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Manchester City and Dreary Dominance

March 4th, 2018 · No Comments · Arsenal, English Premier League, Football, soccer

I have never liked the Manchester City club of the English Premier League.

This is not a lifelong thing. No, this is about events and behavior and performances observed during my great Premier League awakening, while working in Abu Dhabi at the start of this decade.

That is when I decided that for better or (mostly) worse, I was an Arsenal fan.

And when I decided the English team I most loathed was … Manchester City, a team bought by a sheikh who has spent extravagantly nonstop since his 2008 acquisition. Welding nouveau-riche behavior on Manchester’s “other” team and turning them into the Bullies of the Prem.

A club once described by Manchester United’s Alex Ferguson as the “noisy neighbors”,  City has gone far beyond noise-making status and has become one of the strongest clubs in the league for a decade, with two league championships (in 2012 and 2014) and a third only a few weeks away.

And, in the meantime, doing significant damage to the Premier League this year by overwhelming it.

As we saw again tonight, as City left defending champions Chelsea begging for mercy in the latter’s craven capitulation to the well-heeled champions in waiting.

The best thing to happen in the Premier League this season? That would be Liverpool 4, City 3, January 14, 2018.

That is the only defeat on City’s league ledger. The only outcome that lends any credence to the notion that City is not miles better than any other Premier League team (it is), a notion antithetical to the world’s most interesting soccer league — known for its furious competition, week in and week out.

Crushed, this season, by City coaching (Pep Guardiola), City players (Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, et al) and, ultimately, City money, provided by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi.

It is bad for the league, and I have been lending my tiny bit of cosmic energy to City opponents all season. To no avail, aside from Liverpool’s wonderful night.

The problem with City is that it not only has buckets and buckets of money, it is that club officials spend it intelligently, generally, including on the hiring of Guardiola, probably the best coach in the world at this moment.

Adding Pep to the expensive talent has created a remarkably dull “race” at the top of the league.

City has a 16-point lead over second-place United and is on pace to obliterate the league record (set by Chelsea in 2004-05) for most points in a season. Currently, the record is 95 points; City is on pace to score 102.

The goals-scored record is heading for the ash heap of history, too. Chelsea scored 103 in 2009-10; City is on pace for 108.

And one more mark at risk: Biggest points gap between first and second. United holds the record (18 points over Arsenal) in 1999-2000. City is on pace to defeat No. 2 United by 21 points (102 to 81).

All that oil-driven dominance has led to a deathly dull season, unless you are a City fan, perhaps.

In the past week, City twice throttled Arsenal by 3-0, including in the final of the league cup, and then kept Chelsea from attempting a single shot on goal on one of the most lopsided 1-0 victories ever seen in the Premier League.

I cannot wait for someone, anyone, in the league to pick themselves up and knock City around. The Premier League is supposed to work like that. But we are running out of time.

Perhaps fortunately, because I am sick and bloody tired of those powder-blue autocrats wrecking England’s season.



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