The winter of the 2013/14 season was an exciting time for Manchester City. Between 24th November 2013 when the Blues put six past Spurs at the Etihad and 29th January 2014 when City put another five past the team from White Hart Lane, Manuel Pellegrini’s team went on a fantastic run of winning 18 games and drawing just two, in all competitions. A remarkable 69 goals were scored in the process.
Spurs were the not the only ones to feel the full force of City’s lethal attack in that period: West Ham lost the two legged League Cup Semi-Final 9-0, Arsenal conceded six, whilst Fulham, Cardiff and Watford all shipped four goals each. It was not all plain sailing, however, and the points were harder to come by on some occasions. One such occasion was on 28th December when the recently appointed Tony Pulis came to town with Crystal Palace.
Just two days after a breathless 2-1 victory against Liverpool on Boxing Day, City found themselves up against a typically stubborn Pulis side. With two games in such close proximity to one another Pellegrini made six changes to the team that beat Liverpool and the likes of Edin Dzeko, Javi Garcia and Dedryck Boyata were brought in. Though the home side dominated the possession and peppered the Palace goal with mostly off target shots in the first half it was difficult to for the Blues to establish any rhythm and, crucially, having an meaningful reward for their. The most memorable moment of the half was Joe Hart receiving a nasty gash to the eye after a collision with Cameron Jerome.
City eventually took the lead in the second half when Dzeko turned in Jesus Navas’ cross with a tidy first time finish much to the relief of the anxious City faithful looking. It proved to be the only goal of the game and was just about enough to secure the three points. City contrived to face a late scare when Joel Ward almost equalised. Thankfully, Pellegrini’s men held on to move two points clear of Arsenal at the summit of the Premier League.
After the match, Pellegrini lamented the hectic festive fixture schedule which lead to him making so many changes for the game. He said:
I always knew this game would not be easy. We were not fresh; it is impossible to play two games in so little time, and it is always difficult when only one team is trying to play. The other team just wanted to play for 90 minutes in front of their own goal. I understand why they chose to do that, and sometimes it is very important to know how to win 1-0.
City XI: Hart, Boyata (Negredo), Clichy, Fernandinho (Nasri), Kompany, Nastasic, Jesús Navas, Javi García, Dzeko, Silva, Milner (Kolarov)
Sub: Lescott, Rodwell, Pantilimon, Y Touré
On this day Katy Perry was at number 15 in the UK Singles Chart with Roar.
Meanwhile, The Wolf Of Wall Street was on UK cinema screens.
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Written by Rob Toole