Manchester MP set to retain seat

A surge of blue swept to power taking political pollsters by surprise in last week’s General Election.

Nobody saw it coming and now, another incumbent MP with a sky blue hue, is set to confound the pundits by hanging onto his seat in his Manchester marginal constituency.

Going once, going twice...James Milner is odds on to leave City next month, but Manuel Pellegrini could be staying at the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

Going once, going twice…James Milner is odds on to leave City next month, but Manuel Pellegrini could be staying at the Etihad. Courtesy@MCFC

After months of speculation, berating from critics and trailing in the popularity stakes, it’s looking increasingly likely that Manuel Pellegrini will continue into a third year in ‘office’ or, more precisely, on the training ground at the City Football Academy and the ‘dug-out’ at the Etihad.

As a season that promised so much but delivered so little, draws to a conclusion, the chances of the dignified and affable Chilean remaining in charge at Manchester City rise almost daily.

Such a scenario looked highly unlikely after the 4-2 derby day mauling just over a month ago.

Four score - City players celebrate after taking maximum points from their last four games. Courtesy@MCFC

Four score – City players celebrate after taking maximum points from their last four games. Courtesy@MCFC

The knives – and bloody sharp ones at that – were out and primed to be thrust between Pellegrini’s shoulder blades. His departure was merely a matter of time.

Should MP be unseated immediately with Patrick Vieira taking over caretaker duties for the remaining six fixtures or, would Sheikh Mansour wait until May 25th and assess City’s final Premier League resting place?

Four games on, formation changes, maximum points garnered, 12 goals scored, only two conceded and the Runners-Up slot within City’s grasp, and Pellegrini’s limp hold on his job has tightened to a firm grip.

Golden Boy with the Golden Boot - Sergio has the Midas Touch with 8 goals in his last 5 games. Courtesy@MCFC

Golden Boy with the Golden Boot – Sergio has the Midas Touch with 8 goals in his last 5 games. Courtesy@MCFC

A surge of Aguero goals (8 in 5 games including the Old Trafford defeat) three Joe Hart clean sheets, a five point advantage over Manure, Arsenal lagging a win and a sizeable inferior goal difference behind (albeit with a game in hand) has given Pellegrini a fresh impetus.

The 6-0 annihilation of QPR was easy on the eye – albeit missing the orgasmic high of the Aguerrrooo Moment of 2012 – but a hat-trick from Sergio, supplemented by Kolarov, Milner and Silva, helped serve up a nine goal City advantage over Arsenal in the scrap for second place.

Familiar one-two - Aguero and Kolarov celebrate scoring for the second consecutive home game, during the 6-0 rout of QPR. Courtesy@MCFC

Familiar one-two – Aguero and Kolarov celebrate scoring for the second consecutive home game, during the 6-0 rout of QPR. Courtesy@MCFC

As welcome as City’s end of campaign renaissance has been, and will hopefully continue to be against Swansea and Southampton, Pellegrini’s fate owes more to the actions and shortcomings of others, rather than his own achievements.

Any manager who wins the Premier League and League Cup in his debut season, and then steers his side to second place in a season undermined by financial constraints, a lengthy injury list and an unfathomable loss of form by key players, probably deserves a third year in the job.

But Manchester City have shown themselves to be an organisation short on patience with any perceived failure.

Down but not out - Will Renaissance man Pellegrini keep his job at City? Courtesy@MCFC

Down but not out – Will Renaissance man Pellegrini keep his job at City? Courtesy@MCFC

Such is their insatiable desire to re-establish themselves as the best in England and finally make the breakthrough into Europe’s elite, any form of on-field regression is given very short shrift…just ask Mark Hughes and Roberto Mancini.

But – and there is a big ‘but’ in Pellegrini’s case – there are mitigating factors:

  • Consistently sub-standard showings by major players
  • Poor dealings in the summer transfer window (Txiki’s domain?)
  • Financial Fair Play constraints – diminished transfer budget, reduced size of Champions League squad, a factor in Negredo’s departure
  • Injuries/prolonged absences – Aguero, Silva, Kompany, Nasri, Jovetic, Dzeko
  • African Cup Of Nations – Yaya and Bony missing half-a-dozen games

Pellegrini’s detractors – and there are many – would highlight tactical ineptitude, naivety, stubbornness…call it what you will, especially in the Champions League where the rigid 4-4-2 set up often saw City surrender the midfield, and with it control of numerous games.

Walk on part - Yaya has only played a supporting role this season after being the main man last year. Courtesy@MCFC

Walk on part – Yaya has only played a supporting role this season after being the main man last year. Courtesy@MCFC

That said, are those who criticise Pellegrini equally given to highlighting any tactical shortcomings of Pep Guardiola and Carlo Ancelotti – two potential successors at the Etihad.

City’s pursuit – some might say obsession – with Guardiola, would see Pellegrini ceremoniously unseated if Pep gave the nod that he’d swap Munich for Manchester.

This is the man who was a living legend as Barcelona boss and the nemesis of Jose Mourinho, the same man who has seen his Bayern Munich comprehensively dismantled in Europe by Spanish opposition, two seasons running.

Unstoppable - Sergio is one of a handful of City players who haven't underperformed this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Unstoppable – Sergio is one of a handful of City players who haven’t underperformed this season. Courtesy@MCFC

Domestically Munich have won two titles with Pep, but have just lost out to a beleaguered Borussia Dortmund in the semi final of the German Cup – in the Allianz Arena.

Ancelotti – a serial winner everywhere he’s been with AC Milan, Chelsea, PSG and Real Madrid – is facing up to a trophy-less season, even with the likes of Ronaldo, Bale, Isco, Rodriquez, Ramos and Varane at his disposal.

The grass may always seem greener elsewhere, but maybe Manchester City would do well to persevere with Pellegrini – especially when he’s given the opportunity to operate on a domestic level playing field with Mourinho, Wenger and Van Gaal.

Then & Now - Joey Barton, Richard Dunne and Shaun Wright-Phillips were returning City old boys, but David Silva is the embodiment of the present day Sky Blues. Courtesy@MCFC

Then & Now – Joey Barton, Richard Dunne and Shaun Wright-Phillips were returning City old boys, but David Silva is the embodiment of the present day Sky Blues. Courtesy@MCFC

Manuel and the club hierarchy want City to be renowned for an attractive, attacking, expansive brand of football but, without the right blend of players, substance has been sacrificed in pursuit of style.

It’s a dilemma for the City boss and one that can only be rectified by the recruitment of better players, players with the work ethic to accompany their undoubted technical skills.

Blue Hue - Sergio served up the greatest moment in Man City history with his 93:20 winner against QPR back in 2012. Courtesy@MCFC

Blue Hue – Sergio served up the greatest moment in Man City history with his 93:20 winner against QPR back in 2012. Courtesy@MCFC

The attitude of some of the seasoned professionals – double Premier League winners – has left much to be desired all season long. Only with a substantial exodus of the big name under achievers can City hope to regain the title.

Only via shrewd dealings in the transfer market, with the focus on a more youthful approach, can City energise themselves to surpass Chelsea, be more than a match for a resurgent Arsenal and, one supposes, a more confident and able Manure.

Goal fest - City are the top scorers in the Premier League despite losing their title as Champions. Courtesy@MCFC

Goal fest – City are the top scorers in the Premier League despite losing their title as Champions. Courtesy@MCFC

If Manuel does stay to see out the third and final year of his contract, who will be identifying and bringing in the new talent?

Juventus’ Paul Pogba and Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne are known to be top of City’s shopping list, a list that has to include ‘homegrown’ talent to comply with regulatory quotas.

Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling and Saido Berahino of WBA are strongly rumoured to be under consideration as part of what promises to be a very substantial summer spend, now the shackles of FFP have come off.

Will City fans see more of this next season? - Manuel Pellegrini smile time. Courtesy@MCFC

Will City fans see more of this next season? – Manuel Pellegrini smile time. Courtesy@MCFC

How ironic would it be if The Engineer gets a shot at Etihad ‘redemption’ but with players purchased with Pep Guardiola in mind for 2016/17?

 

By David Walker

 

COMPETITION TIME

Read But Never Read is delighted to team up with Art of Football http://art-of-football.com/collections/all/man-city to offer you the opportunity to capture, display and wear the AGUERRRRRROOO MOMENT as a Limited Edition Print or on a T-shirt.

93:20 - the moment Sergio Aguero hit Man City's title winning goal in 2012 - captured on a blue backdrop.

93:20 – the moment Sergio Aguero hit Man City’s title winning goal in 2012 – captured on a blue backdrop.

Art of Football describe their unique items as follows: Our hand crafted designs try to emulate the beauty of those split second moments, the moments you never forget, as we look to capture the energy, passion and euphoria that erupts from that one magical kick of a football. We only produce a limited number of each design, so your T shirts, like any good piece of art, are exclusive and completely original.’

93:20 - Sergio scores...this time on a white 'canvas'.

93:20 – Sergio scores…this time on a white ‘canvas’.

Masterpiece - you could win this beautiful print of the 93.20 Aguerrrrrooo Moment in our competition with Art of Football.

Masterpiece – you could win this beautiful print of the 93.20 Aguerrrrrooo Moment in our competition with Art of Football.

To have a chance of winning either T-Shirt or the A3-sized print all you need to do is the following:

* Tell us at what point of the game did Sergio Aguero score the winning goal on May 13th, 2012?

* Tweet your answers jointly to @ReadButNeverRed & @Art_of_Football along with the hashtag #Art

* Leave your answer on the Read But Never Red Comments Section

The competition will run until Friday 15th May after which the winners will be contacted and then announced via social media and here at Read But Never Red

 

 www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

12 Comments

  1. May 14, 2015  7:30 pm by Steve Mills Reply

    Another superb write up Mr W. It looks like Pep 'the God who walks on water' is showing a little mortality. The question needs asking, is Pep really as good as he thinks he is, or just because the teams he has managed were packed to the rafters with class players? Has he ever built a team, I don't think so. If anyone I think I'd go for Klopp, he's been used to working within a tight budget. However I'd love Manny to serve out his contract, and just hope Txiki gets his bloody finger out this seasons end.

    By the way keep this to yourself, but the answer to the competition is 93.20. I reckon it's the first time Martin (rag) Tyler has had an orgasm live on tv. I could be wrong.

    • May 14, 2015  9:03 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks Mr Mills ;-) Pellegrini did very well in Europe with Villarreal and Malaga so he has proved in the past that he can be tactically astute and not the one trick pony so many In England perceive him to be. Yes, he's made mistakes but would a 442 look so undercooked if certain high maintenance midfielders put in a defensive shift, especially one who used to be a defensive midfielder-cum-centre back. Notwithstanding formations (at this point I hold my hands up I am far away from being a master tactician) surely top quality players can improvise and show initiative on the field of play.

      I just hope and wonder that, with shrewd purchases and encouragement to the elite of the EDS team, whether MP cannot create a team prepared to work its collective rocks off, as well as entertain. City have often lacked zest and bite, even to the point where players have looked lazy and disinterested - unforgivable.

      Most teams would take Pep in a heartbeat - City included - and he's obviously supremely talented but, like you I'd like to see if he can succeed at City where he would need to create more of a team than he ever had to at Barcelona and Bayern.

      Wherever did you get the idea that Sergio scored at 93:20 minutes ;=)?

  2. May 14, 2015  7:46 pm by Doug Henshaw Reply

    If MP does stay I think its the wrong decision, having said that I do think he will be given another year. The poor season wasn't all down to him & the players & the rest of the management must take there share I include our two Spanish gentleman in that. Just lost faith that MP can change it next season, but would love him to make me get the humble pie out again. Thanks again Dave hoping for some readbutneverred specials in the close season.

    • May 14, 2015  9:06 pm by David Walker Reply

      I must confess I'm torn on the topic. I would love MP to succeed 'big time' in a third year at the Etihad. Equally if Guardiola said he wanted - the emphasis on WANTED - to come to City it would be an exciting proposition. I can but state a position - a topic for others to mull over - and then sit back like any other City fan and see what develops. Thanks Doug.

  3. May 14, 2015  9:39 pm by Eileen Fullen Reply

    Always had an inkling Pellars would be given a 3rd term..purely as you said Pep is a priority for the owners. The media are obsessed at berating anything we do..but says a lot how worried the rags are..Sergios omission proves that and no ones got the balls to admit it. Kompany as a leader has been missing this year ..we need fire in the belly but who will ignite it??? Spot on again lovely honest read...

    • May 14, 2015  10:39 pm by David Walker Reply

      There's nothing saying MP will stay, that's just an observation given recent events and story, initiated by Richard Keys, that Pep was coming to City this summer. There definitely seemed some substance to the Guardiola stories, so whether there's games of bluff and double bluff being played out in Munich I have no idea. New signings, fresh spirit - albeit they'll need to gel quickly - and MP exercising more tactical flexibility and City could yet come roaring back next season. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. May 14, 2015  10:35 pm by David Potts Reply

    It was 93 minutes and 20 seconds. It's tattooed on my brain. One of the most cataclysmic moments English football has ever seen. Funnily enough, one of my favourite moments too. Odd that.

    Anyway, on to Manny. I have to say, I'm embarrassed at City's continued pursuit of Pep. It's becoming cringeworthy and, to me, a little creepy. Are we stalking him now? The succession of world class managers who are linked to us, only to be dismissed, demonstrates almost a head-up-the-arse view of the world. Some might call it single minded professionalism. I call it a refusal to consider realistic and credible alternatives.

    • May 14, 2015  10:43 pm by David Walker Reply

      Nicely put on both topics Mr Potts. Enough said. Thanks for reading and the feedback.

  5. May 15, 2015  5:23 am by Andy Bird Reply

    Great read again. Have always said it would be an element of stick or twist. You only twist when there is something better and it seems Klopp was not being considered (not saying he is better as also unpriven in EPL) so it seems the plan remains stick for everyone to see out their 3 yr contracts. My concern with MP, as you know from our recent messages, is not only stubborness in tactics but with the opportunity to motivate and promote from within. QPR were so poor it did not need 7 first team subs on the bench for that game. Those are the times to promote youth even if for match day experience. Rant over, here's to 3 more points on Sunday. As a very long city fan, if at Wembley in 99 you had offered me 1-2-1-2 for finishing positions - I'd have been dreaming! Let's all therefore keep some perspective on expectations...... Our big spend was all about getting into top 4 before the FFP door closed. Our next journey begins now.

    • May 15, 2015  3:35 pm by David Walker Reply

      If - IF - MP is in charge next season and has better, more committed players to call upon he might have tactical options presently denied him by poor attitudes from certain individuals. Pellegrini has not been found wanting from a tactical perspective at other clubs. He wouldnt have landed the City gig if this were so. In respect of the younger players, you have to think Iheanacho will figure at some stage - a prodigious talent.

      Perspective is a wonderful thing and, given a fair share of the breaks, City can be very very strong contenders domestically and make a decent fist of a Champions League campaign that gets us to the QFs at least. Hopefully the draw will be kinder, but best not hold our breath.

  6. May 15, 2015  1:58 pm by Richard Cooper Reply

    I think MP will stay another season and I would consider "promoting" Pat Viera into a more high profile role at the club as a good move. The changing of one big name Coach for another every couple of years doesn't really "float my boat". City should create a sustainable club culture including giving more opportunities to the young players than has been seen recently - Lopes, Rekik etc etc.
    QPR were that poor last week even Mr Fernando looked a half decent player. Had it not beeen for the hapless Rob Green (their best player) it - to quote the song - should have been 10.
    The Derby Day disaster (not losing but the way we lost) seems to have been the spur the team needed to show hurt and pride - why these well paid players need that kick in the pants is a motivational issue we have seen a bit too often this season.
    Being Bundesliga ITV4 regulars we think Kevin de Bruyne would be a good summer buy - and he can take a corner kick ! That would be something to relish.
    Onwards and forwards next season - with hopefully not so intransient tactics, which along with the above mentioned motivation, is my criticism of MP

    • May 15, 2015  3:41 pm by David Walker Reply

      All valid and well stated points RC. Lopes Rekik Denayer and Iheanacho should be in the reckoning next season and further down the line see how Ambrose and Barker mature. The rumoured 'clear-out' of the under performers, the transfer revenues generated, freedom from FFP, increased Etihad capacity and the right transfer acquistions...all would appear to indicate the best is yet to come. Keeping Aguero and Silva is imperative and seeing Zaba and Kompany return to their best would be a bloody big help.

      I just wish there wasn't a bloody Copa America this summer so Sergio, Pablo and Demi could rest up, along with Fernandinho.

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