IF ROBERTO MANCINI is given the push by Sheikh Mansour in the summer, he’ll be happy to see the back of Goodison Park.
In his only outing as a player for Leicester his side were defeated at L4 and since talking the City hot seat he has overseen four successive defeats with just one goal scored. Everything he tried backfired.
Initially he started with three centre backs before switching to a back four and then returning to a back three in the final period of the game. The formations may have changed but whichever shape he went for City were second best.
Unlike their less noisy neighbours, the champions lack real pace in wide areas and an ability to switch to a ‘Plan B’ if their short, probing game isn’t functioning.
Thus, we knew City would look to play through the middle so when we lost possession our players would shrink this area of the pitch with wide players tucking inside and closing off central passing angles to the likes of Silva and Tevez, who increasingly had to funnel across to less dangerous zones on the flanks to pick up the ball.
With a man disadvantage we increasingly relied on the lion hearted running of Seamus Coleman – and the Irishman duly delivered a ruthless destruction of his direct opponent, the £17m Aleksandar Kolarov.
Our figure of 1.65 points per game this season adds up to a total of 63 – more than the 61 that got us fourth spot in 2004/5 but still short of our best points haul under Moyes from 2007/8, when we amassed 65.
If we are going to top that haul we will have to achieve what we have struggled to do in the past and take points on the road at places like Chelsea, Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool in the key games that will ultimately define our season.