City are all out of GAS – Man Utd 4 Man City 2

There once lived a very clever man who was nicknamed the Engineer. His real name was Manuel and he made ‘machines’ – but not just any old machines – Manuel’s machines won cups and were acclaimed as Champions.

He was a scholar and a gentleman. He travelled to different continents and often he created machines where the whole was greater than the sum of its parts.

Standing alone - Manuel and his City team have had a bitterly disappointing campaign. Courtesy@MCFC

Standing alone – Manuel and his City team have had a bitterly disappointing campaign. Courtesy@MCFC

He forged a good reputation as he travelled and worked in his native South America. He broadened his horizons and came to Europe, to Spain. Once there, the highly educated, grey-haired Chilean continued to construct machines that over performed.

Then one day he was invited to England by some extraordinarily wealthy men from Arabia. They handed him lots of shiny components – some of the finest he’d ever had at his disposal – and asked him to build the best machine of his career.

Once acclaimed and now under fire. Manuel desperately wants his City side to start winning again.Courtesy@MCFC

Once acclaimed and now under fire. Manuel desperately wants his City side to start winning again.Courtesy@MCFC

He inherited a set of seemingly reliable parts, supplemented by some new and expensive elements, but it was never clear if Manuel had selected them himself.

At first all went well. Manuel’s machine ran smoothly, albeit there were a couple of hiccups when it first started up. It purred to perfection through the cold temperatures and wintry conditions, before emerging into the spring and being acclaimed as the best in all the land…if not all the world.

Pellegrini passion - hot Chilean Manuel enjoys that winning feeling win. Courtesy@MCFC

Pellegrini passion – hot Chilean Manuel enjoys that winning feeling win. Courtesy@MCFC

But trouble wasn’t far away. Most of the gleaming new parts quickly became tarnished and even those that were thought to be ultra-reliable, started to malfunction.

And then, the worst thing that could happen did happen…the machine ran out of gas, but not just any old gas.

This ‘GAS’ was primed for a ‘twin-stroke’ engine based on both physical energy and mental attitude. It was fuel to make the parts function; passing, tackling, shooting and heading the ball.

Even more importantly, G.A.S. was an abbreviation for a part, fundamental to enhanced performance levels.

Does Yaya have any GAS left to give to Manchester City? Courtesy@MCFC

Does Yaya have any GAS left to give to Manchester City? Courtesy@MCFC

It was known as Giving A Shit and too many of Manuel’s pieces simply didn’t and still don’t.

Sadly, the story-telling has now turned into a tale of never ending nightmares as Manuel’s Manchester City side stuttered and stumbled to a fifth consecutive away defeat, their fourth in the league.

A disappointing season is rapidly descending into a disastrous campaign, one that could become even worse if Liverpool or Southampton can catch and overhaul City for the final Champions League berth.

Such a scenario was unthinkable just a few weeks ago.

Dynamic duo - David & Sergio had Chelsea on the ropes. Courtesy@MCFC

Dynamic duo – David & Sergio had Chelsea on the ropes. Courtesy@MCFC

City were still vying for the Premier League title in a head-to-head tussle with Chelsea – a Chelsea team who had been at City’s mercy on January 31st as Jose Mourinho parked his bus at Stamford Bridge during the 1-1 draw.

Yaya Toure and new £25m signing Wilfried Bony were returning from successful African Cup of Nations duty with the Ivory Coast, and Pellegrini’s defending champions would kick on.

At least there was an FA Cup final appearance and an assured Champions League spot to cling on to when Mancini’s City meekly surrendered the title in 2013. Not so this time around.

Yaya joy - Ivory Coast skipper Toure lifts the African Cup of Nations. Courtesy@MCFC

Yaya joy – Ivory Coast skipper Toure lifts the African Cup of Nations. Courtesy@MCFC

Manuel’s machine – if indeed it ever truly was his – has gone kaput.

This derby day reversal – more than any other setback this season – emphasised the alarming rate at which City’s superiority has been eroded. To allow, what at best is an average to mediocre, Manure to score four goals is shameful.

To play so poorly as to make microphone head Fellaini look unplayable and, God help us, Ashley ‘Dive Dive’ Young win the Man of the Match, is criminal.

'Sergical' strike - Sergio notched up goals 99 & 100 in City's colours. Courtesy@MCFC

‘Sergical’ strike – Sergio notched up goals 99 & 100 in City’s colours. Courtesy@MCFC

There’s a deeply disturbing malaise that afflicts City, and has done for some time now, and it was captured perfectly in the immediate aftermath of Sergio Aguero’s second goal of the game – remarkably his 100th for City in just 158 games.

When retrieving the ball from De Gea’s net, City showed all the urgency and fighting spirit of a sloth on Valium. Yes, they were still two goals adrift at 4-2, but United had been reduced to 10 men and City had nothing to lose.

What stopped them racing back to the centre circle, sticking the ball on the spot and hastening Manure’s kick off? What prevented them swarming all over the hitherto coasting, confident Reds, with a tenacity to unnerve the Trafford troglodytes?

Farce and fracas - City totally underperformed after going 1-0 up at The Swamp. Courtesy@MCFC

Farce and fracas – City totally underperformed after going 1-0 up at The Swamp. Courtesy@MCFC

What indeed?

There’s been plenty of fighting talk from City players at various key stages of the season, but that’s all it has ever been – rhetoric, empty words, from shallow vessels.

It’s one thing losing a Manchester derby, but it’s quite another when those in red show more hunger and desire than those in sky blue – supposed champions who were on the ropes, needing to dig deep and draw on reserves of grit, determination and ultimately, quality.

No impact - Nasri came on as a 2nd half substitute to no avail. Courtesy@MCFC

No impact – Nasri came on as a 2nd half substitute to no avail. Courtesy@MCFC

It’s quicker to say which players should be retained by City in 2015/16, rather than those who should go – how on earth can that be so?

Arguably only Hart, Silva and Aguero have earned the right to stay. A worrying dilemma is will Sergio want to if, as expected, Real Madrid come calling.

Kompany has had a shocking season, but deserves the opportunity to put things right, once fully fit and refreshed next season.

Similarly, living legend, Zabaleta has had full backs turn him inside out more times than Bear Grylls’ underpants on a survival expedition, but he too must be given a shot at redemption.

Who's the Daddy - proud new father Pablo has endured a difficult season. Courtesy@MCFC

Who’s the Daddy – proud new father Pablo has endured a difficult season. Courtesy@MCFC

Bony hasn’t had chance to get going in a City shirt, so can’t be tainted with the same brush as the majority of the squad. Other than that, City could try trading the rest!

Under the blessed ownership of Sheikh Mansour, Manchester City have come a very long way in a relatively short period.

In seven years City have been dragged back from the precipice and the threat of actually going under, and rewarded with two Premier League titles, a brace of domestic cups and four consecutive years of Champions League competition.

Sheikhdown time - City owner Sheikh Mansour and Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak have to sort City out this summer!

Sheikhdown time – City owner Sheikh Mansour and Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak have to sort City out this summer!

But, if they fail to find some way of harvesting 13 or 14 points from their last half-a-dozen fixtures, they could be dumped into the ignominy of Thursday night and Sunday afternoon football in 2015/16, far away from Europe’s elite.

Pellegrini has to arrest the slide. He has to at least find some kind of spark to drag his dysfunctional machine over the Premier League finishing line in fourth place, as a worst case scenario.

The fans aren’t privy to what goes on inside the walls of the hallowed City Football Academy. Rumours dribble out of discontent among senior players, frustration at formations and boredom at repetitive training sessions.

Commitment & passion - a rare showing of both from Edin Dzeko this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Commitment & passion – a rare showing of both from Edin Dzeko this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Alternatively, there’s a bad attitude among prima donna players who can’t, or won’t, adapt to Pellegrini’s style of play. Has Manuel ‘lost the proverbial dressing room’ – surely the CFA isn’t that difficult to navigate?

‘You don’t become a bad side overnight’ is often heard by those seeking to defend what has become the indefensible.

It has only marginally more credence than a misguided phrase that used to be applied to Man City teams of yesteryear, ‘They’re too good to go down’ – and we all know how that turned out on numerous, painful occasions.

It all going so well - City players celebrate Sergio's opening goal in the derby - his 99th for the club. Courtesy@MCFC

It was all going so well – City players celebrate Sergio’s opening goal in the derby – his 99th for the club. Courtesy@MCFC

It was the self deprecating humour of old that had wags lauding the fact that City were ‘Staying up’ after the excruciations of The Swamp.

The days of comparing modern day billion dollar City, to the darkest days of life in the third tier English, are long gone.

It’s a totally different ball game, but how has it come to pass that the squad has the oldest average age in the Premier League and is stacked with City slackers?

Forget the excuses of UEFA Financial Fair Play, City have still squandered £150m in under two seasons. If spent more prudently, City wouldn’t find themselves overloaded with second rate players, clearly unable to sustain success and kick on.

Welcome to stay - Joe and Frank - Hart will remain as Lamps jets off to New York City. Courtesy@MCFC

Welcome to stay – Joe and Frank – Hart will remain as Lamps jets off to New York City. Courtesy@MCFC

Off the field, City has evolved and, crucially, sustained the upward curve of business success, but such a major on pitch rebuilding exercise will come as a big and unexpected blow.

Taken in isolation, one derby defeat in five isn’t the end of the world, even if felt like it on Sunday evening.

The real problems arise if defeats and gutless showings become the norm.

Blowing up - Manuel needs half-a-dozen of the best to try and salvage something from this campaign. Courtesy@MCFC

Blowing up – Manuel needs half-a-dozen of the best to try and salvage something from this campaign. Courtesy@MCFC

Having lost five away games on the bounce, it’s beginning to feel that way so Manuel and the ‘tools’ at his disposal had better get in gear, floor the accelerator and hit the GAS…before it’s too late.

By David Walker @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu


  1. April 13, 2015  6:40 pm by Doug Reply

    Well written as usual David. The commitment of the team has gone as you write. Main responsibility has to be manager and his coaches. However the Directors are culpable. They should have been investing on the future. Their decisions have been woeful. Signing up on long term contracts players last summer has come back to bite them on the proverbial and add to that very poor buys last summer (can't blame all that on FFP). My one concern is if Sergio decides he wants out. The season we have gone back 4 or 5 years hell of a lot of building now needed.

    • April 13, 2015  7:19 pm by David Walker Reply

      Not only do we possibly need a new manager with fresh ideas and a different perspective, we need to trust said manager with a sh*tload of money in the transfer market. I wouldn't trust Txiki with another cent after the past two seasons. It's a big big job to buy the right players and get them to gel as a team asap. Equally, a new manager might - just might get more out of some of this squad, but some players are now beyond redemption. Time to go. I just hope we can get decent fees or trades for those players that teams know we want to offload for negative reasons. I hope we have the resources available under FFP. Alternatively tell UEFA to screw themselves and spend big and secure the Premier League. The obvious problem then is attracting players if we're not in the Champions League, albeit that could still conceivably happen if the last few games go pear-shaped. A legal challenge to FFP has to come - whether we're backing Dupont behind the scenes is unclear - but we have to challenge it, sooner rather than later. Thanks for commenting.

  2. April 13, 2015  6:44 pm by Lee Simpson Reply

    Well Mancini looked the bad guy ,geeing the players up and telling them when they fell short !! Maybe it wasn't all mancini's fault and he had a point .

    • April 13, 2015  7:23 pm by David Walker Reply

      Mancini had issues that went beyond results and performances. With Roberto and Manuel we seem to have gone from Bad Cop to Good Cop. What we may well need next is an authoritative cop who takes no nonsense from prima donna players. Ship out the cliques this summer and start afresh with those worth keeping. Sheikh Mansour has said he's in it for the long haul - I think we're about to find out the levels of commitment required to rebuild a team and squad that should never have been allowed to fall into this sorry state.

    • April 13, 2015  11:18 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

      And even TOUCHE..

  3. April 13, 2015  6:44 pm by Chris Williams Reply

    Our run of poor coincided with the mid season break to the Middle East followed by a defeat to Boro. Since that point we have been very poor. Certain players don't appear to be playing to the best of their ability and we all know who they are. In my opinion we need a clear out in the summer Yaya, Nasri, Dzeko, Kolorov, Jovetic, Demi, Sagna, Guidetti, Milner etc... Need to go that should pocket around £120M & with the new TV plus transfer kitty we should have £220M at our disposal. Now again my opinion, I no not shared by many, Pellegrini because of the success he delivered last season deserves the chance to put it right.

    He can wheedle out the trouble makers in the camp and start a fresh next season with his freshened up squad.

    • April 13, 2015  7:26 pm by David Walker Reply

      I think it all depends on if enough players of worth have faith in the manager. I've been rooting for MP for a long time, but he isn't without culpability with naive formations and predictable tactics. Pep or Ancelotti are big enough for the task...there aren't many out there. Time will tell.

    • April 13, 2015  11:06 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

      Come on now. I have seen no lack of effort from Jovetic, Sagna, Milner (who we would be mad to let go for a shed load of reasons) or di Michelis.

      • April 14, 2015  9:09 am by David Walker Reply

        Milner will be leaving for his own reasons. He cites playing time which is a fair point, but I cannot help think that £10m in his pocket might be of some influence in his thinking - and who can blame him? No transfer fee means there's a lot of money slushing round for James in any summer move. Sagna has been ok when called upon. whereas Jovetic flatters to deceive with his hyperactive levels, sadly often channelled in the wrong direction. Demichelis should stick around on his one-year deal for his experience and calming ways.

  4. April 13, 2015  7:39 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Greater article Dave & I agree with every word. Can cope with losing but were was the pride were was the passion, sad to say utd wanted it more why I wish I knew. MP has to take his share of the blame I fear he has run out of ideas & lost some of the players. For me he should of fallen on his sword by now, get Vieira in for final games see if he can get something out of players. As for the players some of them should hang there heads in shame we definitely need a good sort out in summer.

    • April 13, 2015  8:15 pm by David Walker Reply

      It's a tough call when we're not privy to all that goes on, but sure as hell some of these players need to go - maybe the manager and the Director of Football...but keep Rose the Tea Lady - she's ace ;-)

  5. April 13, 2015  7:53 pm by Chris Williams Reply

    Players didn't want to play for Mancini now two seasons on they don't want to play for Pelligrini, so every couple of years we have to get rid of the managers because certain players spot their dummies out ? I say get rid of the trouble makers who are trying to poison the others.

    Agree with his stubbornness on the formations and tactics very frustrating at times, but he won us the double in his first season, even the best Managers don't win Trophies every season. I say give him another season to try and turn it around.

    • April 13, 2015  8:17 pm by David Walker Reply

      Fair comments - more than fair - especially in respect of the omnipresent factor with two managers e.g. rogue players who undermine the team ethic and team spirit. This has to be the summer to get shot of the lot.

  6. April 13, 2015  8:01 pm by carole Reply

    Superbly written piece Dave...congratulations!
    None of us truly know what is going on behind the scenes, As you say, rumours dribble out. You mention boredom, repetitive training sessions ( think that was put about our friend Neil Custis! ) frustration at formations....
    But I doubt any of that is true. I have heard that there is NO frustration with the manager or his tactics. Pellegrini has NOT lost the dressing room. Furthermore, he is hugely respected, even 'loved', by his players....
    The man is a superb coach and the football he has played both here and in Spain, where he commands massive respect, has been brilliant. But we shouldn't forget that he IS only the coach....not an old-fashioned Fergie type manager. He has to work with a DOF. But that is the norm for him...and unlike Mancini, he would never expect to dictate who stays or leaves or comes into the club. He and Txiki are said to get on very well and I'm sure he is consulted on everything...but I doubt he has the final say. HE doesn't wield the power at Manchester City.

    So if all is well with players and manager, what started the current malaise? Could it be traced back to the end of December/early January....following a wonderful spell over the Christmas/New Year period which led to Manuel being voted MOTM.... when certain players were informed by the powers that be that they would be moved on in summer?
    Could it be that neither those involved, nor their team-mates, were happy about it.... and that unease and resentment set in for the rest of the squad? This group have grown up together, developed a winning mentality, most have been together for years now. There's a bond there...they've been together thru the best and the worst of times...hurt one and you hurt them all.
    One thing's for sure. If you are among the players whose number is up, why should you give a damn about what happens to this club? Where is your motivation when you know you'll be moving to Italy or Spain in a couple of months' time? That the club have given up on you?
    Once the downward spiral begins, it's hard to stop. Everyone's unsettled, confidence oozes away. It gets even worse when the names of the unwanted find their way into the tabloids and are there for all the world to see...then there's Twitter of course,

    Bit hard for a manager, even a loved one like Pellegrini, to turn back the tide, isn't it?
    Just my speculation Dave......for what it's worth.

    So what has caused our fall from grace? Why the loss of form and lack of motivation?

    • April 13, 2015  8:21 pm by David Walker Reply

      Not quite sure if you're first line is sarcasm or sincerity - we do tend to have different opinions on our beloved City. Whichever it is, thanks once again for lending me your eyes. CTWD.

      • April 13, 2015  9:16 pm by carole Reply

        Wow, that hurts... a lot. I am truly shocked you'd think I wasn't being sincere. I thought the Pelle disfunctional machine theme was really clever and witty, a joy to read...
        I only came on to impart a bit of info I'd picked up about the feeling in the I wish I hadn't bothered. Goodnight Dave.

        • April 13, 2015  10:18 pm by David Walker Reply

          Hold on hold on - sorry for any misunderstanding - I simply didn't know if you were being ironic - the last thing I would want to do is cause you any offence. I always value your inputs and great knowledge on City, as well as your undoubted passion for the Club. I don't know how humble I can be in conveying my sincere apologies for my misinterpretation, or at least raising the propsect of whether you were taking the micky. Consider me duly admonished and hopefully you will do me the honour of returning with other feedback in the fullness of time.

  7. April 13, 2015  8:07 pm by kim Reply

    Love it David. Your comments spot on. Sad really to think how well it all seemed up to new year. How can things change so quickly. You don't just become a bad player or a bad manager their has got to be more to it. And as everyone keeps throwing out at us about our ageing players. Well our ageing players are only just a year difference in age than the brilliant champions that was last may. This I think is the dressing room . I don't know who the clique is or the prima donnas. But they along with whoever can't be bothered all need to go. CTWD

    • April 13, 2015  8:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      Admittedly I mentioned the average age aspect, but only to illustrate the lack of forward planning for the squad. If a player is 28,29 etc they should, theoretically, be at their peak in terms of ability and experience and certainly not ready for the Knacker's Yard! I have some intel on the cliques but it would be wrong to divulge in public, albeit it isn't rocket science. Hopefully the club can sort it out for the greater good in the summer and not serve the self interest of the few. Thanks for commenting Kim.

  8. April 13, 2015  8:48 pm by richard cooper Reply

    I has all been said by yourself and others.
    For 15 mins it was the usual derby day romp. Then we had to endure about 78 mins of carnage,
    At half time we were still in with a chance but the second half was unforgiveable -totally spineless -and everyone from MP to the team are culpable
    Please CIty - no more upbeat rhetoric, just do it on the pitch in 6 winable games

    • April 13, 2015  8:52 pm by David Walker Reply

      I hate to say it RC but I can actually see us dropping points to Villa at home, Spurs away and possibly Southampton on the last day. It's getting silly now!

  9. April 13, 2015  10:55 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

    There is no subtly about van Gaal’s teams, they operate a conveyor belt up the wings. Knowing this the dullard Navas should have spent the all day tracking Young and supporting Zabaleta. He did neither, preferring to spend the afternoon running around like a fart in a trance.

    The woefully out of form Kompany should never have started, but after 4 years he still has no adequate replacement (thanks Txiki). Toure after being cuffed by Fellaini, decided to withdraw his services, which at £2,000 a minute, takes the biscuit (short cake)

    What threats, what inducements has Pellegrini got up his sleeve to motivate his wafer thin squad, Bequeathed by the blundering Basque buffoon, Bergiristain.

    'Whoever incites anger has a strong insurance against indifference'.
    Philip Stanhope, 4th earl of chesterfield

    We saw precious little anger on Sunday, but lashings of indifference. No more mister nice guy Pellegrini, time for a Chilean earthquake.

    • April 13, 2015  11:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      LOL - I recall the headline in the Daily Telegraph 'Small earthquake in Chile - nobody injured' Almost as educational as Sky football commentaries. Good to have you back on board TT.

      • April 24, 2015  9:46 pm by Toby Teasdale Reply

        3 March 2015 Last updated at 22:26 GMT The Villarrica volcano in southern Chile has erupted, spewing ash and lava up to 1,000m (3,300ft) into the air.

        The power of positive thought.

  10. April 15, 2015  3:28 pm by Stephen Reply

    Nothing to add. Been off ill since sunday funnily enough. Shambolic 2nd half. Love zombie movies but yaya's strolling around like the undead brought no joy. Too often this season for to many. GAS is a great way to put it. Buy young n hungry and not wilshire or barkley as their price is for finished article which they are not. Gaya at valencia would be amazing signing but madrid will want him as well. Hughes at derby would be cheaper and could be a great player. It is not so much the age profile of squad but lack of hunger that I want to see change. No signings over 25 for a 2 yr period and I will fill car with diesel to drive Kolarov, sagna, yaya, jovetic and dzeko to airport if buyers can be found. Still CTID and supporting them has never been good for health as you bloody know all too well

    • April 16, 2015  9:51 am by David Walker Reply

      Hope you're on the mend fella. Interesting shout on the 25-year old limit - not a bad one, depending on who we are looking to bring in. We're 'handicapped' in some way that we have to buy homegrown to fulfil the necessary criteria, but we are where we are and, let's face it if we can succeed with a few Englishman it'd make a pleasant change. At least they won't be buggering off to the ACON in the depths of winter! As I've stated on social media, let's just concentrate on clawing back 3rd or 2nd position and then review who will manage us and who we want to play for us. I'd add Fernando, Clichy, Caballero and Navas to those you're driving to the airport. I'll pick up the tab for the mini bus. PS: I haven't forgotten about Zaba for your boy.

  11. April 16, 2015  6:39 am by goonermichael Reply

    You can't ket them finish above you.

    • April 16, 2015  9:44 am by David Walker Reply

      Funnily enough it was never part of our masterplan!

  12. April 17, 2015  4:08 pm by Philip Entwistle Reply

    Hi Dave, been away for a few days and just catching up on your Match analysis of the Derby, what F*******G Derby. No blood, sweat or tears from the players, only the city faitful.
    Banished by my wife to the kitchen cooking Sunday lunch for the second half as my swearing at our ineptitude was reaching fever pitch. With a RED living next door probably laughing his cock off it was the best afternoon I've spent for ages.
    I like your analogy regarding our MP the 'engineer', but with the General election due very shortly he will probably lose his seat if he doesn't give this team a much needed MOT and full service.
    Keep the Faith

    • April 17, 2015  5:12 pm by David Walker Reply

      Our sitting MP might even lose his desposit, but such is the web of intrigue surrounding who will be City's Manager in 2015/16, it would be foolish to write off the possibility that Manuel could yet retain his seat...if only to keep it warm for Pep. It's a right bloody mess, there's no denying, but if we can wheel and deal like never before in the summer and, most importantly buy wisely, we can be a real force next season. However, I wouldn't trust Txiki with my pocket change, let alone the Sheikh's millions. Cheers Phil, we still have least until someone pays the ransom demand for her ;-)

  13. April 17, 2015  6:50 pm by Stephen Reply

    Cheers Dave but son knows nothing about so do not be hassled. Recovering here. Lets be positive and expect our players to react positively and look to win every game til end of season. Ah the optimism that arrives on fridays!!

    • April 17, 2015  11:28 pm by David Walker Reply

      And sadly dissipates before Sundays or Mondays, depending of course when City are playing. If we can't beat West Ham then we may as well shut up shop, but we will only win if City's players adhere to the job description and be PROFESSIONAL! Rank amateurs of late, but still drawing £100k+ per week. Bloody disgraceful.

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