Manchester City: Mancini's Men Handle Arsenal Like They Want Manager to Stay

Phil KeidelContributor IIJanuary 13, 2013

To hear the Sun on Sunday tell it, Roberto Mancini is the dead man walking on the City sideline (as reported by

Pep Guardiola is returning to managing, and the story in the Sun on Sunday quotes "a top source in Spanish football" as stating definitively that "it is 100 percent certain that Guardiola is going to City this summer."

And yes, the report says "this summer." But Roberto di Matteo won the Champions League last spring, and then a brief run of bad form suddenly cost him his job at Chelsea. Ten points behind Manchester United entering play against Arsenal, Mancini's job security could not fairly be called "airtight."

In the face of that report, Mancini's men (for now at least) played at the Emirates like a side that wants to keep the old man around.

The Sky Blues had the better of play even in the short interval before the day turned dire for Arsenal on home turf. City ultimately claimed a 2-0 result through tallies from James Milner and Edin Dzeko.

Gunners fans will doubtlessly claim that the competitive balance of the match was unreasonably eliminated by referee Mike Dean, whose straight-red dismissal of Laurent Koscielny in the ninth minute left Arsenal with 10 men for more than two-thirds of the match.

Dean evened it up with an iffy red card against Vincent Kompany in the 75th minute, but despite a spirited Arsenal attack, once terms were evened up from a personnel standpoint, the Gunners could not breach Joe Hart's goal.

Like so many of the victories for City during Mancini's tenure, even the ones where the opposition does not score, City did enough to win, but probably not enough to convince anyone that Manchester United will be seriously threatened for the Premier League crown.

City looked shaky in the final act after Kompany was sent off, and only an excellent goal-line clearance from Kompany's replacement Joleon Lescott averted a late goal from Theo Walcott that would have made the last five or so minutes very nervy for the visitors.

With the victory, City broke a 37-year winless streak away to Arsenal, per the Daily Mail.

So in the face of another "it's the sack for Mancini" report swirling about the ground, Manchester City's players got their ever-embattled boss another crucial three points as the Sky Blues try desperately to keep United from running away and hiding at the top of the table.

And, presumably, Mancini lives to see another day on the sideline for Manchester City.