City showed exactly why they are deserving of the premier League title last night by beating a stubborn Villa side 4-0. It was a controlled and patient game which highlighted the title winning mentality in the squad nicely. Here are some longer thoughts…
The first half was incredibly frustrating and it looked like we had the potential to choke. Having 75% possession is impressive, but it seemed like the pointless kind of possession that I have previously railed against in these pages; It was pretty much total domination against a nine man Villa defence which was highly disciplined and succeeded in stifling City almost entirely.
City’s only chances of note were a Toure shot from about 6 yards out which Guzan did very well to save and Nasri’s glaring miss at the near post from 2 yards out. Other than that there were various shots from distance, all of which were easily saved.
Basically, the first half wasn’t much to write home about as City dominated but dithered. They were patient in the build up, yet couldn’t find the final pass. Weak shots were sent in and too-long balls were sent over the top to a stale looking Dzeko who looked to be having an off night in the torrential Manchester rain.
As should have been obvious to us, Pellegrini clearly had a plan and there was no real reason to panic. City’s problem in the first half wasn’t the approach, it was the execution. This was fixed swiftly in the second half.
Dzeko once again scored a pair of vital goals, continuing his exceptional recent form. He is often derided, often by me, for his many faults, but credit where it is due – he scores important goals. This is not new information to us, but it is very nice indeed to get the occasional reminder. The goals last night were near carbon copies of each other and Dzeko has to be applauded for getting himself into those dangerous positions across the front of the last defender. If you are there, chances will arrive.
Of course neither goal would have been possible without Pablo Zabaleta who was simply outstanding. Again. There is a reason he is beloved of us and last night showed why. He won the man of the match in his 150th Premier League start for City and more than anyone has propelled the team towards a second league title in three years. Daniel Storey on Football 365 called Zabaleta the “catalyst for all that City achieved” and you will find no arguments on that score from us.
If City win the Premier League then seeing Pablo lift the trophy will be the best thing ever.
Yaya’s goal… well, there’s really nothing to say, so here’s two gifs to do the talking for me:
In a season full of goals to make you sit up and gasp, that may very well be his best.
We Go Again
And so here we are, one game from the title. A few weeks ago we had given up, but Steven Gerrard, Chelsea, and Crystal Palace gave us another chance. We live and die on Sunday but this is a group of players we can have faith in to get the job done.
I’m starting to feel it.
Written by Alex Timperley who is on Twitter