The Red Devils conquered its 8th victory in a row, whereas City couldn’t do anything against the Gunners, jeopardizing like this the chance to recover the 1st position.
By Camilla Mancini
On Sunday, March 8th, both Manchester clubs played their 32nd fixture of the season and consequently to those encounters United has opened an 8-points-gap between it and the Sky Blues. The day started with the Red Devils hosting the Queens Park Rangers, which have been in and out of the relegation zone during the last five rounds. Within the first 15 minutes a controversial call by the referee Lee Mason left the Rangers with 10 men for the rest of the match, when their captain, Shaun Derry, was sent off for fouling Ashley Young, who was visibly offside. The penalty was charged by United’s higher scorer of the season, Wayne Rooney, who reached his 22nd goal from 29 games.
Even missing a man QPR keep up with United and really did the best it could, during the rest of first half and half of the second part the Rangers stopped each attempt of scoring from the Red Devils. But at the 68th minute the 37-year-old Paul Scholes -who came back from his retirement in January to give a hand to his beloved club-, took control of the situation and after intercepting a pass from Rafael Da Silva, executed a low drive from a 25 yards that gave Ferguson’s men the double lead and triumph.
Following United’s match, it was the turn for Manchester City to meet the Gunners; for this the Sky Blues went south, to the Emirates Stadium in London. Both clubs fought hard to score during the entire clash, even too hard maybe, for it was the game with more cards of the round: 2 yellow cards for Arsenal and 5 for City (two of them were for Balotelli). In the end, the Gunners consistency earned them the victory with a beautiful goal from long distance by Mikel Arteta within the last four minutes of the match.
It certainly was a stressful match for Roberto Mancini, who let show his rage in the end, especially when the uncontrollable Mario Balotelli was sent off the field for the second yellow card after fouling Sagna for a second time. The Italian striker is well known for his supercilious comments about himself and for being capricious on the field, therefore and due to late statements given by Mancini it looks like the coach is getting tired of his fellow countryman. Anyway, the fact is that City is 8 points away from the Red Devils and it has only six matches ahead to make an effort to still the championship from its neighbors -which have been doing a better job than the Sky Blues.
After drawing levels on their last weekend’s fixture against City, the Black Cats did it again this weekend on their encounter with Tottenham at the Stadium of Light; but this time the final result was left in zeros, as neither of the clubs were able to score. Sunderland held back the Spurs from going head-to-head with Arsenal, which now leaves Redknapp’s men 2 points behind, with 59 points and more rivals to worry about. Because the Spurs will now have to protect their back from Chelsea and Newcastle, which continue tied in 56 points -quite close to Tottenham.
The other matches from round 32: Swansea 0-2 Newcastle; Stoke City 2-1 Wolves; West Bromwich Albion 3-0 Blackburn; Norwich 2-2 Everton; Liverpool 1-1 Aston Villa; Chelsea 2-1 Wigan; Bolton 0-3 Fulham