Win or bust? In the Premier League, City have regressed in almost every area. They have less points, have scored fewer goals and conceded more. Pablo Zabaleta is perhaps the only player who has played better than last season.
The Champions League was nothing more than a disgrace. Montpellier, Dinamo Zagreb and Nordsjaelland were the only other winless teams in this season’s group stage, and all three are operating in different financial spheres to City. Roberto Mancini has moaned that his season has been made difficult by a lack of activity last summer, but the club still shelled out £54million, and Mancini has now spent £292m at Eastlands.
Saturday’s final against Wigan provides the chance for a modicum of redemption, but the Italian would do well to remember that after the title, Champions League and top four finish, City will only be victorious in their fourth priority this season.
Suddenly sh*t got real for Bobby Martinez. On Saturday he will lead out Wigan for their first ever cup final, and yet the speculation before the game will surely surround the Spaniard’s status as favourite to be David Moyes’ replacement at Goodison.
Martinez, for me, is an odd one. Many see him as a breath of fresh air, committed to playing football the ‘right way’ despite his club suffering from a lack of resources. Others believe that given that Paul Jewell kept Wigan in mid table and his reputation is now shattered, Martinez is a lucky boy to be close to a move to a club with genuine top four aspirations.
Saturday’s final will surely end in defeat to Manchester City. Suffer another one in either of their last two league games and Roberto Martinez may well be moving to Merseyside from the Championship.
Alex Ferguson may have announced that he is only leaving at the end of the season, but with United’s last home game on Sunday, it will turn into a ceremony or memory for the club’s outgoing hero. Swansea may still need a point to confirm survival, but they should be aware that they are mere extras in Manchester’s footballing show.
There will be tears and there will be cheers, but it is fitting that the Old Trafford faithful will get to say their adoring goodbyes to their footballing deity. Manchester United’s longest-serving manager and the most successful coach in English football history. Sunday’s game truly marks the end of an era as Fergie manages at the Theatre of Dreams for the last time.
Their late point at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday provided hope of a top four finish, but in reality, with Arsenal facing Wigan at home (and having a far greater goal difference), only a win at Stoke will do this weekend. Anything else and the Europa League again beckons.
Spurs face a tough task, but it is not insurmountable, and Gareth Bale will again consider himself likely to be the potential matchwinner. If not, and the Welshman may well have just one further match in the white of Spurs.