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Sergio Agüero’s Umlaut

Sergio Agüero’s name on the back of his Athletico Madrid jersey had an umlaut. Unveiled at Manchester City in July, his baby blue jersey also had an umlaut.

His graphically rendered name on television broadcasts of Manchester City matches has no umlaut. When Google anticipates that his name is being typed into the search field, Sergio Agüero’s name has no umlaut, but his Wikipedia site spells his name with an umlaut. When the URL is bookmarked it will appear in its folder as, where an un-umlauted name looks like this:

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Manchester City “has come a long way, baby”

Two wins from two matches, Manchester City look like title contenders.

What is it Carlos? Have you become self-aware or is your agent near?

August 2008 marked year zero for Manchester City. The old identity was razed, while the hope that tradition can be reinjected into the pursuit of global domination—side effects include nausea, diarrhea, migraine, anger, befuddlement, and in some cases, infantilism. Without notable figures like Sven-Göran Eriksson and Noel Gallagher to confirm a history, the takeover of the club by Abu Dhabi United Group might have marked the club’s founding instead.

In these three years, City has steadily climbed the table, finishing tenth, fifth, and third. The ascent from nameless mid-table club to title-contending quasi-galacticos is the result of bottomless wealth clearing the path before it, as well as on occasion astute management.

Manchester City, the nouveau riche arriviste. If still a poor Mancusian’s Manchester United, if still lacking the sophistication and tradition of the elite clubs, if rough-edged from the ostentatious display of wealth and clumsy mastery of protocol and manners, then they can now at least command descriptions in French. Samir Nasri can help translate.

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Week Two: Some Post-match Feuilleton

Arséne Wenger’s new project is to win the league with the reserve team; Kenny Dalglish needs to rethink his lineup; Manchester City proves the old addage that success can’t buy happiness, but then again who needs happiness; Manchester United’s experienced inexperienced youth; that Harry Redknapp sagging deadpan expression of being underwhelmed when overwhelmed sums up Tottenham nicely.

Benched Mario Balotelli unconsoled by the other unhappy benched City players.

Arsenal 0—Liverpool 2

Depletion and woe weren’t deemed adequate punishment for Arsenal, so the Furies decided to toss in an injury crises and bad luck just to be safe. The home opener at the Emirates was witness to an Arsenal squad comprised of reserves and tyros with almost no Premier League experience. Liverpool should have won this game handily, but encountered a spirited Arsenal side reduced to 10 men after an impressive Emmanuel Frimpong was sent off for youthful zeal, which proved Liverpool is far from formidable.

Andy Carroll played about seventy minutes. It wasn’t his fault that Liverpool’s strategy devolved into kicking the ball toward his head to see what would happen. It didn’t take long to see that nothing came of this, yet Liverpool continued for another sixty minutes. Liverpool finally took control of the game when Luis Suarez and Raul Mierieles came on late and scored an offside goal. It’s a good sign that Miereles has established himself in the league, because Jordan Henderson clearly isn’t ready despite Kenny Dalglish’s insistence to start him.

Arsenal are suffering from a degree of misfortune that exceeds the fair amount they have brought upon themselves, while the emerging belief of restoration around Anfield should be kept in the shorts until results prove decisively alluring. The match is a good example that a win, no matter how unimpressive, can boost  a club’s confidence, and that a loss, truly mitigated by handicap and misfortune, still can be a blow to the psyche.

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Roberto Mancini’s Lesson in Deflection

How does one defend the indefensible?

It was silly of Roberto Mancini to think that anyone would believe his line that the team’s infighting was an expression of “creative tensions” unless one was to track down his former girlfriends to ask them if they shared a tortured love with the Italian, if the sometimes hurtful arguments lasting deep into the night led to cooing, spooning, and late brunch the following morning.  

It's never serious, it starts and finishes in two minutes and in the dressing room afterwards everything is finished. Creative tensions. That's why I'm not worried.

The 0-0 draw to Arsenal was an unforgivable display of football. There was no way around it, but Mancini gets a lot of credit for his effort: 

"I prefer boos in the end and to go home with one point rather than with three goals in our net. The home crowd call us boring? It's not important for me. When you play here against Arsenal, it could be that Arsenal play better than you and you might defend. This is football."


Balancing the Second Eleven

All talk that Roberto [Mancini] has lost the support of the players is being based purely on the word of a group of players that have no future at the club and their hangers on.-Unnamed Manchester City source

The relationship between Mancini and Tevez may be tumultuous, but underneath there is some kind of real understanding.  

Manchester City is widely criticized for collecting temperamental and entitled players who are later surprised to learn that they are not starters. Any player joining a new club should keep this in mind, but as far away [with little influence] as possible. Yet this would require at least some relationship with reality.

Do Manchester City signings assume they will start by right or was something conveyed to them that proved insincere? The club is drawn to players performing at the top of the market as well as players with discipline problems or ones with tarnished reputations for the way they left their former club.

Once forced to join the club’s second eleven, there is the grumbling at practice under the breath and later on the phone with wife or agent, followed by bitching—mostly over the phone. There is an anger phase and agitation to leave the club, which is snuffed out when the situation stagnates and the player is left to pout and stew. Why this very real possibility doesn’t cross the players’ minds before signing is hard for one understand.

Allowed to fester, disaffection can become a disruption, and once it begins seeping into the public can be a sign of unrest or a precipitate for it. Those on the outside can smell the outgassing of a bubbling mutiny. Manchester City contains high levels of swampy discontent that could hinder their push into the top four.

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