James Lawton: Mixed views of southern sorties reflect City's siege mentality

City did not run short of praise for the muscular brilliance of their defeat of Chelsea early in the season. They were a side capable of triumph over prejudice

There now follows a message from the tribal battleground of Premier League football – one which some may believe is nothing less than a brilliant, assegai-sharp confirmation of Manchester City's growing belief that they are besieged by an envious and deeply embittered world.

It arrived after Manchester United's hard-won goalless draw at White Hart Lane on Sunday and it said: "Team from Manchester come to north London, fight for a 0-0 draw (even though they were the worse team) and keep their title aspirations alive. They are roundly condemned for lack of ambition.

"Team from Manchester come to north London, fight for a 0-0 draw (even though they were the worse team) and keep their title aspirations alive. They are praised for their doughtiness. Compare and contrast."

You can't compare the style of City and United, no more than you can apples and oranges or the flashiest rhetoric and logical argument.

City went to the Emirates earlier this month, as they had fatally last season, played one forward up and put about as much faith in their hugely expensive squad to win as Audley Harrison had in his own ability in a highly dubious world heavyweight contest in their own backyard. As football negativity goes, it was only matched by their performance against United on their own ground in November.

United went to White Hart Lane on Sunday and survived a Spurs attempt to play at their most expansive; they had only 40 per cent of possession and were a long way from their best, which, anyway, has been elusive all season despite their unbeaten record. However, they did have Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov up front, which is never a sign of pacifism, and then threw on Javier Hernandez.

The contrast, you might have thought with just a pinch of detachment, was self-evident.

Ah, detachment, that sweet old derelict aid to football enjoyment that could take you to a ground for no greater certainty than a glimpse of the beautiful game, for the thrill of seeing a master player. Now of course you see only your own team.

It means you can ride any wave of mediocre play and thinking as long as your boys sooner or later finish up on top.

Manchester City fans now have a siege mentality that would have served well the defenders of Dien Bien Phu and the Alamo, but some of them might recall that few clubs have seen the best of their football more warmly appreciated.

When they last won the title in 1968 they announced their intentions with a brilliant 3-0 away defeat of a then-formidable Nottingham Forest. They played some strong and exquisite football and they painted a future that may have been brief but was also unforgettable.

Of course, the world has changed and football with it and so all we can do, if we hang on to our love of the game, is enjoy the best of it and live with the rest.

City certainly did not run short of praise for the muscular brilliance of their defeat of Chelsea early in the season. They were a team capable of triumphing over any prejudice, one that anyone could admire.

It will be the same if they ever manage to string together a few such performances. The vast and flaunted wealth, the warring, ego-ridden dressing room, the caution of Roberto Mancini in the big games, will fade into the background quickly enough. City are in charge of their own image. It is something they, and their most fervent fans, have still to learn.



PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, in the acclaimed series 'Breaking Bad'
news
News
There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law
news

Sport
footballChelsea 6 Maribor 0: Blues warm up for Premier League showdown with stroll in Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Princess Olga in 'You Can't Get the Staff'
tvReview: The anachronistic aristocrats, it seemed, were just happy to have some attention
Life and Style
tech

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

News
Renee Zellweger as Bridget Jones
i100
News
Those who were encouraged to walk in a happy manner remembered less negative words
science
Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
News
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
i100
Sport
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Environment
Sudan, the last male northern white rhino
environmentThe death of a white northern rhino in Kenya has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth