I’m going to say it out loud, even if no other Blue will. I think we’ve blown it. Manchester City will not be crowned Premier League Champions in 2012. Manchester United will. This is depressing. I wish I was wrong. But our chances of holding aloft that enormous, beautiful trophy in May are becoming more unlikely than an away side earning a penalty at Old Trafford.
The reason for such pragmatic pessimism is this; with 8 matches remaining, City cannot afford one slip up. Not one. In normal circumstances a slip up would mean a shock defeat or draw against inferior opposition. But as things have panned out, a slip up means not winning all of our remaining games.
By no means do I expect United to win all of their remaining ties. They are suspect at the back and, not unlike City, have surprised with a sprinkling of averageness in their performances of late. But City seem to be fading amidst the pressure and tension of this title race. Just when we need key players to rise to the occasion, our creativity, buzz, strength and goal threat seems suffocated. David Silva, Mario Balotelli, Adam Johnson, Edin Dzeko and even Sergio Aguero have gone off the boil. The superb comeback against Chelsea and overdue impact of Nasri should have released these negative tensions, but last week's frustrating and difficult afternoon in Stoke, under normal circumstances to be expected, is a major setback. This certainly wasn’t the first time City appeared tactically incapable of overcoming a combative and committed performance from the opposition. Such football impotence has blighted the second half of the season and may well end up defining City’s performance in 2011-12. A great shame, because the City faithful have been blessed with some jaw-dropping performances this season. So potently is this shift felt by the players and fans, that when you watch City, it feels like we're on the edge, dangling over a huge precipice where lies failure, and with it a media scramble for Mancini's head, more nonsense about how the whole team hate each other and news of Balotelli declaring himself the inventor of the Space Kangaroo Octopus.
We’ll have bounced back within minutes of that trophy staying within the cold, dead hand of Alex Ferguson
While over at United, they still win.
There's so much talk of a Derby D-day on 30 April, it seems unthinkable to suggest that when City trounce United at the Etihad, which is more given than Shay Given, it will be inconsequential. The title may in fact slip from City’s reach not at the Etihad, but at the Emirates on 8 April. Not one slip up. Not one.
Of course, there is room for optimism too. Captain Kompany should return this weekend and there’s the tantalising prospect of Carlos Tevez rediscovering his true form. Perhaps City are just one thumping home victory away from kicking into their early season stride, and United will drop enough points to make the Derby D-day victory a title winning one.
But if I'm right, and we do finish 2nd, us City fans won't cry. We will be stomach churningly, heart crumblingly GUTTED. But we won't cry. That City fan who cried after we lost at Swansea, I don't know who he was. He may have just been kicked in the nads for all I know. Either way, he can't have been following City for too long. Try getting relegated because your manager told your player to keep the ball in play because we only needed a draw when in fact we needed a win. You'd piss yourself crying!
While I’m reliably informed that the pain of not winning is much worse than the pain of losing, I can’t imagine City fans blubbing into their scarves as we did in those dreadful relegation stained late Nineties. We’ll have bounced back within minutes of that trophy staying within the cold, dead hand of Alex Ferguson. Next season will be ours. Whether we win this season or not.
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