One of the more annoying cliches in sports is the idea that games are somehow more vital than each other. You hear this all the time, how a game is a "6 pointer" or some such nonsense. The reality is that if you win any of the 38 league games in the Premier League you receive 3 points. It's as true on the opening game of the season as it is against Wigan tonight.
So of course tonight is a vital game against Wigan in the race for the fourth Champions League spot. Yeah, whatever.
City need to gain 6 more points than Spurs over the club's next eight games, including tonight, while Spurs play one less. That's it. City have five home games and only three away from Eastlands against Burnley, Arsenal and on the last day of the season West Ham.
City's final game at home this year is against those same North London rivals, Spurs. Anyone want to bet it will be a "6 pointer?"
Meanwhile I'm going to be very curious as to the fate of Roberto Mancini. Having had the board deem that Mark Hughes wasn't on the appropriate pace to hit 70 points for the season the Italian currently has City chugging along at a 67 point clip.
I'm not going to rehash the whole Hughes situation. I thought he was harshly treated given the circumstances but didn't have the ability to take City to the next level. I believe Mancini does given time. Whether the former Inter boss is given that time is I think debatable and ironically the club has only to look outside the city limits and into Trafford to see the benefits of giving a manager enough time. Old Purple Nose would never have survived in today's climate and you have to wonder which younger Managers have missed out similarly.
What Ferguson had going for him was early success at Aberdeen. Someone like a Gianfranco Zola at West Ham seems out of his depth precisely because he is having not, it would appear from this vantage point, acquired the necessary skills at a previous level.
Mark Hughes is a decent manager, his record at Blackburn showed that and I'll be curious to see where the Welshman ends up. The new Hammers' owners showed at Birmingham that they could oversee a yo-yo club while putting in investment and building for the long term future. I'm not sure Hughes is the guy for that club, but would be interesting to see. If Zola lasts until the end of the season I'm pretty sure he is gone whether the East Londoners stay up or not.
Post World Cup it is going to be a very interesting off season for Managers. City need players still and while not constrained financially it still makes sense to do business prior to the World Cup. If so a commitment to Mancini is needed sooner rather than later.