The Citizens are back on track and left Manchester United behind; meanwhile Tottenham added another victory to its record.
By Camilla Mancini
On the last round the Manchester clubs were defeated by their rivals leaving them tied with 45pts again, while on this round what they shared was the final score of their matches: 3-0. However, the score was positive for the Citizens, as for the Red Devils wasn’t at all. The leaders of the Premier League received at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, the 6th team on the board, Liverpool; whereas United traveled north the next day to confront Newcastle for their 2nd leg fixture. Something curious by the way is that in round 13 when City and United had their 1st leg matches with the Reds and Magpies respectively, they also shared the same score, 1-1. On the other hand Tottenham met West Bromwich on Tuesday as well and is now halfway from reaching the second place, with just 3pts beneath United.
For Roberto Mancini’s side it was a great recovery from the defeat at the Stadium of Light two days before. The Reds went to Manchester missing the striker Luis Suarez, who has been banned for eight games due to the racial abuse he did over the Red Devil, Patrice Evra. Suarez’s absence made quite a difference for the Reds, as they were able to control the ball but couldn’t really create a threat for Joe Hart. The first score was conquer by one of City’s main guys, Sergio Agüero, when at the 9th minute Pepe Reina made a mistake that was like a wrapped gift for the Argentinean. This first goal definitively relieved the Blues’ side. Following his partner steps, Toure Yaya grabbed a pass from Silva and headed the ball into the goal, placing then the 2-0 before the end of the first half. But also before the half time interval Garreth Barry received the first of two yellow cards, the second was given to him at 72’ for an unfair challenge over Daniel Agger; this of course left Barry out of the field and also off the Manchester derby for the FA Cup on Sunday. In the end, not even with a man less Liverpool could stop Mancini’s men from leaving it goalless and instead they scored third goal. The 3-0 was achieved by James Milner, who charged a penalty awarded to Martin Skrtel just a minute after Barry had left the field.
On their visit to the Sports Direct Arena, the Red Devils saw how their efforts were trashed by the Toons, which even though they have fell from the top 5 they were able to stoop up firmly for Manchester’s current second best club. Sir Ferguson’s most important goalscorers right now are Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov for sure, but even they had some shots blocked or lost, like in the Bulgarian’s case that headed the ball into the post. Be that as it may Newcastle controlled the ball in a better way and clearly with better results, which have earned it three points to stay in the 7th position with a point behind Liverpool. Demba Ba scored his 15th goal of the season at 32 minutes of game with assistance from Shola Ameobi. Then, less than a minute had past from the beginning of second half, when a foul by Jones over Ba gave the Toons a chance, a free kick charged by Yohan Cabaye that converted the 2-0. United’s three substitutions were done by 73’ and even though Ferguson sent in some of his best men, Welbeck, the “Chicharito” Hernández and Anderson couldn’t make any difference in the scoreboard. Quite the opposite Phil Jones was responsible of the 3-0 against his team, when he made an own goal at 89:39.
The other matches from round 20: Wolves 1-2 Chelsea; QPR 1-2 Norwich; Blackburn 1-2 Stoke City; Aston Villa 0-2 Swansea; Fulham 2-1 Arsenal; Wigan 1-4 Sunderland; Tottenham 1-0 West Bromwich; Everton 1-2 Bolton.