From one recalcitrant to another, we have Mancini’s first test: curing a suicidal Manchester City malaise (by Darshan Joshi)
At least Roberto Mancini’s selection headaches are thinning. The petulance of Edin Džeko will see the Bosnian left out of City’s weekend clash with Blackburn, while Carlos Tévez’s latest insipid tirade has seen Mancini finally pull the plug on last season’s top goalscorer. It says a lot about a club when Mario Balotelli ranks amongst the manager’s favoured fowards; formerly the bad boy of Eastlands, he even afforded Mancini a hug at the weekend. Given the sights radiating from the away dugout at the Allianz Arena last night (involving Balotelli’s seniors no less), the lack of a united club identity is wholly apparent. Sometimes, a real love and passion for your team is what can spur you on; we certainly saw it with Bayern Munich. While City’s self-absorbed hara-kiri wasn’t the only power at work in Germany (the hosts, and especially Franck Ribéry, were sensational), it robbed Mancini of the chance to tactically manœuvre his ailing team’s fortunes in the match.
In England, the media and neutrals alike have been encomiastic in their salutations for this new-look, offensively-tilted Manchester City team, but the first test of their domestic season has not come from heinously efficient and resilient opposition. It has come from within. Roberto Mancini’s selection woes might give way to medical maladies; a migraine he doesn’t yet have a transfer window to fix. Until then, Manchester City, for all their potential, could be their own worst nightmare.