The nigh invincible Citizens on a serious winning streak
With their absolutely scintillating 5-1 beating of Tottenham at White Hart Lane – Spurs’ home stadium, no less – Manchester City looks to be downright unstoppable in the grueling road to another Premier League title for the 2013-2014 season. (Interestingly, even beaten Tottenham manager Tim Sherwood had to admit that Man City is “the best team in the league by a country mile”.) And now, Man City has emerged once more as a true force to be reckoned with – much of their success has come from one of the world’s most highly acclaimed football managers: Manuel Pellegrini.
The Chilean manager has a well-earned reputation for turning around the fortunes of clubs that would have fallen by the wayside of relegation. Pellegrini – seemingly blessed with an uncanny ability to make the most out of financially strapped teams that are widely regarded as underachievers – coached Spanish football clubs Villarreal and Malaga from the doldrums of losing streaks to UEFA Champions League qualifiers. Amazingly, Pellegrini’s success with both of these clubs usually manifested after his first full season as a manager.
Of course, sandwiched between his five-year Villarreal stint (July 2004 to June 2009) and nearly three-year Malaga spell (November 2010 to May 2013) was a managerial spot in yet another Spanish football club: Real Madrid. Although the Chilean’s truncated run (June 2009 to May 2010) as the manager for the world’s wealthiest football club ended in frustration and controversy, Pellegrini still put forth a valiant effort in managing some of this generation’s finest football players, including megastar Cristiano Ronaldo in a blockbuster £80 million transfer from Manchester United. As a matter of fact, Pellegrini’s Real Madrid side achieved 96 points in La Liga, the highest points total that Real Madrid had ever achieved in a La Liga season up to that point.
Now at the helm of the 2013-2014 Premier League’s most dominant club to date, Pellegrini’s calm and understated coaching style has meshed superbly with the well-rounded and supremely motivated players of Manchester City. The Man City side’s recent odds reflect the championship-level calibre of the team. Bwin.com had pegged the Citizens at 1.80 to win their February 4 game against Chelsea FC; likewise, veteran sports writer Mike Norman had picked the Citizens at 1.81 to win the Premier League title.
In the Citizens’ 5-1 rout over the Spurs, Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure, Edin Dzeko, Stevan Jovetic and team captain Vincent Kompany all scored crucial goals as Man City moved ahead of Arsenal in the Premier League rankings. And with the Citizens’ come-from-behind victory over current UEFA Champions League champions Bayern Munich in their own Allianz Arena back in December 10, 2013, Pellegrini is rightfully confident that Manchester City can stand up to Europe’s elite clubs.