By Ewan Day-Collins
The intensity of the passion at the Etihad Stadium last night was unprecedented. Fans who have waited for 44 years finally grasped a seemingly elusive crown. So significant is this result; enhanced by the dramatic form it took. Not just one, but two, last minute goals; stimulating joy in sky blue, dismay for those in red.
Manchester United will come again. But now is not the occasion for commiserations for those who have triumphed so often. It is Manchester City’s time.
Perhaps this is the start of a dynasty, the victory stimulating thoughts of City’s future domination, in England and in Europe. Considering the scenes yesterday, this is not unjustified speculation, but to assume their work is done, and power secured, would be detrimentally complacent.
Owner Sheikh Mansour was not present to view his £930m toy become champions. His adventure was supposedly to boost global interest in the Emirates, yet the profligacy that has defined Manchester City suggests a certain desire for control, an underlying craving for impressive, unmatched power. Justified arrogance is perhaps his wish. City certainly had swagger by the end yesterday.
Yet, even despite Sergio Aguero’s title-clinching goal, City will continue to strive for more, demand further and sustained authority. Europe is the next target.
If Champions League glory is to be achieved, much more will need to be done, improvements made. When Yaya Toure departed the field due to injury, City looked hapless. Against a ten-man Queen’s Park Rangers side, without their red-carded captain Joey Barton, City not only failed to win for 90 minutes, but even came close to losing. The pain for present fans was palpable, irrational hope keeping them alive.
Maestros as gifted as David Silva, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri all had poor games against a porous defensive unit who deservedly let in six goals against Chelsea just weeks previous. The City defence conceded two goals against a QPR side who only just managed to score more than one a game all season (44) and City are supposed to be the best back line in the country. They got justly fortunate with two late goals, against a lax QPR side that became complacent, safe in the acquired knowledge that Premier League survival was secure.
City failed to defeat Napoli and Bayern Munich when it mattered, and therefore failed to progress from the group stages of the Champions League this year. This suggests that “Big Game Players” don’t necessarily permeate the City squad, with only Toure and heroic captain Vincent Kompany demonstrating their skills adeptly in the closing moments of the season.
These two men also controlled the decisive triumph over a drab United just a few weeks ago. Many talented City players became invisible, having little impact on the game. These players must assume authority if future success is to be consistently attained.
Sorry to dampen the spirits after they are rightly so high following yesterday’s conquest; and to forget City’s 6-1 demolition of United would be unfair (even if the score-line was distorted by three stoppage-time strikes).
However, to assume City will henceforth dominate world football is probably misguided. Chelsea are not in the same Universe in terms of talent as City, yet they possess “Big Game Players”: Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and most recently Ramires have demonstrated qualities under intense pressure, and they find themselves in the 2012 Champions League final as a result – the competition more a test of handling the intensity of the occasion than just a simple game of football won on talent and not temperament. City proved yesterday they have few players capable of overcoming this most difficult of challenges.
City should celebrate, and manager Roberto Mancini should be praised for his continued success, following on from three impressive Serie A titles in Italy. However, talk of dynasties and world domination may be premature. Greatness is yet to be secured.
About the Author
Ewan Day-Collins is a 16-year-old aspiring journalist. He enjoys writing about sport – especially football, cycling and cricket – yet has many other interests besides. As well as writing for OldTrafford.com, Ewan has written for ESPN cricinfo, cricketweb and the i newspaper. He hopes to pursue a career in journalism in the future.