Just when you thought maybe – just maybe – Manchester City’s version of ‘total football’ was winning the hearts and minds of those who genuinely appreciate the beautiful game, up pop the ‘haters’.
By now everybody has heard the slanderous and self righteous rants of an embittered, myopia-afflicted French pensioner known as Arsenic Whinger.
Now that might be considered harsh, if indeed the Arsenal manager’s eyesight is in sharp decline but, let’s face it, sour-faced Monsieur Wenger has more ‘tunnel vision’ than all the Eurostar train drivers put together.
Arsenic – there are other derivations of his name which are more offensive and perhaps more apt – labelled Raheem Sterling as a serial diver saying “…we know that he (Sterling) dives well…”
If that doesn’t warrant a ‘disrepute’ charge from the FA what the hell does?
Good old ‘Auntie Beeb’ then waded in with the BBC Sport Twitter account reporting that ‘Raheem Sterling will face no action over the penalty incident that led to his side’s second goal against Arsenal.’
Why on earth would City’s Number 7 face action? What a load of bullshit, even the idiotic leader of the ‘free world’ residing in the White House would be right to ask ‘What the fake is going on?’
Lest we forget City attracted similar innuendos when Bernardo Silva was fouled and a penalty awarded against Burnley.
Is there some sort of insidious subliminal media campaign being waged in an attempt to undermine future City penalty claims?
Of course Wenger chose to ignore the first half push on Sterling, as the ball flashed across the Arsenal goal which should also have been a penalty.
He claims there was refereeing bias towards City, inferring it’s often the case. Maybe the 68-year old Frenchman is showing signs of memory loss or even senility?
It’s only last April that Arsenal were the huge beneficiaries of two refereeing howlers against City.
Nacho Monreal blatantly handled for what would have been a penalty in the dying minutes of the 2-2 draw at the Emirates on April 2nd.
Three weeks later City had a perfectly valid goal ruled out in the 2-1 FA Cup semi final defeat at Wembley, the last competitive game the Sky Blues lost.
The self same Monreal could and should’ve been sent off for the foul on Sterling – he was the last defender and Sterling had a clear goal scoring opportunity denied him. Wenger should’ve been grateful to referee Michael Oliver, not bemoaning the referee’s performance.
In fairness, even the likes of Alan Shearer and Ian Wright on BBC’s MOTD – normally Muppets of the Decade – said it was a definite penalty.
But still pernicious elements of the press persist, mixing their own droplets of poison with the pseudo sweetness presently being directed City’s way.
Many, if not the majority, of City fans, have long since stopped reading what some would laughingly have us believe is credible sports journalism.
Take this little snippet from The Mirror’s Andy Dunn – Bin Dipper Extraordinaire & Editor-in-Chief of the Sterling Sniper:
“But as if a team (City) like this needs any help, up stepped Michael Oliver, falling for Sterling falling over as he ran across Nacho Monreal’s perfectly reasonable path, allowing Aguero to impudently improve his record-breaking tally to 179 from 12 yards.
“City, even allowing for the spells of slapdash, were the better team and, in De Bruyne and David Silva, have the two most creative midfielders in the Premier League … by the distance of one of Raheem’s overcooked passes.”
City supporters quite rightly, say ‘screw the media’ – they can’t hurt the club if Pep’s team keep performing in such scintillating style.
That may well be true, but the fact is nobody should be fooled into believing the media are suddenly City and Pep converts.
The talk of City going undefeated all season – quite rightly dismissed by Guardiola – is merely a stick with which to beat City over the head if, as and when, they do eventually lose.
As it was City thoroughly deserved their 15th consecutive win in all competitions as the Gunner’s firepower was easily muffled.
It’s a victory which puts City eight points clear at the top of the league – a place known to be Raheem Sterling’s preferred place of residence.
City could and should’ve been at least 3-0 up by half time, but their high octane exertions in Napoli had taken some of the snap out of their usual bite.
Pep, ever the perfectionist, knew all too well that City’s +31 Premier League goal difference should’ve been more at the final whistle, but if this is as profligate or as sloppy a performance as it gets, the Etihad faithful won’t be losing too much sleep.
Kevin De Bruyne turned from goal maker to goal taker to put City ahead, before a certain Sergio Aguero added to his all-time record goal-scoring haul with strike No 179 from the penalty spot, courtesy of Sterling’s sterling efforts.
Yes, City did benefit from David Silva being offside for his assist in Jesus’ goal, but how sweet was that after Merlin was brutally kicked out of the FA Cup semi final by Arsenic’s hired thugs?
City transfer target Alexis Sanchez looked like he must be feeling – a man who desperately wants to be playing for City – not against them. January or June should see that situation rectified, depending on Pep’s requirements and City’s levels of acrimony towards Arsenic & Co.
As it is Wenger is to face no action for his outburst, leaving us all to wonder if Pep had said something similar, whether the FA would be quite so hard of hearing?
With 52 goals scored in 17 games and no sign of City’s winning streak coming to an end, it’s a case of echoing the words of Liam Gallagher’s chart-topping album, as sung to Sergio by LG to celebrate the Argentine striker’s achievements…
…As You Were.
By David Walker
Dedicated to three City fans I’m privileged to call friends – Lee Welland, Dave Hughes and Doug Henshaw – as they battle Cancer. They’ve something in common with Pep in that they’re all winners. Keep fighting gents and stick around for all the fun.
www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu