Manchester City Are Now One Victory Away from Winning the English Premier League
The fat lady is at the Etihad Stadium and although she is not singing yet, she is warming up whilst looking at the English Premier League table. Manchester City are ahead of Manchester United on goal difference and they are one win against QPR away from winning the coveted title for the first time since the competition’s inception in ’92.
Things could have been so different. United pulled ahead by 8 points at one point this season, but City clawed it back and by beating United for the second time this term they assured the Red Devils that the Citizens have more resolve than everyone expected.
Yesterday City traveled to the Sports Direct Arena to take on the EPL’s surprise package, Newcastle. All of the pre-match buzz was ringing about Newcastle’s sharpshooter Papiss Demba Cissé and how much of a threat the home side would be, and Roberto Mancini did nothing to assuage such discourse. However, things panned out differently.
City played at a constant tempo. An uncomfortably compact Newcastle side sat in banks in front of their goal, allowing lunging runs from their faster attackers while marking Tevez and Aguero out of the game and turning their bull-in-a-china-shop midfielder Cheik Tiote on Samir Nasri and David Silva.
City created chances, but it was not until the second half when Mancini sacrificed Nasri for defensive midfielder Nigel De Jong that the complexion of the tie changed.
Unshackled by De Jong taking up his sentinel post, Yaya Toure began a track to goal. He clattered forward time and again and demonstrated the power that had pundits fawning at the start of the season.
He finished with two goals to his name and City finished victorious. The substitution was more adventurous than some would have first thought and it was one which had BBC radio analyst and former Premiership manager Phil Brown proclaiming Mancini a “tactical genius”.
City celebrated as if they had won the title there and then, but this jubilation quickly receded as it was made clear to them that nothing is over yet.
Further west Manchester United hosted Swansea in the later game. They were aware of what transpired in Newcastle and by all accounts Old Trafford felt somber and devoid of any emotion as United walked through a 2-0 win against the Swans.
Now Sir Alex Ferguson suggests that nothing is over, his voice betraying his words. By his own admission City have their hands on the title and by suggesting that former United striker and former City manager Mark Hughes could defy the odds to beat City on the last day with his QPR side Ferguson sounds desperate.
He isn’t, but he has to try anything he can. The problem is that this is his very last hope.
QPR defeated Stoke yesterday, with a goal by Djibril Cisse rendering the tie a 1-0. Queens Park Rangers will stay in the Premier League if they beat City or snatch a share of the spoils. Ferguson knows this and he is hoping that the London side will be fired up. He is praying for a fight that QPR have not shown all season. However, in the powerful form City are in at the minute few sides in Europe could repel them.
If QPR are defeated it does not matter what United do: Manchester City will be the champions of the English Premier League.