A balance sheet that reads hundreds of millions more Euros in expenses than income. A defender who is just returning from a suspension enforced because of his use of banned substances. A star striker, former captain, who is on strike and refusing to play for the club anymore. On the brink of an exit from the European Champions League after a defeat by Napoli in Italy. It reads like a club in crisis. Manchester City have one thing, and just one, in their favour. They are top of the English Premier League and sitting pretty.
Take that away, lose the unbeaten record, stumble in a couple of matches and then it will seem like everything is working against the gigantic financial project taking place at the Etihad Stadium, funded by the club’s oil rich owners from Qatar. By the 18th of December Manchester City will have played Liverpool at Anfield, Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and then Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium, all in the English Premier League. On top of that the club will play Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium in the Carling Cup and Bayern Munich at home in the Champions League. Manchester City have big fixtures piling up and it is entirely possible that a stumble in the Carling Cup could end up resulting in a stumble in the English Premier League and a failure in the European Champions League. To put it simply, these are delicate times for Manchester City even if the club do appear comfortable on top of the Premiership table at the moment.
Clubs with more prestige, better players and less pressure have stumbled in far less strenuous circumstances than what Manchester City are about to face over the forthcoming month. Roberto Mancini has a difficult task to motivate his players and improve their morale after the disappointment associated with the club seemingly set to fall flat on their face in their first modern era UEFA Champions League campaign. The club and players had hopes of being in the competition when it entered it’s second, and crucial stage, in the second half of the season and the fact that they are most likely not going to be in the draw for the last 16 is likely to have some type of psychological burden on them. Manchester City are in a quandary and need to navigate their way out.