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Back at it

23 August 2012

Since Andy got out the Blog AED and revived this thing, I’ll play along.

A lot has happened since my last post. City succeeded where they had failed the previous season and not only grabbed a Champions League spot, but finished level on points with Chelsea, behind only Manchester United. Then they won the FA Cup for their first major trophy in my lifetime. They followed that up by winning the Premier League last season in just about the most thrilling way you can win something in all of sports, with Sergio Agüero’s 94th-minute goal now the signature moment in Premier League history.

Of course, I can always find cause for complaint, and this is still City we’re talking about, so it’s hardly been a smooth ride. Despite being favorites to win the Europa League last season, City crashed out without reaching the quarterfinals during a very poor two-month spell. Then there was the maddening stretch last season where it felt like the officials were out to get us with decisions like the blown offside call in the last-gasp defeat at Sunderland and the Vincent Kompany dismissal that effectively knocked City out of both domestic cup competitions. Then my club fell at the first hurdle in their inaugural Champions League campaign, and were upset by Sporting after parachuting into the Europa League. On top of all that, City fans had to endure a torturous month-plus when they went from five points clear at the top of the league on March 4 to eight points behind United with six matches to play on April 8, prompting some morons to award the title prematurely to Sir Alex Ferguson’s men.

Wait, did I really just spend twice as long lamenting City shortcomings as celebrating the extremely high highs of the past 18 months? I’m going to have to mull over the implications of this…

So now we’re still sort of in the afterglow from the Agüero goal. The uncharacteristically quiet summer transfer window and a real case of déjà vu in last Sunday’s league opener against Southampton haven’t helped matters. The summer has been characterized more by the transfer deals that didn’t happen: first City refusing to give Eden Hazard the wages he wanted and Chelsea stepping in to do so, then City bowing out of the Robin van Persie bidding to leave United to overpay both Arsenal and the player, then Daniele De Rossi announcing he was staying at Roma.

City did eventually sign Jack Rodwell last week, but I’ve always found Rodwell to be overhyped and the price paid for him seemed exorbitant, especially in light of the club’s sudden frugality that has seen Nigel de Jong headed for the exit after failing to agree to a new deal. Color me unimpressed.

The final week of the summer transfer window could be busy by comparison. If media reports are to be believed, Adam Johnson will be sold and replaced by Swansea’s Scott Sinclair. I remain unconvinced that this is an upgrade. Sinclair is decent, but this level of transfer target is pretty underwhelming, considering what we’re used to seeing. I think this still leaves City short at the back, with a left-footed center back badly needed. And that’s assuming Edin Džeko and Aleks Kolarov aren’t sold this month as has been rumored.

So yeah, Roberto Mancini’s public comments aside, expectations are sky high for City this season, with a successful defense of the Premier League title being the minimum acceptable trophy haul. City will be in Pot 2, so there shouldn’t be a repeat of last season’s Champions League Group of Death and a run to at least the semis of the competition is expected. A domestic cup would be window dressing at this point.

No sweat, right?

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