Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Are Man City about to relive the Newcastle collapse of 1996?

Just under a year ago, 1,000 football fans voted Kevin Keegan's famous "I will love it if we beat them" rant as the most popular public managerial loss of temper in Premier League history. No such colourful behaviour yet from Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini, but the Italian will be feeling the same stresses Keegan endured during his Newcastle side's loss of form towards the end of the 1995-96 season. City are second in the Premier League behind leaders Manchester United, despite at one time leading by seven points. United's ability to put together title-sealing runs of form seems to have been replicated again this season. Sir Alex Ferguson's men have collected 25 league points out of a possible 27 since mid-January, the only draw being the thrilling 3-3 comeback when 3-0 down against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. In contrast, recent form makes somewhat grim reading for City. Since a 0-0 draw away to West Bromwich Albion on Boxing Day, they have suffered defeats to Sunderland, Manchester United, Everton and Swansea. On Wednesday, City host a somewhat resurgent Chelsea side since knocking Napoli out of the Champions League. Mancini's men start the evening a full four points behind United, although they do have a game in hand. So what can City learn from history?

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