title aspirations have also evaporated. Alarmingly, their chance of finishing in the top four has narrowed almost as much as their formation has since the continued omission of a fully fit Aaron Lennon.
Could there still be enough time for Roberto Mancini and Harry Redknapp to slide deep enough for their positions to be questioned? The latter may find himself in the England job, having been let go by his employers.
Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger must be chuckling to themselves. Both appear, for now, to have won their most intimate duels, silencing their noisy neighbours.
While City already seem condemned to their punishment as runners-up—a position that is still an improvement on last season—Tottenham’s fate has yet to be sealed.
Of themselves, Chelsea and Newcastle, they are the least equipped to finish inside the top four—and for a second season running too.
Luka Modric, Gareth Bale, Emmanuel Adebayor and Redknapp are already being sounded out by more elite institutions.
The Etihad hot seat may yet still burn Mancini. Revolting players guilty of, well, revolting actions, still linger and questions will be asked following their manager’s vocal reprimands, which crucially he has not executed.
City’s time, it seems, is still to come, though Ferguson took longer to get to grips with Jose Mourinho and the Chelsea revolution, which was eventually toppled.
Tottenham’s time may never come again—their beauty appears only skin deep.