As Blackburn Rovers became the latest in a long line of teams to be systematically dismantled at the Etihad Stadium on Wednesday night, a new word could be heard filling the Manchester air.
Just as the walls in the south west of the city could be heard echoing the word “treble” as Manchester United closed in on historic glory in 1999, so the word “quadruple” can suddenly be heard to the east in 2014.
Of course, it is far too early to be booking open-top buses, planning street parties and arranging the kind of ceremony that British football has never seen before, but what became clear from City’s 5-0 win in their FA Cup third-round replay against Rovers was that these players have the stomach to create history.
At what other club would you see dismay at a weekend injury to a player the quality of Samir Nasri completely and instantly washed away because a star such as Sergio Aguero was available again?
The Argentinean forward sat on the bench alongside players the quality of Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov and Martin Demichelis for 72 minutes before making a triumphant return to the first team in place of the red-hot Alvaro Negredo and scoring within 50 seconds for good measure.
Aguero, Negredo and Edin Dzeko alone are outscoring the vast majority of teams in England this season, so why don’t City target unprecedented glory?
They’ll now face another Championship club, Watford, at home in the fourth round of the FA Cup, another clash which will allow Manuel Pellegrini to rotate his squad and use plenty of his fringe players, with the young Welshman Emyr Huws introduced for the final 13 minutes.
However, facing the Hornets will mean that the Chilean boss will perhaps already be thinking about the fifth round, which takes place just three days before his side face their crucial first-leg tie against Barcelona in the last 16 of the Champions League.
A kind draw there could be essential, as City won’t want to be cast into a contest against one of their heavyweight Premier League rivals just a matter of hours before what could turn into the defining match of the Sheikh Mansour era.
Before the Rovers clash, Pellegrini’s talk of doing the quadruple gave the FA Cup a welcome ego boost at a time when it has been flagging in popularity, but surely both he and City’s fans will know that it lags last in the club’s list of priorities at the moment, having already secured their place in the Capital One Cup final―potentially an all-Manchester affair―with the 6-0 win over West Ham last week.
The second leg of that tie at Upton Park occupies the bottom spot on City’s list of priorities due to the emphatic nature of the first contest―although it seems wrong to call it that―but whoever plays there―and Huws and Marcos Lopes will certainly stand a chance―will have an opportunity to force themselves into contention for the Watford clash.
Pellegrini will still be focusing on the key members of his squad, though, and their number was swelled by Aguero’s welcome availability.
Whether or not the Argentinean has played himself into contention to start the Premier League clash against Cardiff on Saturday remains to be seen, but with talents such as Negredo and Dzeko around, his manager doesn’t need to rush him.
After getting 18 minutes and a goal under his belt, perhaps Aguero will be introduced a little earlier at the weekend with an eye on giving him around an hour or so against West Ham before the Watford clash.
Pellegrini has the luxury of time and of a top-quality squad, though, so he doesn’t need to rush into anything.
Can he and his multitalented squad go one better than their rivals and win a quadruple? Probably not.
But when you’ve got a squad this strong, then what’s the harm in dreaming?
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