The Manchester derby gave us 90 minutes of thrilling football that ended up returning City to the Premier’s throne with a single goal from Kompany.
By Camilla Mancini
The last match of this round was the Manchester derby that everyone was waiting for and as expected it was a rollercoaster of emotions at a packed Etihad Stadium. Both clubs fought hard and although the teams had almost 50/50 ball possession the Sky Blues certainly did a better job attacking its rivals. Manchester City even could’ve earned at least a couple of goals more, since there were some shots to David De Gea’s goal that passed by really close from the frame.
The Sky Blues gave a wonderful performance, especially Zabaleta and Yaya Toure, which were defending all around the field, assisting their partners, recovering and blocking every time the Red Devils were near the hosts’ box. Mancini’s men even tripled the total shots from MU; nonetheless the victory arrived with a headed goal. Starting the injury time for first half, David Silva took a corner that barely escaped from Chris Smalling and instead was intercepted by Vincent Kompany, who headed it over an anxious De Gea.
At the return of the break, even with Ferguson’s side aware of what losing meant for them, still they couldn’t do much against the attack from their strengthen neighbors in light blue. In fact it was during the second half that the Citizens got the best chances of scoring, with shots from Toure and the Frenchmen Samir Nasri and Gael Glichy. On the other hand, the coaches had their own dispute at 76′, when Nigel De Jong tackled Danny Welbeck and Sir Ferguson accused the Italian coach of trying to influence the officials. Luckily it didn’t get worst then a discussion that lasted a couple of minutes, but some of the people around they get in between to stop the clash.
So clearly, it was a very exciting battle, some even have called it the biggest of the Premier League’s history. It must be the biggest at least for Roberto Mancini, since it placed his squad back in track for the title’s hunt, which he thought over some weeks ago. However, he still claims that MU is still the favorite to win the Premier League and that conquering the Manchester derby doesn’t change a thing –at this point might be the best way to see it. The truth is that these two leaders are tied in 83 points and that the only real advantage City has right now is in the Goals Difference.
With two fixtures ahead anything can happen, the title would be either for the blues or the reds, but in order to win they will have to be merciless with their next opponents. The facts are that City has done a better job in the last four matches than United, which had a couple of setbacks among the last ones, but if the Sky Blues make one mistake it could cost them the crown. Also a fact that can be disquieting for the Red Devils’ side is that in the last nine seasons the club that conquers the championship is also the one with the highest home record and precisely the club holding that record on this campaign is Manchester City (17 wins, 1 draw).
Even Ferguson is aware that the Citizens are in the driving seat right now, but Newcastle, which is the next rival of the current leader, has given some good surprises lately and for sure they won’t go easy on City. On the other hand, the Manchester United will meet the Swans on the next round, which although in their last matches were able to achieve 2 draws and 1 win, before that they had several defeats.
The other results from Round 36: Wigan 4-0 Newcastle; West Brom 0-0 Aston Villa; Swansea 4-4 Wolves; Sunderland 2-2 Bolton; Stoke City 1-1 Arsenal; Everton 4-0 Fulham; Norwich 0-3 Liverpool; Chelsea 6-1 QPR; Tottenham 2-0 Blackburn.