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

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