Manchester City are once again staring down the barrel of group-stage elimination from the Champions League after a plumbing new depths of despair in a 2-1 home defeat to CSKA Moscow.
Bottom of Group E with just two points to their names the Citizens are 7/50 to miss out on passage to the knockout rounds.
Their continual failure to exit the competition’s mini leagues – this looks likely to be the third time in four seasons – is presented as something of a conundrum.
However, it’s one which, for the most part, can be put down to one broad issue – recruiting players and managers with triumphant experience at the highest level.
For all those who say this City side had enough of a winning mentality to have landed two Premier Leagues, it should be noted that on both occasions, they were gifted it by another side’s failings
First Manchester United, then Chelsea.
Take a look at the the squad available to Manuel Pellegrini. Yaya Toure is the only first-team regular to have lifted the Champions League, David Silva the sole man to have won a World Cup.
Running around amongst them like cake-addled page boys at a wedding are comparative lilliputians, those who have cut their teeth by looking reasonable amidst the moderate fare of Portugal or Serie A.
In the dugout they are led by a manager who has made his name in Europe by overachieving with unfancied sides, not fulfilling expectations at financial superpowers of the world game.
Lest we forget Pellegrini was bounced by Real Madrid after a single, far from horrendous season in the hot seat.
Before him the Sky Blues had recruited a manager in Roberto Mancini whose CV told a stark tale of an inability to convert domestic dominance into European traction.
With whom does the buck fall? Is it director of football Txiki Begiristain? Possibly.
This summer he sourced Bacary Sagna, Fernando, Willy Caballero, Bruno Zuculini and Eliaquim Mangala.
Guess how many Champions League or World Cup-winners medals they have between them?