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Monday, August 3, 2009

Hughes Man City's Weak Link

            As Manchester City approach what could be the biggest season in club history, set to boast their new, all-star line up, it is not their shallow defensive forces nor their inexperience as a big club that is their weakness.  Rather, it is their manager.  No one at Eastlands is under more pressure than the man at the helm: Mark Hughes.  Should he do anything but meet the enormous expectations that have been set for him, Hughes will be the first out the door at City.  And truly, this seems the most likely scenario.

            The fact of the matter is that Hughes has never been in a “big-time” situation like this.  Unlike his senior career where he thrived at some of Europe’s biggest clubs (Manchester United, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Chelsea), the Welshman’s managerial resume consists of only two four-year stints in charge of the Wales national team and Blackburn Rovers, two sides with nothing but mediocre expectations every year.  While Hughes did do a decent job at each position, admittedly neither situation was nearly as demanding as the challenge he now faces with City.

            Interestingly enough, too, is that while it is left to Hughes to please or disappoint the club’s new, big-spending, owners, it is his player’s expectations that are destined to be unfulfilled also.  Ironically, City’s new star-studded line up consists of players who have come from clubs much bigger than any of the sides Mark Hughes has managed: Robinho from Real Madrid, Carlos Tevez from Manchester United, Emmanuel Adebayor and Kolo Toure of Arsenal, and Gareth Barry of Aston Villa.  While, yes, many of these players are loving their newly-doubled wages (or some absurd increase in income), first-class managers and winning are commonplace for them.  Should Mark Hughes not bring home the results, his team will be quite frustrated.

            Recent events indicate the unrest has already begun to unravel within the City squad, and with two of the team’s best players.  Brazilian international Elano has just left for Turkish side Galatasaray, citing improper use of his abilities by Hughes as the reason for his departure.  And fellow countryman Robinho, who was reportedly unhappy last year at Eastlands, has said he is “saddened” by Elano’s transfer.  In other words, he wants out of Manchester, too.

            Such discontent looming above City before the season has even started does not foresee a good future at Eastlands.  While City are indeed on the right track to making the prized break into England’s “Big Four,” such a conquest does not happen with a snap of the fingers.  The puzzle pieces may be there, but if the talent on the pitch far exceeds that of the manager, the puzzle cannot be put together.  Thus, realistically, in a campaign where anything but a top four finish may be deemed unsuccessful, for Manchester City, it looks as if Mark Hughes has been set up for failure this coming season.


  1. I posted a comment earlier, but I think it got deleted. How do you feel about Michael Owen thus far? Will he fill the shoes of Ronaldo, if not surpass him? Also, do you have faith in Rooney to step it up and become the frontrunner for Man Utd?

  2. Owen was a fantastic signing for United because it was a free transfer. Unlike Newcastle, United have depth, so Owen won't play game-in, game-out, thus reducing his awful injury-prone-ness. He's been scoring goals this offseason, so thus far, things look good.

    No one will replace Ronaldo because he scored something like 90 goals over the past three years, which is absurd. And Rooney is good, but not good enough to take over the team like Christiano did. So basically, it's going to have to be a collective effort from United, along with a little bit of genius from the Knight in charge.

  3. Hey Kurt, I take it you may be a Red Devil fan? If so, check out my first two articles.

  4. Haha, yeah Will, you guessed right. I'm a Red Devil fan. Since the streaming of TV online came about, it was a lot easier to watch/follow them.

    And I agree with you on Owen. He's been playing really hot, especially in the Asia Tour, but I don't see him getting as much PT as everyone is anticipating him to get.

    And, as a Man U fan, I'll allow anyone to say what they want about Ronaldo, i.e. "He was a showoff," "He only played for himself," etc. and whatever else "they" may say. Say what you want, but he was a fantastic player, and a great asset to Man U that will definitely be missed. How Real Madrid can work his ridiculous salary into the payroll is beyond me, but I don't know much about La Liga teams aside from Barca.

    And definitely, Sir Alex hasn't failed me thus far, and his coaching ability never ceases to amaze me. My man Ryan Giggs, Rooney, Nani, Vidic, and the young Macheda should do just fine for Man U, along with Owen. So, a bit of rebuilding and re-strategizing is in order, but I still see a great year ahead of them. As you said, the Knight will pull through.

    And I'm gonna check out those Man U articles now

  5. You definitely hit the nail on the head in both posts. I liked the break down in the first one, particularly the parts about how Ronaldo's best interest in coaching was to stay with Man U, because that was a legitimate concern of mine for him as well. As you said, Real has cold feet with managers, which isn't in Ronaldo's best interest, as I feel Ronaldo to be a player that was a product of a fantastic coach.

    And you're right, as a Man U fan, I'm concerned about this year, but I still feel as though the year could still be a decent year (certainly not as good as 07-08, but still promising). Tevez and Ronaldo leaving were huge concerns of mine, but looking at an otherwise "stacked" (if you will) Man United, with big names like Rooney, Giggs, Berbatov, etc., they'll still remain a top shelf EPL team. However, their competition amongst other league teams is what scares me. They seem to be competent amongst other EPL teams, but a game against Barcelona or Real Madrid at this point scares me. Hopefully the chemistry and workings of Sir Alex will have a good bearing on Man U.

  6. Glad you like the articles. I'm trying to knock out one a day, or so, so hopefully I can attract a lot of readers and bloggers here on the site.

    I'm not a Man United fan, but they are always a fun team to write about. Giggsy is my boy, too.

    And about Real funding Ronaldo's transfer fee, I heard that they already sold enough jerseys to pay it off... wow.

  7. Yeah man definitely, it's a cool little blog you've got going here. I've tried to start something like this up, but just never really found the time and/or patience. But, during the school year for my journalism efforts, I'd like to make some time to get one started. It's cool to communicate with someone who is as passionate about it as you, because the majority of my friends (aside from two of them, and they're both Chelsea fans) don't really care much for soccer, so it's usually just me watching the games by myself online or ESPN if I'm lucky.

    Ryan Giggs is just fantastic. He's an integral part of why I chose to follow Man Utd back when I first got into soccer, so I feel this devotion to him as a player, and since he's been a loyal Man Utd player, I've been a fan of Man Utd.

    And about that Ronaldo transfer fee being paid off, that's just ridiculous. One of the biggest, if not the biggest transfer fees in history, was paid off by jersey sales..that's true devotion to both a player and a team. I wish we could see that kind of devotion here in the States..

  8. Yeah America is wack in that respect. But, keep reading and commenting, thanks. I wanted to make decent progress before I told people about this, but now that I'm finally trying to recruit bloggers like yourself, hopefully we can make this a little more interactive- get some heated debates and stuff. Eventually, I'd like to get an individual domain with a bunch of kids that we can each have our own page to write on. I've mentioned this to many of my hooligan friends back home in CT. (I've noticed that Pittsburgh doesn't have many soccer fans, though, like you said.) You know, get an actual website up and running. So, if that ever happens, I'm sure you could work on it with me. And tell your Chelsea friends that even though their team sucks balls, they are more than welcome to blog here on the site.

  9. Wow man, that's excellent. It'd be awesome to get a steady following that interacts with one another for sure. And the pages/domain name idea sounds great, it'd be really great to have separate users each blogging about different things that all connect back to a home page. It'd really create a great environment for sake of blogging, and, like you said, heated debates. I'd be more than glad to work on it with you and get a legit site up and running. And I'll definitely tell my Chelsea friends about this site: I'm sure they'll enjoy it. That is, if they'll ever get over how badly their team choked in PK's again Man United in 08. I would have hoped that'd convince them otherwise to follow another team, but hey, the hopeless shall remain hopeless, haha.

    And as you said and have noticed, you're right, there's not much of a soccer following here in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, it's all about the Steelers and Penguins, and while I do follow the Penguins, I'd love to have a soccer team here. We have the Riverhounds, and they play in the USL Second Division. Their home stadium is a high school football field, but I've never actually been to a game.

    If you ever want to meet up at school to talk about getting the site advanced or watch a match or something, just let me know. As for now, I'll just keep checking back, posting comments, etc.

  10. Nice, sounds good. We should definitely meet up when school starts again.

  11. Yeah man, that sounds good. I'm in Towers this year.

  12. Oh, nice man. I'm floor 4. That makes it a lot more easier to meet up and such.