Manchester City are set to win the Premier League for the second time in three years and how!
Manuel Pellegrini’s side have played arguably the best football in England all season and have scored no fewer than 100 goals. Their top scorer is central midfielder Yaya Toure (20 goals), who under the Chilean coach has really become a tour de force and has expressed his attacking mentality perfectly.
In their final game of the 2013-14 campaign against West Ham United at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, City can not only win the title, but they can also break a record in doing so. Back in 2009-10, Chelsea created the record of scoring the most number of goals in a single Premier League campaign. Under Carlo Ancelotti, who is now at Real Madrid, the Blues found the target 103 times in 38 matches, winning the championship in the process.
This term under Jose Mourinho, who left the Santiago Bernabeu for Stamford Bridge last summer, Chelsea have been a largely defensive side. They have conceded just 26 goals, but at the other end they have scored only 66. The Portuguese manager has consistently lamented the lack of a ‘real’ striker in his squad, but his cause hasn’t been helped by the defensive approach he has taken in many matches.
Pellegrini has always been a manager who has tried to play attacking and attractive football. The 60-year-old has made every effort to make sure that his teams win by playing good football that the fans pay so much money to watch. His Villarreal side were a joy to watch, and so were his Real Madrid and Malaga teams. At City, even under the massive pressure of winning titles, Pellegrini has remained true to his principles.
‘We have a style of play’, The Independent quotes him as saying. ‘I think we are an attractive team. We score many goals and we are always thinking to score more goals. That to me has the same importance as winning the title’.
This is a key difference between Pellegrini and Mourinho. The Portuguese is considered to be a winning coach and guarantees – or at least guaranteed – titles. That was why Madrid sacked Pellegrini and snapped up Mourinho when he became available in the summer of 2010.
Under Mourinho, Madrid became the most fearsome counter-attacking team in the world and won one La Liga and one Copa del Rey titles, but they were not the most attractive to watch.
On the other hand, Pellegrini’s City have been a joy to behold this campaign, and few neutrals would begrudge them if they win the title.