With the contention surrounding the departure of Roberto Mancini a year to the day after lifting Manchester City’s first league title in over 40 years, we thought we would try to dissect the reasoning behind the departure of the man who ‘came from Italy, to manage Man City.’
They say retaining a title is the sign of true champions, and critical to that is recruitment. This was a major flaw in the Mancini method last summer as a war of words ensued with the City board over the Italian’s transfer targets. It surmised that the Citizens opted to bring in some young British talent, unfortunately for City fans they decided to sign hypochondriac Jack Rodwell and ex-Chelsea bench warmer Scott Sinclair. Both men resorted to type, offering about as much to City’s title challenge as Wayne Bridge.
Other additions to the side included Javi Garcia, Maicon and Matija Nastasic, with only the latter adding anything to the squad. The less said about Richard Wright the better.
Granted City were plonked in the Champions League group from hell this term, where they had to face finalists Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax, but they didn’t exactly go out swinging. Mancini’s side drew all their games in the north-west and lost all of their European away trips, conceding 11 goals in their six fixtures.
Exit from Europe’s top table so early echoed the 2011/12 campaign when City also fell at the first hurdle. It also consolidated their 48-year-old boss’ poor record in the Champions League, where he has only been as far as the quarter-finals. This was undoubtedly one of the key catalysts for his dismissal.
Robin van Persie
The Dutch striker was a wanted man in the summer of 2012 and the City manager singled him out as his number one target. It transpired that the then Arsenal forward was more enticed by the red half of Manchester and duly signed for Sir Alex and Manchester United. Mancini was not happy with the way the board had dealt with attempting to attract RVP and claimed they should have done more, regularly referring to Van Persie’s influence as the difference between the two clubs.
It turned out this was something the former Inter manager got spot on as the Red Devils’ new number 20 has gone on to hit 25 league goals and guide United to a 20th league title.
The Blues were hindered by the loss of Sergio Aguero for great portions of the campaign. The man who scored ‘That’ goal has started just 21 league games this term after being hampered by both knee and hamstring injuries.
The absences of skipper Vincent Kompany have arguably had the greater impact on City’s title defence. The Belgian defender has missed 12 league clashes through injury and suspension this season and it is no surprise that he was on the sidelines for the losses to Everton and Southampton, as well as the costly draws to Liverpool and QPR.
A lack of trophies
It is hard to say whether a victory in one of the domestic cup competitions would have spared Mancini, but it certainly would have helped.
A squad of City’s size and calibre should have more than enough to challenge for the Capital One Cup but instead this year a team that contained the likes of Gareth Barry, Mario Balotelli, James Milner and Carlos Tevez crashed out to an Aston Villa side destined for a relegation battle.
City were presented with the perfect opportunity to snare a third piece of silverware in three seasons when they took on seemingly Championship-bound Wigan in the FA Cup Final. It’s safe to say they choked, putting in a poor performance as they went down 1-0 at Wembley leaving Mancini a desolate figure as he wandered up to receive the runners-up medal that sealed his fate.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.