Last season Roberto Mancini's Manchester City dismally crashed out of the Europa League to Dynamo Kiev which served to highlight both the manager and playing squads inadequacies. Too defensive away from home and a stupid bit of Mario madness put paid to our hopes back then however now, just over eleven months on, sadly were in the same competition, but the difference in everything else surrounding the club is like night and day.
We are now a totally different proposition with a squad unrivalled domestically and a manager who has finally let off the shackles and mercilessly sends his side out with the sole purpose of putting teams to the sword which duly happened on Wednesday night as City handed out a good beating to an experienced European outfit.
The draw against defending champions Porto was billed as a potential banana skin in which many thought or maybe hoped we would fail to progress from but after an impressive 2-1 away win in the Estádio do Dragão the Blues entered the game last night as heavy favorites to go through
Regardless of this Mancini made his intentions for the evening clear through his team selection, the 'big-hitters' were all there and interestingly it was only the 3rd time this season in 40 games that the Italian has started with the same fullbacks for consecutive games. The line up wasn't the only strong variable that played it’s part before kick off, in typical Manchester style the rain was torrential, but one man certainly had his heart set on warming up his adoring public. That man was Sergio Aguero who got his side off to the perfect start within the first minute, expertly slotting home after the Porto defence was effortlessly sliced open. The early goal completely derailed the visitor’s game-plan as they were forced to change tack, banishing their defensive set up and necessarily adopting an attacking approach which played perfectly into City’s hands who picked off the Portuguese champions fragile backline almost at will with Aguero at the heart of almost everything good.
At the start of the season critics in the media questioned whether the little Argentine could hack it on a cold wintry night in February? Well Sergio certainly showed that he can in a mesmeric 80 minute display in which he added an assist to his magnificent performance when he selflessly set up his strike partner Dzeko to sidefoot home. What I really admire about the former Atletico Madrid man is that even when things aren't going right for him, he keeps his head up and runs his a*** off, a real team player whose heart is almost as big as his talent.
The line up wasn't the only strong variable that played it’s part before kick off, in typical Manchester style the rain was torrential, but one man certainly had his heart set on warming up his adoring public. That man was Sergio Aguero who got his side off to the perfect start within the first minute
The early goal was unsurprisingly built upon and despite not enjoying complete control the Blues never looked in any serious danger of relinquishing their aggregate lead and after the petulant sending off of Rolando who, frustrated at chasing shadows, spat his dummy out. Soon after the hosts took complete control with Aguero & Silva unplayable upfront whilst Lescott and Kompany were unshakable at the back enabling Mancini’s men to rack up a couple more goals and with it send out a clear statement of intent in this tournament by easily dismantling one of the best sides in Europe 4-0.
The icing on the delectable cake was the brief but effective cameo from new signing David Pizzaro who looks like the perfect player for us to bring on when opposing teams are chasing the game. Almost every pass he made lead to a chance and he even got himself on the scoresheet with a tidy finish, if he gets space at the back end of matches there is no doubt in my mind that he'll punish teams.
So slumped in the car, body clock well and truly Donald Ducked from the bizarrely timed 5pm start, Mancini then confirmed what most City fans have reluctantly come to accept. Carlos Tevez will don the sacred sky blue shirt once more. I'm no fan of Tevez after the utter disrespect he showed to the club and manager, but what is obvious is that his return and with it his goals cannot possibly hinder City's challenge both domestically or in Europe, people should be afraid, very afraid the Manchester City machine is once again fully fuelled and ready to fire.
As for Porto, relinquishing their Europa League crown understandably didn't sit to well with them, especially with the not so incredible Hulk, who resembled a slightly overweight school girl desperately crying whilst hitting the deck at will, rather than a footballer rumored to be worth upwards of £80million. The only crumb of comfort they can take from the early exit is that their 6-1 defeat to City came over two matches, unlike our nearest and dearest rivals whose humiliation was confined to 90 minutes.
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