Manchester City: Mancini's Fatal Season Both Unforgettable & a Distant Memory
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While in real time the body is not nearly cold, the truth is that Mancini's tenure with Manchester City was dying by serial cuts from the moment after Vincent Kompany lifted the Premier League trophy on May 13, 2012.
Anyone who told Mancini then that he would not even finish the 2012-2013 season would have been mocked. Mancini was the toast of Manchester.
Now he is just toast.
It took an absurd number of little catastrophes to accumulate into the devastation that compelled City's braintrust to clip Mancini.
Sadly, Mancini's end was precipitated by events that preceded play in the new season.
The Italian insisted that an additional big-ticket signing (Robin van Persie, Eden Hazard or the like) was crucial to City's plans for Premier League and Champions League prosperity.
In response, management gave him Javi Garcia, Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair and Maicon.
None of them played a particularly significant minute for City. Unless you want to count Rodwell's September handball at Anfield which led to a Luis Suarez goal from the ensuing free kick.
The next and probably most devastating blow came at the Bernabeu.
Entering Champions League play as champions of England, expectations for City in Europe were lofty.
From there, City managed three home draws against three road losses—i.e., the hallmark of the bad football team—en route to failing not only to qualify for the knockout stage but even for Europa League play.
Fittingly, the Sky Blues followed up their Champions League pratfall by beginning to relinquish the Premier League crown to Manchester United five days later.
Robin van Persie's free kick winner (remember him?) was a coating of salt on the dagger to City's heart in the first derby.
After that loss, City trailed United by six points in the Premier League table.
City never seriously threatened to catch United after that; with two matches remaining, City is 13 points adrift, the title chase long since over.
Speaking of van Persie, it was his hat trick in United's win over Aston Villa that clinched Sir Alex Ferguson's last Premier League crown.
By then, of course, the wolves had already taken to circling Mancini.
Any thought that a second FA Cup in three years might save his job was quashed by a humiliating loss to relegation-threatened Wigan Athletic at the weekend.
Was it the right move? As usual, it probably depends on who you ask.
It is unlikely that players like Joe Hart, Vincent Kompany and Samir Nasri are too heartbroken today.
Mario Balotelli might also have had an opinion, but he is long since in City's rearview mirror.
Management's mind is clearly made up.
Perhaps today, plenty of City fans would like to have seen the manager stick around for one more try:
Here's the thing, though: today they care, maybe so do you.
Tomorrow, though, or maybe a few days after that, the new man will be introduced, and thoughts of Roberto Mancini sprinting around and madly celebrating City's only league title in 44 years will be as relevant as a leather-bound encyclopedia in the Internet age.
As difficult and memorable as Mancini's year (and his tenure) was, it already feels like a relic of the distant past in a football world where, with his firing:
Did you know? Mancini's sacking means managers who won 2011-12 Champions League, Prem Lge, FA Cup, Lge Cup & C'ship have all been dismissed— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) May 14, 2013
Some business, this.
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