Monday, September 15, 2014

A Reality Check For Manuel Pellegrini

This morning I read an article where Manuel Pellegrini was complaining about Manchester City's group draw in the Champions League versus that of Arsenal. His basic point is that since Manchester City won the EPL last season, they should be rewarded with an easier draw than Arsenal, who finished 4th and qualified through the playoffs.

Without saying Arsenal by name, Pellegrini alluded to the club when he said, 

"I don´t think it´s good that the teams who play qualification because they finished fourth in their domestic leagues are in pot one (top seeds), where the strongest teams should be.
‘In our group we have three domestic champions, the English champions, the German champions, and the Russian champions (CSKA Moscow). So our group seems a bit unbalanced.
‘Maybe in the future there will be a system for the teams in the pots which goes according to their position in their leagues and the points won in Europe.
‘I think we need to find a modification whereby, for example, all teams who play qualification go into pot four, and all champions of their respective leagues and have a lot of points in Europe (a high coefficient) go into pot one. 
‘There is a need for some modifications to not let something like what happened to us happen again, while the teams that play preliminaries appear to be the most important ones in Europe.

To be fair, he has a point. Clubs that do the best should be rewarded as such. However, the more I thought about it, the more I completely disagree with Pellegrini. Yes clubs that perform the best should be rewarded, however, when a club simply purchases success that takes away from clubs such as Arsenal and yes even Manchester United, Liverpool and others that have a long history of domestic success, trophies and European experience.
Arsenal team in the Champions League 2006 final
I have been following Arsenal and the EPL since 1998 and I seem to remember Manchester City as a club that bounced around between the EPL and Division 1, including a stop in Division 2. Meanwhile, during this 18 year period Arsenal won three EPL titles and finished no lower than 4th every season. As for Manchester City, until Sheikh Mansour purchased the club and infused it with his oil money in 2008, Manchester City was rather irrelevant and players such as Shaun Goater were their "stars".

Here's a look at the finishes over the past 18 years for Manchester City and Arsenal. Perhaps Pellegrini should take a look at these statistics as they are quite telling.

1997-98       Manchester City      22nd relegated from Div 1     Top scorer Paul Dickov
                     Arsenal                    1st in EPL                                Top scorer Dennis Bergkamp

1998-99       Manchester City       3rd in Division 2 promoted    Top scorer Shaun Goater
                    Arsenal                      2nd in EPL                              Top scorer Nicolas Anelka              
1999-00       Manchester City       2nd in Division 1 promoted   Top scorer Shaun Goater
                     Arsenal                      2nd in EPL                             Top scorer Thierry Henry

2000-01      Manchester City        18th relegated from EPL       Top scorer Shaun Goater
                    Arsenal                       2nd in EPL                             Top scorer Thierry Henry

2001-02      Manchester City         1st in Division 1 promoted   Top scorer Shaun Goater
                    Arsenal                       1st in EPL                              Top scorer Thierry Henry

2002-03      Manchester City         9th in EPL                            Top scorer Nicolas Anelka
                   Arsenal                        2nd in EPL                            Top scorer Thierry Henry

2003-04      Manchester City        16th in EPL                            Top scorer Nicolas Anelka
                   Arsenal                        1st in EPL                              Top scorer Thierry Henry

2004-05      Manchester City         8th in EPL                             Top scorers  Robbie Fowler/                                                                                                                    Shaun Wright-Phillips
                   Arsenal                        2nd in EPL                             Top scorer Thierry Henry

2005-06     Manchester City         15th in EPL                             Top scorers Andrew Cole/                                                                                                                         Darius Vassell
                   Arsenal                        4th in EPL                              Top scorer Thierry Henry                                                  
2006-07     Manchester City          14th in EPL                            Top scorer Joey Barton
                   Arsenal                        4th in EPL                              Top scorer Robin van Persie

1997-08    Manchester City           9th in EPL                             Top scorer Elano
                  Arsenal                         4th in EPL                              Top scorer Adebayor

2008-09    Manchester City          10th in EPL                            Top scorer Robinho
Sheikh Mansour purchases club 9/2008
                  Arsenal                        4th in EPL                               Top scorer Robin van Persie

2009-10    Manchester City          5th in EPL                               Top scorer Tevez
                 Arsenal                         3rd in EPL                               Top scorer Cesc Fabregas

 2010-11    Manchester City          3rd in EPL                             Top scorer Tevez
                  Arsenal                          4th in EPL                             Top score Robin van Persie

2011-12   Manchester City            1st in EPL                              Top scorer Aguero
                Arsenal                            3rd in EPL                             Top scorer Robin van Persie

2012-13   Manchester City            2nd in EPL                             Top scorers Carlos Tevez/                                                                                                                       Sergio Aguero
                Arsenal                            4th in EPL                              Top scorer Theo Walcott

2013-14   Manchester City            1st in EPL                               Top scorer Sergio Aguero
                 Arsenal                          4th in EPL                               Top scorer Olivier Giroud

                          Trophies and Champions League Participation      
                          EPL Titles /FA Cup /League Cup/ Comm. Shield             
Manchester City     2                   1                   1            1               

Champions League History -  3 entries 2011-2014/Group Stages 2x, Round of  16 1x

Arsenal                    3                    5                  0            5              

Champions League History - 18 straight entries 1998-2014/Runners Up 1x, Semis 1x, Quarters 4x Round of 16 6x, Europa Cup Runners Up 1x

Yes Manchester City are currently one of the toughest teams in the EPL. However, this is a recent phenomenon that was not truly earned by the organization through recruitment and player development. Instead, they have spent untold billions to buy some of the best players in the world while also purchasing "feeder" clubs in New York and Melbourne. They are basically operating as the New York Yankees did under George at all costs and buy championships. 

If Manchester City want to be in Pot 1 of the Champions League draw every year, then they should earn that right by creating some history and a legacy both domestic and in Europe. So far all they've done is purchase the right to be in the tournament.

No comments:

Post a Comment