Why City’s FA Cup win will see them secure the top four spot

by Ben McAleer

Sunday, April 17th, 2011

Manchester City’s 1-0 win over bitter rivals Manchester United yesterday surprised me more than it, perhaps, should have done. It was a game scripted as one the Red Devils were to win to help secure their second treble in twelve years. Yet, a solitary Yaya Toure strike in the second half was enough to separate the two sides as the gap between both sides continues to close.

Perhaps it is fitting that City managed to ‘do one’ over their local rivals. United were stoking the fires in the days leading up to the FA Cup semi final with club stars Rio Ferdinand and Paul Scholes intimidating City through the media. Claims of the Blues never being as good as the Reds were quoted by both as City remained quiet.

It was City’s first win in five attempts since last year’s 2-1 Carling Cup win at the beginning of January at their first win over them this season having drawn and lost to them in the league. It has taken them one-step closer, and one-step away, from their first major piece of silverware for 35 years and, with Stoke City the opponents at Wembley next month, they have gone from underdogs to overwhelming favourites in the space of 90 minutes.

More impressively still was the fact they accomplished the win without captain Carlos Tevez. The former United striker faces between three and four weeks on the sidelines with a hamstring injury and, despite initial fears they would lose their form that sees them occupy fourth spot, their 1-0 win could prove the necessary confidence boost to remain in the top four as the season comes to an end.

Naturally, the run could prove a two-edged sword with City having their eyes firmly on Wembley next month. Yet, chances are it will have positive repercussions remain high. Without Tevez, a victory over local rivals will do nothing but send City confidence soaring. Roberto Mancini will likely utilise yesterdays FA Cup victory as a rallying call for the players in order to push on and secure fourth spot with seven games, including the FA Cup final, still to play.

Upon viewing their remaining games, their hardest fixture is, undoubtedly, top four rivals Tottenham Hotspur at home on May 10th. With the likes of confidence sapped West Ham United and Blackburn Rovers still to come up against City, it would be foolish to see anyone but City make up the top four of United, Arsenal, Chelsea and themselves.

Following the 3-0 defeat to Liverpool last week, it wouldn’t have been surprising to have seen City and Mancini crumble under the pressure. With rumours still rife that the Italian will lose his job at the end of the season, winning the FA Cup could see Mancini remain in his City role beyond the end of the campaign. Yet, they picked themselves up, dusted themselves off and headed to Wembley with a plan to upset the odds which they followed to the letter.

Nonetheless, the hard work still isn’t over yet for City. It would be easy to see them switch off and focus on the FA Cup final next month but with Champions League football a real possibility for the Blues next season, Mancini will be looking to keep his players focused and take each game as it comes especially with a top four finish firmly within their grasps.

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenMcAleer1

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  • dexylongshot

    Agree with you on that Ben, I fancy Man City to grab a top 4 place, they are on a high now and i fully expect them to destroy the hammers this weekend. Tottenhams fixture list starting with the gooners tonight isn’t pretty reading and I fancy them to slip up in the final month, possibly even being taken over by King Kenny.

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