Thursday, June 8, 2023

Why Manchester City are not top of the table at Christmas

Graham Fisher in Editorial, English Premier League 22 Dec 2010


A spirit that Mancini would love to have at City

Against Everton on Monday evening Manchester City had two thirds of the possession, twenty-five attempts on goal to Everton’s four and eleven corners to their opponents none. They also had four penalty appeals of which two, on another day, might have been given.


Looking at those statistics you would have to say that City were very unlucky to lose the game 2-1. However, having watched the game, I didn’t really think that they were.

The atmosphere at Eastlands was a little strange. Two hours before kick-off it had been announced that the talismanic Carlos Tevez had withdrawn his transfer request and committed his future to City. The fans also discovered that Tevez was not only playing in the game but was also keeping the captaincy.


That would surely have been great news for City and their fans and indeed, Tevez was given a good reception by the fans and manager Roberto Mancini was saying how delighted he was that his main striker was staying at the club.

The only problem with all of the above is that people are realistic and to most of them, the remarkable about turn undertaken by Tevez was a little difficult to understand.


Over the past few days and weeks Tevez has publicly fallen out with his manager about being substituted, amongst other things, talked about his understandable homesickness and missing his children, talked of so many broken promises and said that his relationship with certain executives at the club had broken down beyond repair. Then, after a quick chat all of that is forgotten and Tevez is committing his future to City. That is difficult to understand isn’t it?

We will all have to wait and see just how peaceful this apparent peace between club and player actually is. Certainly, against Everton Tevez was largely anonymous apart from one decent effort near the end well saved by Tim Howard.


The defeat against Everton will certainly not be a devastating blow to their chances of the title or at least a top four finish but it will have been disheartening. They would have been top of the Premier League at Christmas if they had managed to pick up the points but now they find themselves two points behind city rivals United who have played two games less. They also have a home record to look at which shows just four home wins from nine games and just nine goals scored.

Only scoring once from twenty-five attempts on Monday might sound unlucky or a bit of a freak occurrence, but for City it isn’t.


Against Bolton, a 1-0 win. Nineteen attempts, one goal. Against Birmingham, a 0-0 draw. Twenty-one attempts, no goals. Against Blackburn, a 1-1 draw. Twenty attempts, one goal. And so it goes on.

That suggests that it isn’t an issue of bad luck, but something far more fundamental than that.

The main problem for City however was made very evident by the Everton players and manager. The manager made some excellent substitutions and tactical adjustments during the game to ensure that his side picked up an unlikely win. The players really died for the cause as well, throwing their body in the way of shots.


At the final whistle every one of the Everton players celebrated like they had won the Champions League. They were jumping on top of each other, thrusting their fists into the air and celebrating in front of and with their fans. The manager was on the pitch as well, shaking hands and hugging each individual player.

The stats show that City are the better side. The league table shows that City are the better side. The money spent on the team shows that City are the better side. A simple look at the players shows that City are the better side.

A look at the team spirit within the Everton camp shows why they won the game. What would Roberto Mancini give for a little bit of that?


Graham Fisher



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