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Mixed emotions as Manchester City usher in festive season

Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) will hope his players rush back to form in 2016. Photo courtesy: The Independent
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) will hope his players rush back to form in 2016. Photo courtesy: The Independent
Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini (right) will hope his players rush back to form in 2016. Photo courtesy: The Independent

“Please, Santa, not Pep.”

Manuel Pellegrini will be praying fervently to keep his job as Manchester City boss. But he knows deep inside, it’s not up to him anymore. And Monday’s capitulation to Arsenal in the league will not do much to help his cause.

Ever since rumours began that Pep Guardiola, the superstar manager who can walk into any team he chooses, was facing trying times at Bayern Munich, there have been talks of the blue half of Manchester being his next destination. And now, after the German club announced that Guardiola was indeed leaving Bayern at the end of the season, Pellegrini knows his time as manager is almost up.

The only saving grace will be if City manage to win not only the league, but other pieces of silverware this season, but if Guardiola makes up his mind to head to England, even a slew of trophies will not help Pellegrini keep his post.

As far as Manchester City the team are concerned, they will be more than happy to welcome Guardiola into their fold. It shouldn’t really matter who is at the helm as long as they are winning trophies. But the aura of Guardiola and the fear it generates in the opposition will be factors that cannot be ignored.

Manager saga aside, City will wish for an injection of belief and confidence come the new year. Their star signing Kevin De Bruyne has flashed in parts, but hasn’t taken control of games in a way that justifies his price tag. Another bigĀ import, the 49 million pound Raheem Sterling, has been on the periphery of the action at best. Expensive defender Eliaquim Managala is a liability at best. The old guard of Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, Branislav Ivanovic and David Silva have been ineffective due to a combination of injury and poor form. Their explosive striker Sergio Aguero, too, has missed a chunk of the season to injury.

They will hope the new year brings a change in fortunes. Going by current form, however, they need serious work to make it anywhere near the top. While the quality is obviously there, City haven’t been able to channel it into a serious title challenge this year. They are third on the table, six points adrift of the top.

With 21 games left to play, anything can happen in the Premier League. And in 2016, going by how 2015 has progressed so far, anything can literally happen. There are no guarantees this season, and City will hope they can cash in on lapses on the part of their opponents and end the season on a high.

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