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Will the City Slickers Slip Up Again?

12 Mar | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Will the City Slickers Slip Up Again?

City have the chance to put pressure on a wounded Chelsea this weekend. But their poor form and problems behind the scenes do not inspire confidence

TO SAY that we live in strange times is an understatement.

Last week a woman sent her child to school for World Book Day dressed as a character from the adult novel Fifty Shades of Grey. 

Social media chortled its approval with many people unable (or unwilling) to understand why the boy’s school (rightly) would have no part of it.

This week a bloke allegedly (he denies any wrong doing) clocked a fellow employee at his company and a petition on Twitter to have him reinstated topped 600,000 signatories within 24 hours.

Nothing seems to make any sense any more these days.

So this columnist should not have been surprised when normally sane judges began to buy into the suggestion from Manchester City that there was nothing newsworthy about Vincent Kompany’s dressing room row with Fernandinho at Liverpool.

Nothing to see here they insisted. Happens all the time, they said.

Really? The poorly-performing leader of the defending champions lashing out verbally in a furious row with a team-mate and refusing to take advice or calm down when ordered to by his manager? Not a story?

It showed he cared, said those defending him. It was the sort of thing that happens at clubs up and down the country, they said.

That may be so. But if Kompany really cared he would show some humility, accept that it is just not happening for him at the moment and work on the reasons why.

Instead he continues to be the weakest link in a defence which remains,right now, there for the taking.

Premier League leaders Chelsea are wounded. They looked like rabbits caught in the headlights on Wednesday night against a PSG side energised and motivated by a sense of injustice after wrongly having Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent off for a 50-50 challenge on Blues midfielder Oscar.

Three points for City at Burnley on Saturday would make things interesting for Jose Mourinho’s men going into a tough test 24 hours later at home to Southampton.

But could you back the Citizens to win at Turf Moor with any certainty? Not really. Especially not if Kompany is back in the team.

The Belgian’s conduct in the visitors’ dressing room at Liverpool last week laid bare some of the problems bubbling under the surface of City’s title challenge.

Manuel Pellegrini’s men have won just three of their last ten matches in all competitions. In that time they have kept just two clean sheets.

Going forward they clearly do have the cutting edge to put Burnley to the sword. At the back, however, they continue to have a mistake or two in them.

Burnley, remember, stunned English football by coming back from 2-0 down at the Etihad back in December to take a share of the points. After being held by Everton and Hull since then it would be no surprise to see the Citizens drop points yet again.

It would leave the title race as a procession for Chelsea. And that would be a shame. Pellegrini has an excellent squad but he has none of the tactical nous or the ruthless decision-making of Mourinho.

In fact, given the form of the respective clubs, City appear in more danger of being caught by Arsenal who are just four points behind them.

Arsene Wenger’s men have won 11 of their last 13 matches in all competitions. Confidence is high at the Emirates following Danny Welbeck’s winner to dump Manchester United out of the FA Cup last Monday night.

The Gunners host West Ham (one win from their last 11) on Saturday afternoon and could be just a point behind City by the time Pellegrini’s team kicks off at 5.30pm.

Rather than looking forward, beleaguered City have more reason to be looking over their shoulders.