You can run - but you can’t hide City.

Published: Monday, 06 February 2023

For anyone that’s been following the saga, today’s announcement of charges levelled at City by the PL comes as no surprise. It’s something we’ve constantly referred to on beINSPORTS since Der Speigel published documents from football’s wiki-leaks cache first discovered by hacker Rui Pinto.

City have done everything in their power to frustrate and block the PL’s enquiries - including claiming that the info gleaned was inadmissible because the emails that condemned them were ‘hacked’ and ‘taken out of context’. Rubbish.

They used this excuse when they went to the Court of Arbitration to overturn a two-year CL ban imposed by UEFA. Then they successfully argued that the breaches were either ‘not established’ or ‘time-barred’. The PL were not under the same constraints when it came to pursuing their enquiries.

So what now for City? Well, it’s not too long ago that Rangers were relegated to the bottom tier of Scottish football - without due process - for far fewer offences than the 100 City have been charged with. Is that precedent? Should City be relegated if found guilty of the most serious offences? Stripped of titles? Don’t expect a speedy outcome but it’s all possible nooooooowwwww.

And do we think Guardiola will be at City at the start of next season? Even without this latest development I’d argue not.

There is something clearly not right at The Etihad. The unrest has been brewing almost as long as it’s taken for these charges to materialise.

Issues with Cancelo we are now very much aware of. Where is Foden? What about Phillips (or is he still too fat Pep?) Why isn’t Laporte playing? He’s City’s best centre-back. Why didn’t de Bruyne start at Spurs? A sniffer dog would be kept pretty busy in that dressing room right now.

And what’s all this nonsense with the ‘inverted’ Lewis? It’s this obsession as much as anything else that’s disturbed City.

Look at the goal Spurs scored. City are over-playing as usual. They get jumped all over. Lewis isn’t strong enough to resist the press on the edge of the box. Spurs are in. Kane scores once they take Akanji out - whose got the full width of the box to defend because Aki is at left-back, where Lewis should be. If Aki is where he should be - at left centre-back - Kane probably doesn’t score.

The knock on effect - with City in possession - is that Walker is too scared to go. De Bruyne is ineffective because he’s having to provide the width - last season he took 24% of his touches on the wing - now it’s 35%. And he’s without a goal in 12 appearances.

The service for Haaland has dried up. He didn’t get one touch in Spurs’ box. Not one - all game. It’s as if City have reverted to type and he’s now got to adapt to them - rather than them adapting to him, which appeared to be the case early in the season.

Regulars know that Guardiola isn’t my favourite. Why does he have to complicate things so much? Why try to be so clever? Why look at his inquisitors from the tv broadcast companies like they’re a piece of shit on his shoe? He’s contracted to talk to them - but he shouldn’t bother because it’s always very evident that he can’t be bothered.

Sean Dyche proved that football is a simple game. Well played mate. What a start. All of a sudden Evertonians are looking forward to next week’s derby. And with good reason.

Liverpool’s problems are not dis-similar to City’s. What a shame that Klopp appears to be doing his best to impersonate Guardiola in his post match press conferences now. What was that about at Wolves - blanking James Pearce from The Athletic because he doesn’t like what Pearce has previously written? Pathetic. There’s only one winner when a coach falls out with the press - and it’s not the coach.

My guess is Klopp will walk. Not now - but if they’re knocked out of the CL by Real Madrid I think he’ll be gone before the start of next season.

Liverpool are way off. A shadow of what they once were - and it’s no good blaming FSG. The downfall is Klopp’s responsibility. He didn’t start the re-build soon enough.

That was one of Fergie’s greatest strengths - that he would rip apart successful teams. What were Liverpool thinking keeping Milner, Henderson and Firminho? Tiago is past his best - not that I was ever a fan He was the wrong player at the wrong club at the wrong time. He slows Liverpool down. In fact, the entire mid-field is too old or not good enough. Robertson is past his best. Whoever is in charge next season has a massive job on his hands. Do we believe Klopp is up for it? I don’t.

How long do we think Graham Potter has got? I can’t think that Mourinho would be making as much noise as he is (sorry, his advisors are) if he didn’t think there was a chance he might get another crack at Chelsea. Watch this space.

What about Nathan Jones? Can he cling on? What a bizarre press conference he held post match Saturday. It wouldn’t surprise me if Saints didn’t make another change before the end of the season.

Well done Steve Cooper. Forest are edging to safety. I always said I thought they’d get enough points at home to cling on for another season. I still think they will.

There’s always a surprise struggler. For me - it could to be Palace. They’ve won just one of the last eight - a run which hasn’t really been talked about because there’s a lot going on elsewhere - not least at Leeds, who’ve won only two in 17 - losing ten in that sequence. How long has coach Marsch got? Interesting times eh?