Friday, January 13, 2012

Manchester City

There are a plethora of cliches with regard to teams holding their nerve in the second half of the season and it looks like 'Citeh' are about to start running into a myriad of articles with regard to theirs.

City had been unbeaten at home in an age until last Sunday and suddenly they have experienced two defeats in a week at the Etihad - admittedly both in Cups.

Some will point to the lack of Champions League and FA Cup fixtures as a boon for the run in, others will point to the loss of momentum and Thursday night Europa League fixtures followed by Sunday league matches.

Arsenal imploded last season after losing the Carling Cup Final and with Championship opposition awaiting, the return leg at Anfield is effectively the final for the eventual winner.

For City however, the bigger issue at hand is the characater of the team (and the manager) and how they cope with the loss of certain key individuals.

Last season it was all about Tevez, when he didn't play City didn't score. This season City have enjoyed far more dimension to their play yet they have become clearly reliant on certain individuals - as are all teams truth be told.

City's key performers and most influential players this season have been Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, David Silva and Sergio Aguero. Players such as Dzeko and Balotelli have had their moments but their form has been patchy and the likes of Nasri have disappointed.

As previously mentioned this does apply for all teams but the reality is that City are going to be missing both Kompany and Toure for several games including the upcoming clash with Tottenham. David Silva is currently back in Spain undergoing treatment for an injury leaving only Aguero from their band of four who is available and fully fit.

The going is about to get much tougher and for Mancini the pressure is already starting to tell with many references to how short of players he is which bearing in mind the money he has spent and his awareness of the African Nations Cup schedule sounds somewhat ridiculous.

It is time for City to dig deep now and for the supporting cast of players such as Savic, Barry, Milner and Johnson to prove their worth. City badly need to put together a sequence of wins to show the league that they have the nerve to collect their first title in a generation.

ManYoo will have players coming back from injury and they have the trump card of Ferguson's old head during the run in. Spurs have the hgue advantage of being rank outsiders with a squad supposedly inferior to the rest meaning they have the least pressure on them.

Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool are simply too far behind and the suspicion remains that Spurs will fold leaving it a straight fight between the Manchester clubs. City have the squad to win the league but the deciding factor could yet still be Ferguson - time for the City players to stand up and be counted - No Nonsense.