If 44 years of hurt finally end for Manchester City this week, then the history books should triumphantly record that it was Roberto Mancini’s canny repositioning of Yaya Touré at critical second-half moments that reacquainted the club with the English title after so long.
Last Monday, Mancini took Carlos Tévez off after 67 minutes, sent on Nigel de Jong and pushed Touré forward to disrupt Manchester United.
On Sunday, Mancini took Samir Nasri off after 61 minutes, sent on De Jong and pushed Touré forward to score twice against Newcastle United.
City have one hand touching the Premier League trophy because Mancini knows how to seize a game and influence its flow. For an hour on Sunday, Touré anchored midfield, squeezing the space around Demba Ba and Papiss Cissé, and was then released into more fertile territories. His goals here were terrific.
“Yaya in that position was fantastic,’’ said City’s manager of the Ivorian’s redeployment off the front man. “He can play in a number of different positions. He has experience, he’s won trophies at Barcelona and he has brought that to us. We bought him for that reason. He’s very important for us.’’
The Public and Commercial Services Union is refusing to co-operate with plans announced by Damian Green, the immigration minister, to recruit 480 staff who would be on hand to provide reinforcements if border posts were overwhelmed.
With passengers waiting up to three hours to get into the country, the Home Office has been under intense pressure from the aviation industry, business leaders and MPs to tackle the chaos which has engulfed Britain’s airports.
The PCSU’s stubborn stance is a fresh blow for the Border Force which has been struggling since the merger of customs and immigration two years ago.
Political pressure to ease the queues at Heathrow in particular has led to airport drugs checks being abandoned as more staff are switched to immigration duties.
Operations to stem the flow of guns and other contraband goods into the country are understood to have been put on hold.
The two mainstream parties that approved the second international £110 billion rescue loan and its stringent requirements for cuts were heavily punished as support surged for the Left and Right.
The shattering of the political status quo threw into doubt Greece’s commitment to meeting the terms of its debt and could spread instability throughout the euro zone.
Weeks of uncertainty are likely to follow as numerous parties vie to cobble a majority coalition, with a fresh election within two months a distinct possibility.
There will also be fears that ensuing political instability will see a return to the street violence that has scarred Athens since the debt crisis surfaced two years ago.
Exit polls said the conservative monolith New Democracy would finish first with a maximum of 20 per cent, while Pasok, the main socialist party, would suffer a dramatic fall to 13-14 percent, a third of what it received when winning the 2009 election. Voters held both responsible for years of mismanagement and corruption.
On the same day in Greece, neo-Nazis entered the country’s parliament after national elections that wiped out mainstream parties that had supported austerity measures imposed by the EU.
Accepting his mandate as French president, Mr Hollande threw down the gauntlet to Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, who has made austerity policies a condition of euro membership.
“Europe is watching us. The moment that I was announced president, I am sure in many European countries there was a relief, hope at the idea that at last austerity is no longer inevitable, and my mission is to give to European construction the dream of growth,” he said.
“Europe is watching us, austerity can no longer be the only option.”
His words, just after inflicting a humiliating defeat on Mr Sarkozy, previously the Chancellor’s closest ally, are a call to arms against the economic policies that Germany has enshrined in a eurozone “fiskalpakt” treaty.