Manchester City Loss to Everton Almost Guarantees Roberto Mancini the Sack

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Manchester City Loss to Everton Almost Guarantees Roberto Mancini the Sack
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Manchester City's 2-0 loss to Everton combined with Manchester United's tepid win over Reading means the Premier League title is almost guaranteed to go to the red side of Manchester in 2013.

For City, the capitulation of their title bid also comes with the sour note that Roberto Mancini's career with the Citizens is now on a very rocky footing. It would now come as no surprise to see him sacked and replaced during the summer.

Credit where it is due, last season, Mancini did fantastically well to guide City to their first league title in 44 years.

On the way to that elusive title, they played with the imagination, fearlessness, abandon and honesty that we associate with all great champions, and they deservedly won the league.

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This season, something has changed.

The same panache and vigour is no longer evident. City seem to be a team playing with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and their lacklustre performances are direct and irrefutable evidence.

Team and player performance has dropped from the levels expected and for this—the buck stops with the manager. His tactics, team selections and need to become involved in the off-field politics in the club have clouded his vision, not to mention his dreadful work in the transfer market. Since 2009, the Italian has signed 23 players for a combined fee of £269 million.

As result both Mancini's and his team have failed to deal with the expectation of defending champions.

Tactics are overblown, overthought and completely overanalysed in today's media, and in essence they come down to 11 honest men in a formation.

If this formation changes from game to game, or from situation to situation, the players begin to question their roles within the team, and as confidence is eroded, so too is performance level.

This is essentially what has gone wrong at City so far this season.

Momentum and rhythm have not built up and City are basically living from hand-to-mouth or from game-to-game. So far this season Mancini has changed the tactical setup of his team for almost every game and sometimes two or three times within one single game.

The perfect example of this with City is Mancini's constant insistence on switching to three at the back from his tried and trusted four at the back. In the end, this sends out mixed messages to the players, which results to tactical changes having as much chance of failing as succeeding. 

This lack of coaching consistency has affected both City's Premier League and Champions League campaigns. City are the richest club on the planet and won the Premier League in 2012. The very fact they were eliminated from the premier club competition in the world at the group stage is nothing short of the greatest embarrassment in world football.

In this table, using statistics from EPL Index, one can easily see where City have dropped off from the high standards they set last season.

EPL Index Stats

2011-12

2012-13

Goals Conceded

0.76

0.92

Ground 50/50s

50%

49%

Aerial 50/50s

54%

50%

Passing

83%

82%

Passing Forward

43%

34%

Def Zone Passing

93%

93%

Atk Zone Passing

78%

77%

Crossing

22%

24%

Shots on Target

48%

47%

Shot Conversion

18%

14%

Clear Cut Conversion

43%

36%

Points Per Game

2.34

2.03

These statistics clearly show a reduction in output from the entire Manchester City team from last season. 

When you consider that Manchester United will probably turn out to be one of the worst teams to ever win the Premier League, City's decline is even worse. 

This situation and degeneration from title challengers to also-rans seems to have split the dressing room in half at the Etihad. At the start of the season, Mancini became embroiled in a feud with Brian Marwood—Manchester City's ex-Football Administrator.

After one of City's latest defeats Mancini lambasted his players for their poor performances and then had another go at Marwood for not signing the players he wanted last summer.

He said: "When you are a top player you should take responsibility. It's not always the fault of the manager. The players should take the responsibility, if they have big balls. If not, they can't play in a top team."

Before ominously adding a remark for Marwood, "We did some mistakes in the summer and didn't improve our team."

When you go further and analyse Mancini's overall record as Manchester City manager you realise that City overachieved last season and are on par for his average finish this term.

As the Citizens manager his record reads as: PLD-125 Won-77 Draw-26 Lost-22 Avg. Points: 2.05.

Add this to his abysmal record in the Champions League with Inter Milan and City, where he obviously has a blind spot, and he is less than the manager this club needs to progress.

It is now patently obvious that Mancini is not the man to build a legacy to rival Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United. He has made too many basic errors to be regarded as a top-class manager and his team are suffering for it. They do not know how to play as champions.

In short, Manchester City's players have not shown the attitude, work rate or desire to defend their title. That comes from the manager. He has not given his good a proper structure throughout the season and their title bid has floundered.

Mancini is now the third favourite to be the next Premier League manager to be sacked behind Rafael Benitez and Sam Allardyce. Manuel Pellegrini is favourite to succeed Mancini at 9-2 with Jose Mourinho just behind him at 5-1. Carlo Ancelotti and Michael Laudrup are a distant 20-1 behind the Portuguese.

Mourinho is the man to bring the title back to the blue half of Manchester. He is the obvious choice to succeed Mancini. It would be more than interesting to see him link up with Txiki Begiristain considering the pair's relationship with Real Madrid and Barcelona, respectively.

He has succeeded Mancini once before at Inter Milan in 2008. Within two years he had improved upon the Italian's team and won Serie A in 2008-09 and 2009-10, the Coppa Italia in 2009-10 and then the Champions League in 2009-10 for an almost unprecedented treble.

If Manchester City want to show their fans real ambition and a desire to take their title back from Manchester United they need to capture Mourinho before he takes over from Ferguson.

The honeymoon is officially over; now City need to part ways with Mancini and replace him with Mourinho.

 

Click the link to read my assessment of Jose Mourinho as a manager.

Statistics provided by www.eplindex.com, www.soccerbase.com and www.premiersoccerstats.com

You can look me up on Twitter @WillieGannon

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