Roberto Mancini has finally accepted to be worried about losing the chance to recover the first position of the Barclays; while Redknapp’s men got a little chance to continue on the hunt for the third spot.
By Camilla Mancini
The unlucky streak in which the Sky Blues had fallen into has stopped them from conquering their 16th victory at home. On March 31st Manchester City couldn’t beat their visitors for the first time in the whole season. The away match against Sunderland at least finished in a draw and not in a loss for City, which is in need of all feasible points. However it wasn’t easy for the Sky Blues to tie the game after a rough start against the Black Cats, which by the 55th minute had reached the 3-1.
The ‘Lad’ Sebastian Larsson scored the first goal on each half: at the 31′ Larsson caught a pass from Sessegnon and hit it from the edge of the penalty area with a low shot; then at 55′ the Swedish scored the third goal for Sunderland, that time assisted by Nicklas Bendtner’s pass. Bendtner was in fact the scorer of the Black Cats’ second goal, which he headed in the last minute of the injury time of first half. From Mancini’s side the Italian Mario Balotelli also was responsible of scoring twice, actually the second on each half of the meeting.
Balotelli’s first goal was achieved at 43′ through a penalty that had been awarded to Craig Gardner after committing a foul on Dzeko. However the Italian player’s second mark was more like his usual; within the last five minutes, the unruly Balotelli fired an unstoppable ball for Mignolet, who just watched how it went by, above him, into the middle of the goal. Then, after just 69 seconds the match was even, when David Pizarro, who had entered 5 minutes before, made a wide pass to Aleksandar Kolarov and the Serbian struck it in the Lads’ goal.
A couple of days later, Manchester United added another triumph to their winning streak after defeating Blackburn at Ewood Park. Even though the Rovers lost at home against two late goals -achieved by Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young- they did gave a great performance during the encounter. Thanks to this result and the draw from the Citizens, United finishes with 76 points leaving its neighbors 5 points behind for this round.
On the fight for the third spot between Arsenal and Tottenham, there was an important development for Harry Redknapp’s side on the standings, as they were able to tie in points the Gunners. First on March 31st, Arsenal could only score once at the Loftus Road Stadium, therefore it was defeated by the Rangers Adel Taarabt and Samba Diakite, which scored the opening and closing goals respectively.
Subsequently, the Spurs gained 3 points at home on the very next day, defeating Swansea for their first victory since February 11th, when they smashed Newcastle. Despite spending seven weeks without conquering a triumph, the Spurs looked quite confident from the beginning of the meeting and at 19′ Rafael van der Vaart was charging the first goal for his club and the only one from the first half.
Reaching the hour the Swans tied with Sigurdsson’s rounded shot, however it wasn’t over for the Londoner club; within the last 17 minutes Emmanuel Adebayor got in the score sheet with a couple of goals, the first ones since last Christmas for the Togolese. This has currently tied these two London clubs at 58 points, but keeps Arsenal ahead by one goal in the goal difference.
The other matches from round 31: Wolves 2-3 Bolton; Wigan 2-0 Stoke; QPR 2-1 Arsenal; Fulham 2-1 Norwich; Everton 2-0 West Bromwich; Aston Villa 2-4 Chelsea; Newcastle 2-0 Liverpool.