Review of 2011: January
- Wed 28 Dec 2011, 11:00AM
- Posted by Alex Rowen
Following a fabulous and historic year, and to complement our video list series, we are taking a month-by-month look back over 2011.
Set to lose just one of their seven games throughout January, Roberto Mancini's side ushered in the New Year with a win as Adam Johnson's solitary goal pipped Blackpool in Pablo Zabaleta's 100th appearance for the club.
Despite having lost just once in 13 outings at that time, Mancini soon faced media pressure. A dogged defensive display earned the Blues a goalless draw at Arsenal but the City boss was criticised for supposedly stifling the obvious potential of his talented crop by employing negative tactics.
Ironic chants of “Boring, boring City” would soon follow! The basis for much irony at the end of the year.
Reacquainted with former boss Sven Goran Eriksson, the Blues' first step on the 'Road to Wembley' came at Leicester City in January. The tie ended 2-2, and the resulting replay became synonymous with ex-City striker Neil Young and his losing battle with illness.
Scorer of the only goal in the 1969 FA Cup Final – the last time City had won the Cup and also against Leicester – the club marked the replay with the colours that Young wore on that day.
The present day squad walked out in red and black commemorative tops, while thousands of red and black scarves swung through the air to chants of “There's Only One Neil Young” as the Etihad faithful paid their own tribute to a former great.
Young's beloved City knocked four past the Foxes to progress into the 4th round and the word 'fate' began to be whispered by the most optimistic of fans when talking of possible Cup success.
Just days later, the Etihad's new favourite chant echoed through the ground for a second time as City again scored four to prove they weren't so “boring” after all. Kolo and Yaya Toure became the first brothers to score in a top-flight game for the club during that 4-3 win over Wolves.
Edin Dzeko's arrival offered an unsettled Emmanuel Adebayor the chance to join Real Madrid on loan. City’s new Bosnian – January's Etihad Player of the Month – took no time at all filling Adebayor's shoes as his late goal earned the Blues a replay with Notts County to save the club's ultimately successful Cup campaign in the final game of the month. Tomorrow: February.