Arsene Wenger is the only other manager in the English Premier League who has actually coached a team to the title in the Premiership, and his Arsenal players were too much for the stumbling Manchester City, Mikel Arteta scoring a wonderful long range strike to give the gunners a 1-0 win and Manchester United, now 8 points ahead of Roberto Mancini’s bunch.
But it seems Mancini, despite winning the title in Italy while facing the vacuum left by a relegated Juventus and an aging AC Milan, didn’t just lose the title despite having a 5 point lead over United earlier this season. With the resources at his disposal over the time he’s been at City, he should have won a title, should have done more. With this late season collapse and now a defeat at the Emirates, he might have lost his job for next season.
It’s not Mancini’s fault that Carlos Tevez isn’t happy. It’s not Mancini’s fault that David Silva spent all he had during the first half of the season, along with Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero. Silva didn’t even play. Mancini couldn’t believe when his most important player, Yaya Toure, had to be taken off due to an early injury. Any chance of City actually controlling possession and dominating the match went out the window.
But Mancini has actually complained about needing more players, after the hundreds of millions of pounds spent. Mancini, like many managers before, thought he could unnerve Alex Ferguson and Manchester United through the media. He saw United getting gifts from referees week in and week out (partially true, like against QPR this afternoon) and couldn’t keep quiet. The moment he stopped concentrating on his team and started wasting most of time on media wars, well, it’s all downhill from there.
Manchester City won only once in their last five matches, while Manchester United have won their last nine Premier League matches. Quality? Better team? It didn’t really matter. Manchester United, with a timeless Ryan Giggs and out-of-retirement Paul Scholes just have that it factor, while Mancini with an endless budget fell apart. Trying to salvage things with a returning Carlos Tevez just pumped more panic into the system.
And on the other side, Arsene Wenger. I’m pretty sure he’s not that happy with Manchester United winning a title, but he has his own agenda, his own goals. Arsenal weren’t brilliant against a strong Man City defense, but luckily, Mikel Arteta had enough sense to try, finally, a long range shot. Arsenal tried to score from close range for too long, with luck, the woodwork and Joe Hart standing in the way time after time.
And then there’s the Mario Balotelli factor. Balotelli should have been sent off in the first half, but English referees actually making correct decisions is a rarity these days. He had 90 minutes to injure players with his high boots, and nothing much else. Mancini could have gotten rid of the talented but brutal and irresponsible striker on numerous occasions. He went down with the ship.