The man with the sexiest feet in world football, Asian Dave Silva, underlined just how important he is to Mancini's City (although to be fair, everything is important to him), scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win over Wigan that was at the same time, a hell of a lot closer than it should have been, as well as a lucky three points.
No matter that it owed so much to hapless Wigan keeper Ali Al Habsi, who produced a howler of Massimo Taibi proportions. But City could easily point to the several other chances they had in the first half to kill the game.
It's important to note that this match was City's forty-fifth of the season, just shy of the 48 last campaign. This means that by the time we play Dynamo Kiev in the Ropey League next week, the players will have played the same amount of fixtures by midway through March as they had through the entirety of last season. Let's just hope that tiredness is not an issue and City don't chicken out of a competition they have a decent chance of winning. Chicken out against Kiev... Chicken Kiev... is this thing on?
With City still in the hunt in three competitions, Mancini is probably lamenting his decision to send a total of ten first-team players out on loan.
"Every other team has 20 or 22 players to choose from and you need that if you are playing every three days," Mancini said. "We only have 15 or 16 at present. When we recover all our players it will not be a problem but since January we have been unlucky with niggling injuries".
This situation is definitely not helped then by Kolo Toure's suspension from the club, for taking what is only described as a "specified substance". What the specified substance is, has not been er, specified. But it is thought that it was a slimming pill belonging to his wife. Not too dissimilar from the "my Mum gave me a fluid tablet to get rid of the double-chin" excuse offered by Shane Warne when he tested positive for a diuretic on the eve of the 2003 ICC World Cup, then.
Joleon Lescott's massive forehead must be pulsating at the thought of getting more game time for City, as Toure could face a ban of up to two years as a result.
Where Kolo sits amongst such "luminaries" as Ben Johnson, Adrian Mutu, Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and a monthly rotation of continental European road cyclists, remains to be seen.
As it turned out, Arsene Wenger leaped to Toure’s defence, offering that the player merely took a diet pill and had done the same at Arsenal, also, due to weight problems. While that’s far more harmless than injecting steroids or choking down pain-killers like you're on the set of Two and a Half Men, it’s still against the rules — even if the offense is somewhat comparable to jay-walking.
Meanwhile, City will face Reading in the FA Cup quarter-final, leaving the side just one win from Wemberleeeeeee. And despite his side having precisely fuck-all to play for, Gerard Houllier has defended the side he put out in the 3-0 loss to City in the last round, saying "I told the boys you don't have to be ashamed of the performance, you've done well". Proving that the man who thought that a 37 year-old Robert Pires could still play Premier League football is a liar, as well as an idiot.