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Entering Boxing Day in the relegation zone is not what was expected entering this season for City supporters. It was even more unexpected when Robinho was transferred from Real Madrid right before the Summer transfer window shut. The new Abu Dhabi ownership groups faith in Mark Hughes which appeared misplaced a few days ago was affirmed with today’s smashing 5-1 victory over a Hull City club that entered the match 6th in the table.
The insertion of Felipe Caicedo into the starting lineup by Hughes today made all the difference early. Also critical was the healthy and inspired support play of Robinho and Stephan Ireland. Ireland for his part has been roundly criticized by City supporters for several years now but from my vantage point he has been the clubs most consistent and spirted player this season.
Hughes gave a start to Elano, seemingly in the doghouse and destined to exit the club when the January window opens. Elano responded with a solid performance, perhaps because he is in the shop window, or perhaps because he wants join the potential group of galacticos that may be bought in the January window.
When City performs as they did in today’s first half they are a joy to watch much like Arsenal have been for years now. The buildup play is beautiful when Hughes has a full selection of midfielders to choose from, and when Robinho is performing at a world class level as he did today.
City’s victory takes the club out of the relegation zone and in this confusing Premiership season within site of a European place.
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