If the obituaries are to be written for Roberto Mancini's Manchester City career at the end of the season, the events of November 6 are likely to feature prominently. Not only did City all but seal their exit from the Champions League amid bitter recriminations in Manchester, but 750 miles away in Milan a Catalan butterfly flapped its wings, potentially causing a storm back at the Etihad.
First and foremost, a 2-2 home draw with Ajax represented another disastrous Champions League result for Mancini, whose European forays have been about as successful as Mitt Romney's - and look how that ended up. (Don't worry, that's the one contractually-obliged American election reference in Early Doors today).
Having lost 3-1 in Amsterdam to a team currently a lowly sixth in the Eredivisie — a league where Afonso Alves boasts semi-legendary status — City had to emerge victorious from their home game against Ajax to have any realistic chance of sneaking ahead of either Borussia Dortmund or Real Madrid to make the knockout stages.
Instead they were 2-0 down within 17 minutes. Though Yaya Toure and Sergio Aguero had them level with 16 minutes to go and an excellent comeback could have been completed when Aguero had a goal contentiously ruled out for offside and Mario Balotelli had a late, late shout for a penalty turned down, this was a shocker of a result. Another Champions League disaster.
Though his players must be held to account for the poor marking at two corners that allowed Ajax to open up their two-goal lead, Mancini will take ultimate responsibility for a situation that now looks pretty grim: City must win their next two games against Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund and hope that Ajax also get at least a draw at the Bernabeu.
Only two sides in the history of the Champions League, Lokomotiv Moscow in 2002 and then Porto in 2004, have qualified from a similar position. When told he still had a chance of qualifying, Mancini merely shrugged his shoulders.
It's all over bar the shouting, but don't worry, there has been plenty of that.
Mancini had already gone to Rafa-rant DEFCON five in his pre-match press conference after reporters continually pressed him about his claim that he was "close to seven or eight" teams last season. Furiously and repeatedly asking "why?", Mancini had the look and sound of a man undergoing an existential crisis.
He was raging again at the full-time whistle on Tuesday. Mancini strode across the turf to accost referee Peter Rasmussen, who was already being protected by those Manchester City players pulling Balotelli away from him lest the striker stray from LOL territory to GBH. It seems certain Mancini will now face disciplinary action from UEFA.
"I told him: 'Congratulations, it was a goal'," claimed Mancini of his altercation with the ref. He then became embroiled in a rather bizarre contretemps with an ITV cameraman, who chose to get a close-up shot of the fuming Italian. "He wanted to do a film with me and followed me round the pitch," the City boss added. "I told him it [the game] is finished and it is not a film about me. I told him it was finished. I told him to go."
But in a sense, this very much was a film about Mancini. It was the 10th instalment of the disaster franchise that is 'Mancini Goes to Europe' — a Final Destination rip-off in which City's Champions League hopes find ever more ludicrous ways to die a spectacular death. The series of prequels, set in Milan with Inter, was only marginally less farcical.
A man who has won five domestic cups and four domestic leagues has consistently failed to make an impression on the Champions League - reaching the quarter-finals only once. Last season's group-stage exit looks set to be repeated. Prior to this Ajax game he notably said City weren't ready to win the Champions League. But the more pertinent question appears to be: is he?
Inter afforded him a clear run at Serie A due to Calciopoli, while Sheikh Mansour's millions gave him a huge competitive advantage in the Premier League last season, and in the FA Cup the year before that. After another slip-up against Ajax in the higher standard of competition that is the Champions League, Mancini's European credentials must be under severe and renewed scrutiny.
City's owners want to feast on the riches that the latter stages of the Champions League bring. Certainly doing so regularly would assist them in their efforts to conform with Financial Fair Play.
Which brings us to that Catalan butterfly flapping its wings in Milan. Just hours before City kicked off against Ajax, news broke in Italy that Pep Guardiola's brother and agent Pere had been pictured with Milan's chief executive Adriano Galliani at Giannino restaurant. Though Milan denied the report on Gazzetta's website, Sky Italia later broadcast footage and it was subsequently suggested that Pere Guardiola even attended the club's Champions League game with Malaga.
The reason this is significant is that it may represent the first decisive move in the unseemly Royal Rumble that will conclude in the summer as a whole group of top European clubs try to recruit the former Barcelona coach at the end of his sabbatical in New York. Personally, Early Doors would like to see a Battle Royale-style competition held on a Japanese island to determine his destination, the sole remaining CEO permitted to sign Guardiola up as he mops his rivals' blood from his shirt.
City have already recruited Guardiola's former colleagues from Camp Nou — director of football Txiki Begiristain and chief executive Ferran Soriano — and would be leading contenders to sign Guardiola should they choose to enter the race for the man who twice won the Champions League during his brief yet era-defining spell with Barca.
As such, despite the fact City are very much in a title race, it is hard to escape the conclusion that a combination of Milan's tentative wooing of Guardiola and Mancini's ongoing European dysfunction may just nudge City into decisive action at some stage. If so, then November 6 will have proved to be a prominent turning point.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY: "I just want to play, hopefully now I can get a run in the team because I feel I fully deserve it." - Theo Walcott gets bullish after scoring in Arsenal's 2-2 draw away at Schalke. It seems a last-minute miss, which could have put Arsenal top of their group rather than remaining vulnerable in second, didn't dent his confidence.
FOREIGN VIEW: "He (Ibrahimovic) uses his abilities to help the others and that is why he is a fantastic player. That's the difference between a great player and a champion. He is a champion, he is a fantastic leader." - Carlo Ancelotti has nothing but praise for Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the striker picked up a ridiculous four assists in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 win over Dinamo Zagreb.
COMING UP: We have more Champions League goodness for you tonight with the pick of the bunch possibly Barcelona's trip to Celtic. Chelsea also host Shakhtar Donetsk while Manchester United visit Braga. All eight games tonight kick off at 7.45pm. Prior to tonight's European programme, we also have the latest blogs from Jim White and Andy Mitten.