They say a week in politics is a long time. Manuel Pellegrini is the ‘sitting’ MP in sky blue Manchester and, on the basis of the last seven days, he’s going to remain so for a long time to come after three landslide victories.
A fully qualified engineer before his election to numerous ‘seats’ in the world of football power, the present incumbent at the Etihad came to prominence based on a manifesto of open, attacking and attractive play.
There were some who doubted his credentials after a setback in front of a Welsh Assembly and a tough day on the road campaigning in the Potteries, but they have long since been silenced as an avalanche of ‘goalden’ votes ensued since September 17th.
In that time ‘The Engineer’ has seemingly sorted out any gremlins to achieve a well timed, smooth running, perfectly firing machine that threatens to frighten the life out of the opposition.
Two sets of champions and the FA Cup holders, have all gone into the metaphorical debating chamber with Sheikh Mansour’s elected representative, and all have been chewed up and spat out.
A dozen goals scored and just one conceded, progress in two cup competitions and the comprehensive annihilation of the outgoing English champions, is evidence aplenty that Pellegrini is adapting wonderfully well to the rigours of the domestic game. He’s already an accomplished performer on the European stage and long may that continue.
His team has systematically destroyed lager makers, manure producers and pie consumers with consummate ease and utter professionalism and every man, woman and child who supports Manchester City is loving it!
This 5-0 battering of the cocky pie eaters – who had the temerity to catch City on a bad day at Wembley in May – was further proof that the Pellegrini product has all the essential ingredients to deliver a cartload of silver in the coming months and years.
Barely 48 hours after smashing the Dark Side into submission, another debt of vengeance was duly served on the not so warrior-like element of Wigan’s sporting offerings.
Pellegrini’s selection showed 10 changes from the Massacre of Moyes’ Manure – 10 internationals and a ‘poppet’ of a player from Portugal, surely destined for the full international arena.
It was the appearance – and subsequent performance – of the Brazilian born, but Portuguese passport holding pocket dynamo – Marco Lopes – that perhaps delighted above all.
The youngster from City’s Elite Development Squad symbolises the long-term direction of the club, where talent will be nurtured in-house, complementing the financial muscle to go out and acquire the world’s finest footballers.
On a night where the goals flowed freely, the livewire Lopes was unlucky not to score and add to his debut goal against Watford in last season’s FA Cup run to Wembley – his only other first team appearance to date.
The 17-year old, City’s inaugural Academy Player of the Year last season, saw his first half shot ricochet off the underside of the bar as City poured on the pressure.
He bagged a brace in the UEFA U-21 League in Plzen last week and, make no mistake this young fellow is one for the future – probably the not-too- distant future. A good looking lad, his name will doubtless help a roaring trade in replica shirt sales in due course.
Wigan may boast a pier but they were all at sea from the outset and it was inevitable that when City scored it would signal the opening of the proverbial floodgates…and so it was.
A luscious pass lobbed over the erratic Wigan backline by Fernandinho, was met with great aplomb by Dzeko as his volley eluded valiant debutant keeper Lee Nicholls in the 33rd minute.
The main surprise of the evening was how Wigan survived just one down through to the interval.
It couldn’t last – it didn’t.
With Yaya Toure on as a half time replacement for Fernandinho, City moved through the gears of Pellegrini’s finely tuned opposition-wrecking machine.
The returning Micah Richards – skipper for the night – rampaged down the right flank supplying Stevan Jovetic to score as scruffy a goal as you are ever likely to see. Rather like Yaya’s knee-nudge in the derby – but who cares, they all count.
Speaking of the Ivorian colossus – Yaya – has been transformed back to his best since the return of Vincent Kompany, albeit the Belgian boulder wasn’t on duty in this game.
In what is rapidly becoming a wonderful trademark, Yaya lined up a 25-yard free kick to the left of the opponent’s goal and dispatched it into the net, circa Newcastle and then Hull.
His free kicks are proving as deadly as the now departed Mario’s penalties – oops – probably more so, now that bad boy Balotelli has finally missed a spot kick as he did against Napoli on Sunday – and been sent off into the bargain.
Jovetic’s second strike in sky blue was another close range affair, as he prodded home in the six-yard box after superbly tenacious left wing play by the often under-estimated James Milner.
The night’s festivities were crowned off in regal Spanish style with a Sevilla one-two, a Negredo pass releasing flying winger Navas down the right side as City’s ‘saviour’ advanced to smash a low drive past the now demoralised Nicholls.
Job done – high fives and Hawaiian pizza for the after-match carbohydrate booster…much tastier than flaky pies that crumble in the night!
This report is dedicated to Stacey White on her birthday – a true blue City lady who suffered the loss of her true blue husband, Mikey White late last year at a tragically young age. There are sky blue horizons ahead as the dark clouds begin to clear, albeit very slowly. Let’s hope that some how, some way Mike’s looking down and lapping up all the MCFC pleasures we are enjoying. The toast is ‘HAPPY BIRTHDAY’ & a rousing chorus of ‘MIKEY WHITE WHITE WHITE, MIKEY WHITE WHITE WHITE’. Love & Peace
By David Walker