Before Sunday’s English Premier League match against Manchester City Frank Lampard (pictured) had scored from his last ten penalties for Chelsea. He was given a chance to extend that record during the second half of this crucial match but his kick was saved by Joe Hart. City then scored twice to win the match and still keep alive their remote chance of winning the league.
City won the English Championship for the first time in 44 years last season. They famously scored two goals in injury time against Queens Park Rangers to beat Manchester United on goal difference. Sergio Aguero scored the decisive goal in the 93rd minute and the fans went wild with relief and delight.
At the time the United coach Alex Ferguson promised than no United team that he was managing would lose out on a title because of goal difference. He bought Robin van Persie from Arsenal and that player has now scored 22 goals in all competitions. He looks to be a strong favourite to be named Footballer of the Year in England.
However, there will be some concern that van Persie was forced to leave the field in United’s win over QPR at the weekend. The club are playing Real Madrid in the huge Champions League tie at Old Trafford next Tuesday and Ferguson cannot afford to be without van Persie.
Sir Alex has said that his current squad is better than the 1998-99 vintage that won the Treble of FA Cup, Premier League and Champions League. The key to that group was the four top class strikers at Ferguson’s disposal. He has something similar this season but if van Persie missed the Madrid game Wayne Rooney would have to take on more goal scoring responsibility.
As for City they now look booked for second place but a successful defence of the title looks beyond them. The one slight glimmer of hope is that still have to play away to United. If that game was won and United slipped up again the gap would be six points. However, in horse racing parlance United look home and hosed.