Part of this, a significant part, is the turnover in managers from Sven to Hughes to Mancini. However no other club is getting rid of its best players the way City are. The replacements, it can be argued, are better than those that have left.
Such change takes time. Hughes was not given the time to create a complete team or squad. Will Mancini? On the evidence of the game against Spurs, an admittedly small sample, City have a lot of work to do.
The reemergence of Joe Hart and arrivals of Boateng, Kolarov, Small Berries, Milner, Silva and Balotelli combined with Adam Johnson comprise a significant makeover one year after Hughes initiated a similar spree. I just do not see this team coming together quickly. The new team that Hughes put together didn't, it's not a stretch to see Mancini similarly struggle.
I agitated for the removal of Hughes for a number of reasons not least the failure of being able to work with his best talent. The loan of Bellamy to Cardiff City is extremely frustrating for practical reasons. I understand that the Welshman does not fit Mancini's vision for the future. However it seems to me that particularly after the World Cup a player of such experience and ability, who did not play in South Africa, would have been a very useful contributor, at least until the end of August.
The summer arrivals and the starting formation against Valencia in pre season lead me to believe that the Inter diamond is one of Mancini's preferred formations. It, the diamond, works in a specific manner and the use of three DMC's makes sense within that context. Yet against Spurs the team lined up in what appeared to be a 4-5-1 with Silva and SWP on the wings and Tevez up front. Tevez will never be a lone striker, ever. His natural tendency is to fill the hole behind a lead striker. As David Silva drifted in from the wing and Tevez came back for the ball the City players got in each others way as the formation became at best a 4-6-0. Time and again City had no one in the box when a cross was being prepared.
Compare this to the Sven era 4-2-3-1 where the attacks went through Petrov on the left and City would usually have four players crashing the box, the striker and AMC initially drawing the defense with Ireland and then Johnson coming in on the back of the play usually to great effect.
City could have, and probably should have lost to Spurs by at least three clear goals so dominant were Tottenham in the first half. The players seemed lost and tired playing in an unfamiliar formation and with new team mates. Would it really have hurt City so much to use a counter attacking 4-2-3-1 with the three consisting of Bellamy, A. Johnson and Ireland for a couple of games while slowly adding in the new players as their conditioning returns after the World Cup? Mancini was quoted as saying he only had one day to work with the team; which is my point. As such I think we should look at the Spurs game as a fortunate point gained.
I suppose my frustration is of what appears to be an opportunity lost. Tonight's game against Timisoara is not one that I relish. With the players that City have, if this game was played in 6 months I'd expect City to walk it in a stroll. Wouldn't be close. There is that potential this evening as well, but there is also the distinct possibility that a well schooled technically inferior squad could do a number on Mancini's men much to the delight I'm sure of the red tops.
The pressure on Mancini must be immense. He has, not unreasonably, decided that he will live or die with the players that he wants on the team. I'm a quite confident that given time Mancini will end the club's silverware drought. I just have an uncomfortable feeling that the route the manager has selected is going to have more than a few bumps along the way.