Both sides have suffered the blues this term (pun intended) in equal measure after climbing to the highest heights last year, after a string of disappointments with only momentary excellence.
Both City and Chelsea exited the Champions League at the initial group stages, despite being the reigning champions of England and champions of Europe, respectively. They were both knocked out of the League Cup and fell away all too soon in the title race.
Chelsea are still chasing a cup double as they qualified for the Europa League but City have just one trophy left in the FA Cup and, having seen of Premier League leaders Manchester United in the quarterfinals, Chelsea will not be willing to hand over their cup without a fight.
That is likely to upset the Italian more than it will his Spanish counterpart who inherited the current Chelsea team from Roberto Di Matteo at the tail-end of last year.
Mancini has, however, been building his squad, team and ambitions for the City project for the last 4 years since his appointment by the Abu Dhabi United Group headed by Sheikh Mansour in 2009 replacing the outgoing Mark Hughes.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich has not given any manager in his 10-year hold over the club that length of time to build his project. Chelsea have had 10 managers in 10 years, the longest-serving and most successful being Jose Mourinho who won 6 trophies in just 3 years in charge at Stamford Bridge.
It’s an old adage, ‘more, more problems’ but in this case it rings true. Whilst the majority of the Premier League’s clubs would likely roll their eyes at the suggestion, I’m prepared to assert that throwing money at problems doesn’t solve them.
Yes, there are obvious positives and advantages for those with big-spending owners – trophies; first and foremost, along with the glamour of attracting the world’s finest players and personnel and the resources to create what they imagine will be a utopia.
However, over time that can sometimes turn into a dystopia of almost-Orwellian proportions.
The huge amounts of money involved mean that the stakes are higher, the losses greater and the pressure close to insufferable. Money gives you power but with great power comes great responsibility.
People who make and acquire vast wealth tend to be impatient when it comes to results – they want instant impact. They’re used to getting what they want and they’re used to getting it now.
That is a cumbersome combination – teams take time to build, maintain and improve and expectations, like in any corporation, only ever get higher, targets only ever increase and, if they’re not met, frustrations and tensions are fostered.
Political maneuvers start to take shape and whispers in backrooms hint at doubt and breed suspicion. These owners are businessmen and they know what’s good for business. At the business end of this season it may well be just that – business, nothing personal.
image: © flawka