Just as they did five days previous against Sunderland, Manchester City scored within the opening three minutes of the match. Fortunes were different this time around, though, as City cruised to a 3-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion.
Having drawn a 2-2 decision against Sunderland, City ran the risk of again dropping points to a relegation-battling team at the Etihad Stadium. As City desperately fight to keep alive their outside shot at regaining the Premier League title, full points were/are vital from their closing fixtures if they have any chance of capitalizing on a potential Liverpool defeat. They have a trio of Argentines to thank for all three points Monday night.
Pablo Zabaleta and Sergio Aguero had City ahead 2-0 ten minutes into the match. Just when it looked like City may really open up the score-line, Graham Dorrans scored a counter attack goal for WBA. Any hopes Albion had of a comeback were dashed before halftime as Martin Demichelis became the third Argentine to score on the night for City, restoring their two-goal cushion. Albion did little in the second half to suggest they were up to the task of getting back into the game. The only sour note from the match, from a sky blue Manchester point of view, will be midfield maestro David Silva having been stretchered off the pitch with what appears to be a serious ankle ligament injury. Anxious days are ahead as City supporters hope things aren’t as severe as they looked for Silva.
What does this victory mean for Manchester City?
City still require help from Chelsea, Crystal Palace and/or Newcastle (Liverpool’s remaining opponents) if they hope to halt Liverpool’s ascension to their first league title in 24 years. Liverpool currently sit on 80 points from 35 games played. City, despite currently lying third in the title race, are actually the team (no offense Chelsea) that have the most realistic chance of catching Liverpool thanks to their game in hand. With 74 points from 34 matches, their fate is out of their hands, however.
Assuming City can get the maximum 12 points from their final four fixtures (away to Crystal Palace and Everton before finishing at home versus Aston Villa and West Ham), that puts them at a maximum total of 86 points. In the event that Liverpool do succumb to defeat, City would then control their title destiny, assuming they win out, thanks to their superior goal difference, currently four better than Liverpool.
If the above paragraphs make sense to you, then you’ll understand that City supporters will be huge fans of Jose Mourinho‘s Chelsea side six days from now as Chelsea travel to Anfield to take on Liverpool this Sunday. Liverpool, with either a win or a draw against Chelsea, will edge that much closer to Premier League glory.
In a fascinating run-in to the close of the 2013-14 Premier League season, Manchester City did all they could Monday night to stay in the title race. All they can do now is hope to win their remaining fixtures and cross their fingers that the table-topping Redmen from Liverpool drop a game.
For the record, Liverpool are currently riding an 11 match winning streak. Oy vey.