Manchester City won the Premiership in astonishing fashion, but now have to prove themselves all over again. Can Mancini guide them to more domestic success and perhaps even conquer Europe? Or will the crown wear too heavy on his head? TheHardTackle takes a look.
May 13: The Etihad Stadium
They’ve done it!! City win the title!!
I have never seen anything like this! Everyone has gone mad!
Unbelievable scenes!! Manchester City are the new champions of England!!
I swear you will never see anything like this ever again. So watch it. Drink it in!
The commentators weren’t exaggerating in describing the absolutely thrilling finish to what has been labelled as the best premier league season of all time. Manchester City scored twice in injury time with Sergio Aguero grabbing a winner in what was practically the last kick of the game. The Blue Moon had finally risen after 44 years in football wilderness.
But what next for Manchester City? The coming season they will start as favourites for the title – A tremendous pressure which not many teams can handle. Just ask Ancelotti’s Chelsea side of 2011. Over the last four years, Manchester City have spent nearly $ 1 billion purchasing the crème-de-la-crème of players. That kind of money brings with it huge expectations. Winning the Premier League will have appeased fans, but now City are expected to challenge for the title every season.
The Premier League is supposedly the toughest league in the world and City won the title by the narrowest of margins. This year is expected to be even tougher. Chelsea have already spent a huge amount on young talents like Hazard, Marin and Oscar and are expected to add further to their squad. Having failed at the final hurdle, Manchester United will try their best to stop their ‘noisy neighbours’ from winning the title again. Kagawa is a bright young star who has joined United ranks. More are expected to follow suit by the end of the transfer window. Arsenal have bolstered their attacking options with the signings of Giroud and Podolski while Tottenham will look to push on from their 4th spot under the new management of Andre Villas Boas.
Manchester City on the other hand have been uncharacteristically quiet in this transfer window. Indiscriminate splurging on players over the last few seasons has resulted in them having a surplus. Players like Carlos Tevez, Roque Santa Cruz and Emmanuele Adebayor are undoubtedly talented but are surplus to requirements. However issues like wages, injury and indiscipline have meant that Manchester City have found them increasingly difficult to move on to other clubs.
A burgeoning wage bill and the imminent financial fair play regulations have meant that Manchester City must now sell these players before they can think of buying. Some movement is certain to happen by the end of the window but Manchester City must act fast and decisively if they don’t want to miss out on their prime transfer targets.
In addition to the expectation of winning the Premier League again, Manchester City are also expected to achieve success in Europe. Having one of the deepest squads ensures that Mancini can consistently field strong line-ups in all competitions. The Citizens will be expected to mount a serious challenge for the Champions League this season and Mancini will have this as his number one priority. But with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and now even PSG chasing for the same glory it certainly looks to be a tough ask.
Mancini recently signed a new five year contract with Manchester City. The manager has done well to bring together a smorgasbord of talented individuals and get them playing as a team. Indeed, the team spirit was evident in those final minutes of the season when the players refused to give up even when it seemed that Manchester United had the title in the bag. He would seem as the ideal man to guide them to greater glory in the coming years but should he fail to do so next year then the crown will weigh very heavy on Mancini’s head. Manchester City’s owners from Abu Dhabi have little patience as demonstrated in their sacking of Mark Hughes midway through the 2009-10 season after he failed to achieve satisfactory results.
Mancini’s task will be clear – Win the Champions League. Or Else. Roman Abramovic set the precedent at Chelsea by unceremoniously sacking every manager who failed to win him that elusive title. City’s owners may well follow suit.
The Manchester City squad boasts some of the most outstanding talents in world football. They have one of the finest young goalkeepers in the world in Joe Hart who is shielded by a rock solid defense ably led by Vincent Kompany. The midfield is marshalled by Ivorian dynamo Yaya Toure while Silva and Aguero provide some real teeth to the attack.
The City squad looks settled and mature. A lot of players are playing in their prime and they certainly seem capable of mounting a challenge for the title again as well as progressing deep into the Champions League stages. Barcelona is in a transition phase, Italian teams don’t seem to have that quality anymore and the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United are rebuilding. It would seem that now would be as good a time as any for City to win the Champions League.
The summer transfer window will be crucial however and Mancini must buy intelligently to make that final push towards European glory. Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are looking to add to their squads. PSG have assembled a dangerous team and Juventus on the back of their unbeaten season could spring a surprise. Additions to the squad are thus imperative. The likes of Van Persie, Gaston Ramirez, Daniele De Rossi and Javi Martinez have all been linked and Mancini would like to bring at least a few names from that list.
The Blue moon has truly risen. But Manchester City must now fight harder than ever to prove themselves as worthy champions. The last minute victory at The Etihad stadium was quite unbelievable but now is the time to prove that it was no flash in the pan.