How to take Manchester City seriously

That sound you’re hearing? It’s Arsène Wenger and Rafa Benítez hyper-ventilating into the nearest paper bag, wondering which of them will be left out of the top 4 in the Premiership next May and, as a result, out of the 2009-10 Champion’s League. Honestly, I don’t know if Arsenal’s team of infants can put up the points. Of course, Liverpool are pretty consistent chokers of late so there’s that, too.

But that’s not the point. The point is that Manchester City is now the richest club in the world because its brand new owner, Dr. Sulaiman Al-Fahim (who’s not only a doctor but royalty), has far, far more money than even Roman Abramovich rolls around in at night. There has been wild speculation about bids for Cesc Fàbregas, Fernando Torres, and Cristiano Ronaldo (who might be the subject of a 135 million pound bid [that’s $237,117,148.26 USD, kids]) in January. But, for a myriad of reasons, none of those are going to happen, the first of which is that they’re all cup-tied now and there is no way even the Arse and Pool will be steamrolled by City, let alone United selling to a bitter rival. So feel free to ignore the blustery new owner.

No, the reason people have to take Manchester City seriously is Mark Hughes. Sparky is, actually, a really good manager. He knows exactly what he’s doing. No, he doesn’t have a reputation for managing mercenaries, like José Mourinho (who is also a really good, if somewhat boring, manager – I’ll say that now that he’s not in charge of Chelski). But what Hughes does is fit people in. And, boy, does he have some good pieces: Vincent Kompany and Micah Richards on the back line; SWP and Nery Castillo (if he’s ever found) in the midfield; and two mercurial Brazilians up top – Jo and Robinho. With Sparky at the helm of the good ship City and those fine gents manning the oars, I daresay City is destined for the top 4.

Predictions, then:

  1. Manchester United (even though Peanut Head is still there)
  2. Chelski (even though they have 2 of the biggest d-bags in the world – Anelka and Ballack)
  3. Manchester City
  4. Arsenal (and the deep in debt board breathes a massive sigh of relief)
  5. Liverpool (chokers!)
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