Ironically, City’s removal from all European competitions could be the catalyst to get their defense of the Premier League title back on track. With no midweek games in exotic locations like Bucharest, players should be fresher at weekends.
However, it is a sad state of affairs when positives are taken under the specter of grand failure.
In short—and to use an age-old football expression—this City side are not fit to lace the boots of Sir Alex Ferguson’s all-conquering teams from past Premier League seasons.
Manchester City have been dismal this season, and have only briefly showed the football world what they are capable of against relegation cannon fodder like Aston Villa and Sunderland. The mere fact they are still unbeaten this season (and sitting second in the table) says more about the current predicament Chelsea and Arsenal are in, rather than indicating that City are still a force to be reckoned with.
This weekend’s fixtures throws together the two great Manchester rivals in a contest that gives the hosts a chance to prove how determined they are to retain their title.
But, even with Ferguson up to his infamous mind games, many casual supporters are struggling to get excited about this encounter, instead saving their enthusiasm for the Old Trafford derby in April, by which time I fully expect City’s title defense to be all but over.
With Manchester City struggling to find a winning formula, it is no surprise to see most bookmakers expecting the game to end in a draw—an outcome that would only amplify the murmurs of discontent at The Etihad. The natives on the blue half of Manchester are getting increasingly restless, and who can blame them?
This current side are a shadow of the entertaining and explosive team we became accustomed to at the end of the 2011/2012 season.
If Manchester City do eventually secure the league title, they will probably be judged the worst Premier League winners in history—and that sentiment will be perfectly justified.
Too many tedious performances and distinctly average players—who, frankly, have no place in an elite Premier League team—adds up to a side who do not deserve the accolade of winning back-to-back titles.
Since the Premier League’s inception in 1992, England’s top-flight has witnessed some truly awe-inspiring teams crowned as worthy champions. If City are successful come May, they could be the exception to the rule.