Can Manchester City dominate Europe?
Last year, it was the FA Cup, this year the Premier League. Will next be European glory? As long as the likes of £38 million signing Sergio Aguero - who scored the winner on Sunday - David Silva, Vincent Kompany and Yaya Toure remain in their ranks with Roberto Mancini at the helm, City could go on to win the European crown as well. In fact, they have already set their sights on more silverware next season.
On Sunday, stoppage time goals from Dzeko and Aguero meant they snatched win from jaws of defeat in one of the greatest climaxes of title race in Premier League history. The 44-year long wait was finally over. Manchester City, a club that was relegated to the third tier 14 years ago, a club that was known as Manchester’s perennial underdog; has at last quenched their trophy drought.
It was, according to their Italian coach Roberto Mancini, a crazy finish for a crazy season. Manchester City were spectacular at home throughout the season and hence the match against QPR, with the worst away record, should have been all but a cakewalk. But somewhere in the middle, City looked like their old self. Had they lost, it would have been the biggest choking in EPL football.
QPR captain Joey Barton’s send off in the 54th minute proved to be decisive for City in their title chase as it gave them a man advantage. Also, a gap of 3 minutes 49 seconds meant they were given five minutes of stoppage time. They were trailing 2-1 against relegation threatened QPR going into the stoppage time. The first one came in the 92nd minute as Edin Dzeko headed a David Silva corner. They needed one more to seal the win, which Argentine Sergio Agüero did perfectly 20 seconds past the third stoppage time minute.
Since its inception in 1992, Manchester United have monopolised the premiership, attaching it 12 times. Finally, the ‘noisy neighbours’ have knocked United, who won the league four times in the previous six seasons, off their perch. Whether this will be end of an era for United will have to be debated upon.
City had their share of controversies in their camp this season (read Carlos Tevez`s `holiday` episode and Mario Balotelli`s unpredictable nature). However, in those testing times, they never lost sight of the title and were very much in hunt for the same, thanks to Mancini’s man-management. They were placed eight points behind leaders Manchester United after their 1-0 defeat against Arsenal on 8 April. The results since then read: City beat West Bromwich 4-0, City beat Norwich City 6-1, City beat Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0, City beat United 1-0 and City beat Newcastle 2-0. These victories helped City equal their rivals on points table. On the final day, they were level on points but City enjoyed superior goal difference. That meant they just had to equal United’s result (which they did with the victory over QPR) and they were through.
The victory repays some of Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al-Nahyan’s millions spent on the club. Between 2008 and the end of last season, the club’s total expenditure was £930.4m, of which only £365.3m was generated from their own operations. The remaining £565.1m came from Mansour. The first achievement came last season when they won the FA Cup, their first trophy in 35 years.
This may not be the end of an era or beginning of another, but Mancini, undoubtedly, has turned Manchester City into a dominant force. However, with the financial backing enjoyed by Mancini and resources at their disposal, one could predict more triumphs for the club in the coming seasons.