Last week, fourth looked a million miles away. Now, with that win, plus just about every team in our vicinity failing (draws to Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham, plus defeats to Liverpool and Bolton. Unfortunately the Rags won, but annoyingly, they've been nigh on invincible all season). We have a big chance to make history, and it's time for City fans to keep the faith.
Yes, it may have been a five-nil thriller — but it was only Sunderland. A team that has been in free-fall since selling Darren Bent in January. A team that has not scored in seven hours of football since February 12, and has collected one point in the last twenty-one available. It's not that impressive a result, really.
Not everything is black and white in football — indeed, the scoreline sometimes does not tell the whole story, and can often unfairly flatter or shame a team. In this case, the winning margin was not so much of importance, rather the manner of victory was. We looked dangerous every time we had the ball. It's very difficult to remember the time we dominated a match so convincingly.
You are not alone if you believe that Roberto Mancini and his tactics are too defensive/negative/Italian. There have been occasions this season where he has definitely told players to keep it in the closet, rather than go all out for the win. However, it's a myth that is easily believed by the tabloid junkies — just like the one about the Tottenham Globetrotters being some bastion of good old-fashioned attacking football, despite scoring less goals than all three promoted clubs this season.
Now that the team is back from an international break — and the manager can no longer peddle the tired "we are tired" excuse — we saw a different Manchester City. And it's no surprise that we looked so good in the first match of Adam Johnson's return (scoring nine minutes in was definitely not a bad way to signal it either), plus with Yaya Toure in a slightly deeper role in defensive midfield, and dare I say it, without Gumboots Gaz to slow everything down.
Mancini is now in a bit of a jam. Does he stick with the tactics that have so far led the side to third in the league and the semis of the FA Cup Sponsored By Ian, or does he go with this new cavalier attitude that we saw against Sunderland against the better sides like Liverpool and United? Seven games left in the league (one of which we'll be there in the flesh), and it's already shaping up to be a grand finale. I have butterflies already!
In honour of Mohammed al-Fayed's curious decision to build a statue of Michael Jackson at Craven Cottage, this post is littered with MJJ song titles. How many can you find? Leave the answer in the comments. Shamone!