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Saturday, 15 March 2014

Hull City v Manchester City: Could the Tigers compound an awful week for Pellegrini?


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This time last week Manchester City were still in the hunt for the Quadruple. Seven days on and Manuel Pellegrini's position at the Etihad is being called into question after being knocked out of two competitions.

Wigan Athletic stunned the football world last May when they beat Manchester City to win the FA Cup. They ensured that lightening struck twice last Sunday when they dumped City out of the same competition at the fortress Etihad. And then on Wednesday night their faint Champions League dream were dashed by Lionel Messi and co in Barcelona.

From going for four trophies, City can now only add the Premier League title to the League Cup that they won last month. But there's no guarantee that will happen, with Chelsea opening up a nine-point lead. Of course, City still have three games in hand on Mourinho's men, but at this stage of the season you'd much prefer to have the points in the bag.

Manuel-Pellegrini-008Today they travel to FA Cup sem-finalists Hull City, who will still be purring after last weekend's victory over Sunderland. Geordie Steve Bruce would have loved that result, especially having been axed by the Black Cats, but he will demand the same focus and determination from his players when City come to town. 

Every player in the Hull camp will be desperate to force their way into the manager's plans for their semi-final clash with Sheffield United and Bruce, a former Manchester United captain let's not forget, would love to derail City's title dreams.

Earlier in the season Pellegrini could do no wrong. City were blowing teams away with their array of firepower, but over the past few weeks they have ran out of goals. Where they were once scoring four, five and six, City have only managed to score more than one goal in their past six outings.

But now the honeymoon is over. The knives are out for the man with the most talented squad in the league. Some are even claiming that Pellegrini  could be the next one to get the boot, citing the fact that winning the League Cup is simply not acceptable for a team costing millions. 

Of course it was Wigan's shock FA Cup win that effectively put paid to Roberto Mancini's spell at City. But is there anyone seriously thinking that City will get rid of Pellegrini after just nine months in charge? It's his first season for heaven's sake. He is still adjusting to the English game. I know the game has gone a bit loopy in the past few seasons with managers getting sacked for simply breathing the wrong way, but Sheikh Mansour will not make any knee-jerk reactions like this. Will he?

Defeat this afternoon could push the owner closer to making a decision, but who is out there? Obviously money is no object, but Pellegrini was the man he wanted to replace Mancini and it hasn't been a poor season by anyone's standards. Christ, David Moyes would snap both your legs to be in City's position!

The history books will certainly not give the visitors any comfort. Although meetings with Hull have been rare down the years, they have failed to win at Hull for 105 years. 

So will Hull cap off a blue week for the visitors by sending them packing with their tails between their legs or will City stand up and show their title credentials? 

Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.

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Antony Melvin

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