Pitchside

Facts: 7 truths – Man City, Mourinho, Moyes

Pitchside

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1. Manchester City are feeling the heat

With the normally mild-mannered Vincent Kompany sent off after losing his head following an uncharacteristic boo-boo, City could be shorn of their only good centre-back for at least the Fulham game.

Kompany’s ban could be extended if he is found to have made an offensive gesture to the fourth official, which would be disastrous for a side who should really be winning the league at a canter. Coupled with Pablo Zabaleta’s sending off in midweek, and Martin Demichelis’ single-minded pursuit of self-destruction, could City be their own worst enemy in the run-in?

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2. Mourinho should stick with his gut instinct

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho was set to replace midfielder Willian, who was on a booking, but held off on the switch. Seconds later, the Brazilian was dismissed for a trip on Fabian Delph. It was a decision that could cost the Blues the title.

Chelsea played the last 20 minutes with 10 men, conceded a goal, and then went down to nine after Ramires’ rush of blood to the foot.

‘The Special One’ has developed a reputation for tremendous control over how a football match unfolds. Perhaps he should have more faith in his instincts during the title race run-in.

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3. Felix Magath really, really hates slackers

Cauley Woodrow was handed a second consecutive start by the Fulham boss, despite his only previous first-team experience having been with Southend in League Two, where he hardly set the world alight. Hugo Rodallega, a Colombia international, was on the bench while World Cup bound Greek Kostas Mitroglou and proven goal-getter Darren Bent were not even in the squad.

Why? Because they’re a bit slack in training, apparently. Luckily Fulham won against Newcastle, but they need at least four more wins to have a prayer of staying up. Less than 100% at training does not always translate into slack performances when it counts. Bent and Mitroglou need to be rehabilitated, and fast.

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4. The heat is off Luis Suarez… for now

Every time a feature on the moral conundrum that is diving crops up, it is soon followed by a barrage of angry Liverpool fans attempting to brand any mention of Luis Suarez within said feature as a ‘witch hunt’, despite just how many contentious falls the Uruguayan has been involved in.

Good news, LFC fans, is that Suarez won’t be the diving poster boy for at least the next few days. Bad news is that Daniel Sturridge is keeping it in the Anfield family. His tumble led to a furious Nemanja Vidic being sent off and smacked of unnecessary pettiness, with Liverpool well in control of the match by that point anyway.

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5. David Moyes is drowning, and nobody’s going to save him

We all know the circumstances behind Moyes’ reign at Man United are by no means making his attempts at Old Trafford any easier. Following on from Sir Alex Ferguson, working with a relatively weak Red Devils squad, yada yada. But can anyone honestly claim, at this juncture, that he’s doing anything to overcome the adversity he knew he’d encounter when he signed the contract?

As Tom Adams points out after the humbling defeat at home to Liverpool and as Liam Happe noted after ‘Harmless Cross-Palooza 2014’ against Fulham, Moyes simply isn’t doing enough with what he has to justify the claim that ANYONE who followed the Fergie dynasty would have strugged this badly. We all know how this is going to end. It’s now just a case of when, and how messy will it be?

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6. Nice guys don’t make for good managers, eh Tim?

Tim Sherwood finds himself subject to more and more abuse each passing week. Abuse which should be aimed at the decision to appoint him, not the man himself. He has actually come across as quite frank and balanced whenever he has been asked to critique his own side's failings. Unfortunately, his ‘salt of the earth geezer’ act is not winning him any fans, especially after two huge defeats in four days.

Just a few short years ago, Spurs fans would have been disappointed but not crestfallen at losing to both Arsenal and Benfica. But after their big spending of the summer and high hopes of finally playing with the big boys, so to speak, such results and the performances that came with them are particularly sobering for those around Tottenham Hotspur.

The saying ‘nice guys finish last’ really does have a special home within football. It’s just a crying shame that they finish behind even the brain surgeons who decide to appoint them as permanent manager when they are all but destined to fail in such an environment.

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7. Tomas Rosicky embodies the rollercoaster that is Wenger’s stubbornness

Rosicky is a player who arrived at Arsenal with a very strong pedigree. He played in a way that looked perfect for the then-mighty Gunners. Since then, there’s been a lot of shouldas, wouldas and couldas – just like in the team as a whole, since 2006.

But much in the way supporting Arsenal as of late has been a cloud of frustration lined with silver moments of wonder, Rosicky’s time at the club continues to have those moments which make the disappointments worth suffering through.

His superb early winner in the North London derby as well as that wonderful chipped finish against Sunderland are perfect examples of how hard-headed Arsene Wenger’s continued faith in the ways that dominated English football back in the day can still make your jaw drop, every now and then.

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