It was perhaps a fitting way for, last season, as voted for by the general public, the best season in 20 years of the Premier League ended in such dramatic circumstances, culminating in City snatching victory from the jaws of the defeat and taking the title away from rivals Manchester United – to win their first title since 1968. As the final day of the season came to a crescendo, City were 2-1 behind to QPR in the 90th minute (United were champions) – just three short minutes later, as Martin Tyler’s voice crackled and broke into ‘Aguero’, City had won the game 3-2 and won the title.
Frustrating would be the best description of this summer for the league champions – that frustration was best captured in a sound bite from Roberto Mancini in his press conference yesterday when asked about transfers, he was not happy but instead told the media: ‘Talk with [Brian] Marwood, please’. There have been no new signings, unprecedented for Manchester City in recent seasons, while despite all the speculation about Emmanuel Adebayor and Roque Santa Cruz, only Owen Hargreaves, Stuart Taylor and Gai Assulin have left the club. City do however remain in the hunt and have been linked with the likes of Robin Van Persie, Javi Martinez and Daniel Agger – you wouldn’t rule out them making at least one signing before transfer deadline day.
There is a case to be made that a club needs to come close to winning a title before winning it reality, experiencing the thrills and spills of a title race but Mancini, to his credit, took on the master of the mind games, Sir Alex Ferguson, head on. City, heading led the Premier League were eight points behind United having lost 1-0 to Arsenal at the beginning of April but six back-to-back wins when the pressure was off, couple with United dropping points was enough to see the Blues win the title on goal difference.
The Etihad was a fortress and has been since December 2010 – the last time City lost at home in the Premier League – last season’s home record was W18 D1 L0, in comparison to their away record which almost hindered their title hopes W10 D4 L5. 93 goals scored and 29 conceded shows that City can defend and can attack but it was not all plain sailing for Roberto Mancini, he did endure many teething problems during the season. One was Carlos Tevez going AWOL in Argentina for a couple of months and the many controversies that have surrounded the Italian’s relationship with Mario Balotelli. Mancini, did however weather these storms, for the season ahead, the question will be can they retain their league title?
Opening five fixtures: Southampton (H), Liverpool (A), QPR (H), Stoke (A) and Arsenal (H)