By Craig Pearson on March 15, 2014
Manchester City beat Hull City 2-0 in the Premier league on Saturday, even though the visitors were down to 10 men for the majority of the game. It was a professional performance from City, and one they badly needed after Chelsea had opened up a nine-point gap. There were many contributing factors to the crucial win and City will need performances like this (and more) for the remainder of the season to become champions.
The referee for the game, Lee Mason, correctly gave Vincent Kompany an early red card, and also correctly rejected a penalty claim from Hull City when George Boyd blatantly dove in an attempt to trick the referee. City, however, should have had a penalty given against them when Fernandinho barged into the back of a Hull attacker, but the referee wrongly waved it away. A goal for Hull, against 10 men, would have totally changed the game.
Edin Dzeko did an excellent job for his team in this match. With only 10 men, Dzeko worked for the team, as he pressed the Hull defense, won headers and held the ball up and brought other City players into the play as they counterattacked. Dzeko should have scored more than the one goal he actually got, but he did score the vital second, which killed off the game late on.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini had a key decision to make early in the game when Vincent Kompany was sent off. Pellegrini could have easily turned to Joleon Lescott to come on and play at centre back, but the City manager instead moved Javi Garcia back there, from midfield, to play next to Martin Demichelis. Garcia and Demichelis played fantastically in what was a great decision by Pellegrini and key in keeping a clean sheet on the day.
With 10 men, City was always going to face periods of play where it would have to defend. The back-four defended superbly well and gave a great foundation for the rest of the team to spring on the counterattack. Much maligned Martin Demichelis and Javi Garcia were both brilliant, as were fullbacks Gael Clichy and Pablo Zabaleta. The rest of the team also contributed, but the makeshift back-four were the crucial.
David Silva was the star of the show. A fantastic curling shot gave City the lead and from there, he just got better and better. As City defended deep, Silva gave City a great outlet as his ability to keep hold of possession helped the team relieve the pressure all afternoon. Silva was a constant threat on the counterattack as he found the right pass and made the right decision over and over again -- as he did to set up Dzeko for the second goal.
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