Corresponding fixtures & what it tells
Chart shows how City/Chelsea have fared in each game (dropped/gained points), its affect on total points difference (dropped or gained) & finally total point for each team (we hope to update &publish it after every game)
City have dropped points twice and gained twice too. Overall, they are just two points behind compared to last season (25 now compared to 27 last season). Not bad, eh?
Corresponding Fixtures: Chelsea
Let’s look at Chelsea: In each game either Chelsea has fared similarly to last season or improved/gained points*. Chelsea has just dropped 2 points and that too against City & other clubs have not been able to stop them. Compared to last season, Chelsea are a MASSIVE 8 points ahead (32 now compared to 24 last season). Chelsea is doing spectacularly well & is leaving no room for errors for City. As per this post & stats, City is doing pretty good in most areas (just the almighty results) and is expected to pick up soon. Slow starters?
Heck, that’s the problem against Mourinho!
Mourinho doesn’t drop points
Historically, Mourinho’s just doesn’t drop points from winning position. Look at each of his seasons since joining Chelsea in 2004-05.
Mourinho propels himself in top position & once there, with about one-third season gone, it’s impossible to dethrone him – just look at game number 11 or 12 in each of his title winning season & its pretty clear. And 12 games gone in this season & Chelsea is a dominant #1.
Slight aberration to this is 90-10 season, where Roma put up terrific pressure at end of season on Mourinho’ Inter & lost title by just one game – 2 points. Another is Barca 10-11, but this was against the great Pep’ Barca & to regain #1, Barca went on a 21 games unbeaten streak. If City want to retain title, they would have to do very similar.
Whenever Mourinho has lost title (MUFC 06-07, Barca 10-11 (somewhat) & 12-13 & City 13-14), he has always lagged behind from start & is unable to hunt down #1. Mourinho is no Hunter. Lesson for Messer’s Pellegrini on how to compete against Mourinho.
Some hope though (and its hope that kills): While Mourinho likes to be dictate from a position of lead, City are pretty good Hunters themselves (2011-12 & 2013-14). If this race goes to last few months of season, its all upon City to not give up, it would be an interesting fight between contrasting strengths.
Txiki & Soriano’s position to be reviewed
A bit over the top, isn’t it? But it was from Simon Mullock so it deserved some careful deliberation rather than sweeping it aside.
Some Txiki decisions last summer always looked on riskier side: Levy-esque selling of Negredo in final days of transfer window (while reports of his unhappiness surfaced months earlier), very long contracts for good but inconsistent, injury-prone & non-core players and hiring majority of players with little shelf life left (for a second year running).
Role of DoF is, obviously, complex & far ranging. One major aspect was strengthening of first team for short, medium & long term. Issue becomes when objectives & focus of top staff is too short term (immediate impact & less care for future) or too long term (difficult to measure exact performance/impact) at expense of medium-term.
Too many players are at fag end of peak (bought or through contract extensions), leaving the team exposed in medium-term (4-5 years). With academy some years away from producing first team players regularly, there’s a big hole left for immediate future. And while the work on it should have started in earnest, it didn’t in last summer. With FFP, transfer kitty available will be rationale & not free flowing – it will be imperative to recoup some part of transfer fee spent on players & there’s obviously not much we can generate from old hogs.
But in fairness, the same FFP constrained Txiki in going after young-high cost players. So while we are late, we have not missed the bus to focus on medium term & I think Txiki is smart enough to rectify it.
Taking a slight detour here: There are too many weak links still in this team & we would have to start overhauling this team starting next season & replacing the old-unimportant-inconsistent parts with newer ones. How-why-which parts, is a separate-long discussion & we hope to address it soon.
With Txiki doing a fantastic job behind scenes at academy, benefit of doubt due FFP constraints & the almighty Pep-Txiki factor, his position should be safe atleast for next term. 2015 summer will be huge though with City expected to make marquee signings & any slip ups in it would not bode well.
From a far distance it seems, nothing has stirred Sheikh’s football imagination like the multi-club ownership model. While it is present in a different form, a same-sport (football) multi-club umbrella group company has never been tried. And Ferran Soriano is THE brain behind it. And let’s admit it, without Ferran Soriano, this grandiose plan will find it hard to find its feet. There have been no slip-ups in this expansion & in making City a commercial powerhouse. So while there can be reasons for some hushed murmur’s on Txiki, Ferran Soriano is impeccable till now.
*Note: While this was written after Game #12, Chelsea has already played 13th game. It’s not considered for consistency sake (12 games for both City & Chelsea). From a corresponding games perspective, Chelsea has dropped two points compared to last season & total points difference is +6. City needs to capitalize on each of these opportunities & has to to reduce the gap to start putting pressure on Mourinho.