Manchester United ties the Citizens in the standings’ points and it has the sight on its defending title.
By Camilla Mancini
The Manchester clubs have been on a battle for the leadership of the table since the beginning of the season, they have interchanged the first and second place twice already. However City has owned the first place for a longer time, controlling it through the last eleven rounds, while United waits patiently on the second spot. And it looks like the patience is paying back very well, because when everybody was expecting the Red Devils to keep falling after their elimination from the 2011/12 UEFA Champions League, Ferguson managed to rise up with his men, until finally be able to corner up City. Both Manchester clubs were playing their 18th fixture of the season at the same time on Monday 26, but while United was hosting Wigan at the Old Trafford, the Citizens were visiting The Hawthorns Stadium, home of West Bromwich.
For the Citizens it was the first match of the tournament with a 0 on their side of the scoreboard; nevertheless they didn’t allow Albion to score either. The 0-0 draw gave the Citizens the so needed point to hold on to the peak with 45pts, but left them quite frustrated. The visitors had their chances to score, but couldn’t convert them, Milner was one of the unfortunates that lost a good opportunity to take the lead of the game; but for Mario Balotelli was probably worst when one of his several shots to the goal hit the bar. Roberto Mancini tried to make some strategic changes with Kolo Toure, Zabaleta, Balotelli and Milner, but they couldn’t conquer the Italian coach’s purpose. Most of the credits for the City’s goalless result should go to the Baggies, who handle the fixture with excellent order leaving the Citizens most of the time out off the area. In the end West Brom performed even better than some of the best in front of the killer City.
On its part, Manchester United met the Latics, and with them repeated the blasting score from round 17, when it played Fulham at Craven Cottage. The 5-0 score in two consecutive matches is giving United a very intimidating look, especially for the Citizens that desperately need to reopen a gap between them to secure the first place for themselves again. Be that as it may, United’s scoring-roll on Wednesday was released by the South Korean Ji-Sung Park at 7’ with assistance from Patrice Evra. Responsible of the second and third goals was Dimitar Berbatov, who also scored the last one at 78’, when he charged a penalty awarded to Antolin Alcaraz. The fourth goal came from Antonio Valencia, who hit the ball straight to the left corner of the goal. The 5-0 leaves Wigan with 14 points on the 18th position of the board, while the Red Devils remain on second place because of the Goal Difference between them and City, which separates them for 5 goals only.
The other matches from round 18: Chelsea 1-1 Fulham; Sunderland 1-1 Everton; Liverpool 1- 1 Blackburn; Bolton 0-2 Newcastle; Stoke 0-0 Aston Villa; Arsenal 1-1 Wolves; Swansea 1-1 QPR; Norwich 0-2 Tottenham.