Manchester City manager Mark Hughes must have been hoping for a comfortable afternoon at the Reebok Stadium on Saturday, but the Welshman’s wishes weren’t granted. In City’s 3-3 Premier League draw at Bolton their prowess going forward and character to comeback from behind three times, were offset by the continuation of City’s defensive problems and the fact that striker Craig Bellamy got on the wrong side of a referee once again. But further bad news was in store for Hughes on Sunday, as rumours that former Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho could be the next manager at Eastlands were revived. So does Mark Hughes have reason to be worried in his attempts to follow Chelsea’s rise to the top?
Wind back a week and things were looking to be on the up for Manchester City. Two highly creditable wins against Arsenal and Chelsea restored confidence to the team and the fans were full of belief again. But after another draw against a team struggling at the bottom of the Premiership, City have had the wind taken out of their sails once more. Conceding three goals will cause great concern for Hughes and Joleon Lescott and Kolo Toure look far from solid at the back. However, it is not all doom and gloom for Man City, far from it in fact.
The shining light for City again was Carlos Tevez, as the little Argentinean bagged himself two goals to add to his strike against Chelsea and played with the verve and determination that he has become renowned for. Tevez and the rest of the team also showed great courage and endeavour to push for a third equaliser despite being down to ten men and City looked more likely to grab the winner as well.
As far as their defence is concerned, I think it is still a case of a work in progress. City are not alone in their defensive troubles as Chelsea showed on the weekend against Everton that they are far from solid at the back. City have one up on Chelsea as well, with ‘keeper Shay Given far more reliable than the shaky Petr Cech at the moment. But will City turn to a former Chelsea manager if Hughes continues to stumble at the helm?
The Daily Star wouldn’t have been a welcome read for Mark Hughes on Sunday, as the paper claims that Mourinho is still on City’s wanted list. They say that “City’s mega-rich bosses are ready to pay £10million-a-year for the charismatic Portuguese who turned Chelsea into a powerhouse.” City will not become a Premier League giant overnight, but their owners seem to be short of patience. However, would City be right to ditch Hughes and turn to the ‘Special One’ so soon?
Finally Hughes has one more dilemma, what to do with Craig Bellamy? Hughes was furious with referee Mark Clattenburg for showing the Welsh striker a red card and told BBC Sport that “the decision to send Craig Bellamy off was quite honestly laughable.” Whilst the decision was clearly wrong and Bellamy should have earned his team a penalty, some of the responsibility has to fall with the striker himself. If Bellamy continues to chirp in the referee’s ear every game then he is bound to get on the wrong side of many officials. But should Hughes try and tone down Bellamy’s behaviour?
Manchester City are currently eleven points behind Chelsea in the Premier League table, but there are some similarities between the two clubs. Both drew 3-3 on Saturday, both have work to do at the back and both have a talented front line. But will mega-bucks Man City follow in the footsteps of Chelsea, the first Premiership club to be taken over by a multi-billionaire, and look to former Blues boss Jose Mourinho to lead their rise to the top?
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