Yes, the same Roberto Mancini who prowls the touchline at the Etihad, omnipresent in his blue and white scarf, telling anyone who would listen that Manchester City have no chance of winning the Premier League.
Before he rolled up at Leicester City and won a barrow-load of managerial honours with an Inter Milan side that were streets ahead of their rivals in Serie A because of the match-fixing scandal, Mancini was actually one of Europe’s premier attacking midfielder players and was the heartbeat of a Sampdoria side that were amongst the continent’s frontrunners in the late-80s/early 90s.
And did Mancini ever show that class in the opening game of Euro 88, silencing hosts West Germany with a well-taken goal. It was the Italian’s celebration that lived long in the memory though; a wide-eyed, slaloming run to the touchline that looked like he had been overtaken by the spirit of Marco Tardelli, even going so far as to swat West German defender Andreas Brehme out of the way in hilarious fashion.
The Premier League season took about six months to get going but when it did, it presented us with plenty of memorable moments – most notably from teams outside the top four.
Of course there was Sergio Aguero’s injury-time winner in one of the most dramatic last days ever as the title went to Eastlands but then there was also the great escape of Wigan, Newcastle’s march up the table and the entertaining football played by new boys Swansea and Paul Lambert’s rejuvenated Norwich City side, who carried on the momentum of back-to-back promotions with some stirring displays.
It is the usual drill for team of the season; only one player from each team and a standard 4-4-2 formation.
Every season we make football predictions at the start of August. I recently had the opportunity to look back on my shout-outs for 2011/12 and it’s interesting to see who has really let you down this season!