Tuesday Team Talk: Is Manchester City’s season as good as over in October?

We are still in October but Manchester City look set for a second feeble defence of the Premier League title in three years.

It has been an underwhelming start to the season for both red and blue in Manchester but it is already difficult to see what City can achieve this year.

The Blues are on the brink of Champions League elimination while the Premier League already seems destined for Londoners Chelsea.

Nowadays anything less than the title must be seen as a disappointment for the blue half of Manchester.

However Manuel Pellegrini’s side are already six points behind an unbeaten Chelsea team, who have impressed with their controlled dominance of the league until now.

Following defeat at West Ham the Chilean admitted his side failed to play with the intensity which is a minimum requirement for anyone to compete in the Premier League.

Worryingly for City a trend is developing: success followed by abject mediocrity.

The club have won four major trophies since the Abu Dhabi United Group’s takeover in 2008 but have failed to defend any of them.

Pellegrini’s stars seem to have a serious problem with motivation and if it is not resolved quickly they may see the 2014/15 season pass them by.

Following defeat to Bayern Munich and draws with AS Roma and whipping boys CSKA Moscow, the Citizens face a make or break Champions League game with CSKA on Wednesday November 5.

With a third place finish in Group E now looking the most likely outcome for the Citizens, they may be facing the wooden spoon consolation of a Thursday night Europa League campaign.




Qualification for Europe’s secondary competition would have been the stuff of dreams for hardened Blues fans less than a decade ago but success has raised expectations.

Even last season’s League Cup victory was met with a mixed reaction by swathes of City fans.

Pellegrini believed that the triumph would help breed a culture of success but many Blues fans were quick to dismiss victory in the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Arsene Wenger has consistently fielded weakened sides in the competition and plenty of Citizens called for their club to join Arsenal and use the competition to blood youngsters.

With expectations so high and Chelsea already pulling clear in the title race, City also look set for domestic disappointment in 2014/15.

Pellegrini’s side already face an uphill task to reel in Jose Mourinho’s dominant Chelsea team, although Robin van Persie’s last minute equaliser prevented them pulling eight points clear.

On the other hand they face little or no challenge from those below them for second place in the league. 

Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal are all struggling for form and although Southampton sit second and West Ham are hot on City’s heels, it is unlikely they will still be there come May.

Under Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign United were renowned for going again. 

This weekend Patrice Evra revealed that Ferguson was preparing his side for next year’s campaign a matter of minutes after their 2008 Champions League triumph.

City’s owners are hoping Pellegrini can build a side capable of the same kind of dominance but a change in attitude will be required to do so.

Defeats to West Ham and Stoke at home scream of the complacency that undermined City’s 2012/13 Premier League defence as United cantered to the title by 11 points.

Yaya Toure’s drop in form signifies the change in atmosphere around the City camp this season and if the mood isn’t lifted soon, Chelsea will be a speck on the horizon for Pellegrini and City.

There are 87 points still to play for and the Chilean’s side will need the vast majority of them if they want 2014/15 to be considered a success.

Otherwise the Blues, and their fans, may have to make do once more with the Mickey Mouse Cup.

Main image courtesy of Alex Morton/Action Images, with thanks.

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