The club which made the most headlines at the end of last season is making the least this season and sometimes for the wrong reasons. With the race for the title already done and dusted a few weeks back, the focus of the League currently lies on the intense battle for Champions League qualification and the unpredictable scuffle to avoid the last relegation spot which has no fewer than seven clubs involved. Both these fights will no doubt go down to the wire and hog the Premier League news till the last day of the season. The only solace for Manchester City this season might be the FA Cup but going by their current form, an upset by Wigan in the finals is not unthinkable.
The lesser successful of the Manchester clubs, City was the toast of last season where their heroics helped them to prise away the title from United in virtually the last minute of the season. City also played consistently on par with United last season and had a sense of vigour and urgency in their performances. They were also ruthless in scoring goals, the most memorable of which came against their biggest rival at Old Trafford. City’s current form is in stark contrast to last season’s when they fought tooth and nail in every contest, be it a win, loss or a draw and finished the season with 6 consecutive league victories. This season it almost seems like City’s players have given up playing to their potential and manage to shine only on occasion, like in the match against United at Old Trafford where they played for pride and won 2-1.
THE AGUERO, SILVA FACTOR
The Argentine striker Aguero was City’s top goal scorer last season but injuries beset his playing time and form this season. City’s mean lineup of football stars did not step up when needed and there were only glimpses of their form on offer, like Nasri’s sudden dazzling display against Newcastle in a 4-0 romp. David Silva was the League leader in assists last season but like Aguero his performances too have been impacted by injury. Aguero and Silva were at the heart of City’s amazing results last season and they have been sorely missed this time around.
As City continues to meander towards the end of the season, they will have to start answering critical questions about everything that went wrong and start planning for the next campaign where it is certainly not going to get easier for them. Talks of star transfers to Chelsea and United and Arsenal’s potential war chest coupled with Tottenham’s growing consistency will no doubt increase the level of competition in the league and City’s stale form and internal troubles (between player and manager) would certainly scrape them off the cream of the EPL if they continue to be erratic. They might have the finances to buy their way to success again but like United, they need to attain the stability and attitude for consistent and sustained accomplishments at the highest level.