EPL : Did the Man City announcement derail them?
Could the announcement that Pep Guardiola will replace Manuel Pellegrini have severely affected City’s progress and title challenge?
When Manchester City launched the current 2015-16 season with five straight convincing victories in August 2015, including 3-0 wins at West Brom and at the Etihad against defending champions Chelsea, they had everyone believe they possess all the attributes of champions. The tenacity and display of great footballing prowess confirmed them as the clear favourites to clinch a second league title in two years, having usurped the 2013-14 title from Liverpool’s noses.
Besides, prior to the opening day of the campaign, City had broken the bank not for the first time in bringing the quartet of winger Raheem Sterling ( 20) for close to 50 million pounds from Liverpool, forward Kevin De Bruyne (24) for 55,5 million pounds from Wolfsburg, midfielder Fabian Delph (25) for 8,63 million pounds from Aston Villa as well as centre back Nicolas Otamendi (27) for 33,45 million pounds from Valencia.
This was bolstering of squad which already possess world class stars like City ‘s most consistent goal-scoring machine Sergio Aguero ,who scored 26 goals in the league last season in 33appearances and already has 14 in 18 this season, Spanish midfield wizard David Silva, African footballer of the year for 4 consecutive years from 2012-15 Yaya Toure, Belgian centre back Vincent Kompany as well as English no1 goalkeeper Joe Hart.
Yet still, City ‘s current campaign has been a start ,stop one for most of the season, suffering severe denting beginning with the 2-1 loss to West Ham at home on 19 September 2015, reaching pick with the 4-1 hammering at White Hart Lane on 26th of the same month as well as taking further knocks with loses away to Stoke and Arsenal in December. The fresh wound from Liecester’s 3-1 stabbing on Saturday has added to more doubt on City’s title credentials, amid the premature official announcement mid-season of the hiring of the much publicised Pep Guardiola to take over the hot-seat end of the season.
The announcement, on its own, put to bed a whirlwind of rumours concerning the most decorated current Bayern Munchen and former Barcelona manager with 20 trophies to his name.
Could, therefore, this announcement have severely affected City’s progress and title challenge?
The answer to this question lies above, and more….
While many sections may argue that indeed City’s wheels have fallen off with the announcement of Guardiola as the next manager for the club,and maybe even before with all the speculation surrounding the debacle. They site insecurities current boss Manuel Pellegrini had over his job and subsequent his axing filtering onto the attitudes of players on the playing field.
However ,in a statement released by City on the announcement of Guardiola , it was reiterated that “Manuel Pellegrini,who is fully supportive of the decision to make the communication, is entirely focused on achieving his targets for the season ahead and retains the respect and commitment of all involved with the leadership of the club.” This suggests Pellegrini himself has already came to terms with his departure, and perhaps most important for his future prospects would be great results, a dream title sending off such as his predecessor Guardiola enjoyed at Barcelona and remains on course at Bayern.
City’s woes did not begin with the Guardiola news, they are deeper. Injuries to key players like Augero who has missed 7 league games already, Silva who is set to miss this weekend clash with Spurs and already missed 8 league games this season as well as Kevin De Bruyne who is still nursing knee injury .
Of particular note is the absence of Kompany in the heart of their defence for most of the season, featuring only in 9 league matches. In his absence, City has shipped in too many goals in vital games as the problems in their central defence pairings have often been exploited. The combinations between Elliaquim Mangala, Nicolas Otemindi and Martin Demichelis has been suspect in games City has lost this season, including the weekend loss to Liecester, 2-1 Loss To Arsenal and 4-1 capitulation at Spurs.
These losses have done enough to dent morale and prove to fellow teams in the league that City are beatable, any day ,anywhere, even in their own fortress, and that the Pep talk did too little, if anything at all in contributing negatively to their progress this season.
Manchester City is solely responsible for their own demise. Their rise from the mire they find themselves at number 4 on the log to seriously challenge for the title depends on them too, beginning with the Spurs test this Sunday 14 February. They remain on course in 4 different trophies trophies including the Champions League, League, FA Cup and Carling Cup.
Manchester City’s next 6 fixtures in all competitions
v Tottenham Hotspurs EPL (home) 14 February 2016
v Chelsea EPL (away) 21 February 2016
v Dynamo Kiev CL (away) 24 February 2016
v Liverpool CC final 28 February 2016
v Liverpool EPL (away) 2 March 2016
v Aston Villa EPL (home) 5 March 2016