How do Manchester United keep doing it? Losing at home to Blackburn yet still not losing any ground in the title race. It seems to happen year after year, why can no team take advantage of them slipping up. Manchester City have easily the best squad ever assembled in the Premier League and they have now gone two games without scoring.
After watching the game against Sunderland, I am very tempted to back United to take the title because City need to win games like this if they want to be champions. It’s not like they were terrible but this is what a lot of teams do against the big teams- put 11 men behind the ball and defend for their lives. Manchester United always seem to find a way and yes there is the joke in football about ‘Fergie Time’ but it’s not just by chance that they keep scoring last minute winners unlike their rivals in the past, whether it has been Chelsea, Arsenal or Newcastle.
The most frustrating thing about this defeat for City is the fact that even though they had a lot of shots they didn’t seem to create many clear cut opportunities apart from the Richard’s header that hit the bar, which would have been harsh on Sunderland seen as though he was arguably offside. With all their talent and wealth they should be able to create a lot of chances against a team that had players playing out of position, with Craig Gardner a central midfielder at right back and Jack Colback at left back, Sunderland must have been fearing the worst. This was an even more daunting task when midway through the first half one of their most experienced defenders Wes Brown went off injured for a player that has been in the wilderness at Sunderland since basically the day he signed Matt Kilgallon.
The Sunderland players will be very proud of their victory but Manchester City should be ashamed of their efforts at the Stadium of Light. However, I am going to point the blame at Roberto Mancini because I thought he had realised the way to win the league was to attack as he had been doing at the start of the season when they looked unstoppable but for some reason he went back to his old ways and played De Jong and Gareth Barry in front of the back four with only one player upfront. Surely when your nearest rivals get beaten the day before you play, you do everything you can to win your next game, why were David Silva and Sergio Aguero warming the bench in the first half especially when City don’t have to worry about playing in the Champions League for the rest of the year. Yes they are in the Europa League but I cannot see them taking the competition seriously.
One last comment on where Mancini has failed is keeping his players happy mainly Carlos Tevez. I’m not defending the player’s actions but this was his type of game where his effort and determination would have grabbed a goal for City like he did so many times for United when he was there.
Being top of the table means dealing with pressure, Manchester City bottled it today and if the Red Devils get a similar opportunity later in the season they will take advantage and Sir Alex Ferguson will have won the mind games yet again.