City Blogger: Blues need to beat triple bogey.
- 27 March 2014 09:11
- Posted by @djwskyblu
When you haven’t won an away game at a certain ground for more than three decades, it’s fair to say you have a problem.
Notwithstanding the fact that you weren’t always in the same division acts as partial mitigation, but it doesn’t disguise the underlying trend of non-achievement.
Up until February 10th, 2008, that was Manchester City’s dubious track record at Old Trafford.
On that day, Sven Goran Eriksson’s unlikely heroes brought a halt to a 34 year winless run, beating Manchester United 2-1 with goals from Darius Vassell and Benjani.
The fact they did so on the emotion-charged 50th Anniversary of the Munich Air Disaster made it all the more memorable. It was especially poignant because of the behaviour of ‘The Impeccables’ – City’s 3,000 travelling support – who observed a minutes silence to honour those who’d perished.
United at OT used to be a bogey fixture – not like today where City roll up, totally outplay the Reds, score a hatful of goals (11 in the last 3 games) and come home with maximum points.
In the ‘good old’ bad old days, City could readily identify up to a dozen opponents as ‘bogey teams’ – the defeats were all too frequent and the victories all too rare.
But what goes around comes around, and more recently City have been dishing out copious servings of karma, balancing the books with past nemeses.
Now, as Manuel Pellegrini’s men compete in what is effectively a nine-game season, they have to overcome some of their most formidable bogey teams in order to reclaim the Premier League (PL) crown.
Boosted by the 3-0 thrashing of United, City know if they can win the 27 points on offer they will be champions…they control their own destiny.
The tough title run-in begins with Arsenal at 17.30hrs this Saturday. Up until January 2013, City had failed to beat their hosts at either The Emirates or the old Highbury for 37 years.
Strikes from James Milner and Edin Dzeko laid that ghost to rest, but the Gunners away hasn’t been a happy hunting ground for a long long time.
An even sterner task awaits next month at Anfield, against a free-scoring Liverpool, who have their own designs on their first ever PL crown.
City have beaten the red Scousers just once in the Premier League era – a Nicolas Anelka inspired 2-1 win in May, 2003.
Prior to that and it’s back to Boxing Day 1981. Older City fans will have vivid memories of a simply glorious 3-1 belated Christmas present, when goals from Asa Hartford, Kevin Bond and Kevin Reeves shocked the likes of Kenny Dalglish, Alan Hansen, Graeme Souness and Ian Rush.
Since Sheikh Mansour’s ownership of City, the Sky Blues have mustered four draws in five visits, but winning…that’s a different matter.
It’s the bogeymen from the blue side of Stanley Park that most City fans will more readily acknowledge as a pain in the proverbial.
Ironically much of Everton’s success against City stems from a certain David Moyes, whose new charges have proved far more amenable, with City taking six points off United and outscoring them 7-1 this season.
City’s quest to Goodison Park usually ends in tears. Just one win in the last 10 visits bears testimony to the Toffees ability to punch above their weight, albeit new manager, Roberto Martinez does so with a more attack-minded approach than his predecessor.
The triumvirate of trips to the two Liverpool clubs and Arsenal may well determine City’s title fate. History is stacked against them, but such is the sheer unadulterated class of an on-song Pellegrini ensemble, who would back against them completing a League Cup & Premier League double?
A side boasting Yaya, Fernandinho, Kompany, Silva, Nasri, Aguero and Kompany are far more interested in making history rather than reflecting on the ills of a bygone age.
Bagging a triple bogey wouldn’t cut it in golfing circles, but nine points from North London and Merseyside could prove pivotal if Pellegrini is to win his first domestic title outside of South America.
Can City do a ‘treble’ to go top & keep up their winning ways, and who represents their biggest threat in the race for Premier League supremacy?
Read more from David on his excellent Read But Never Red blog.