Demichelis Proves A Point As City Take Three

Man City survived a difficult afternoon with ten men to close the gap to Chelsea (for a few hours at least). Matt Stanger was impressed by Silva and Demichelis...

Last Updated: 17/03/14 at 09:06 Post Comment

Latest Articles

Saints Alive Despite Death Knells...

Post comment

An awful lot of cash has been thrown in Southampton's direction for a collection of players with itchy feet who took them into mid-table. This is not a crisis; it's excellent business...

Everton's No. 9 Dream Needs More Options

Post comment

Staring at a big basket labelled 'Romelu Lukaku' should not be the sum total of Everton's striker plans. They need two new faces. Remy? Welbeck? Anyone at all?

All Articles

As Lee Mason snatched the red card from his pocket it seemed that Manchester City's title hopes were slipping away. Vincent Kompany knew what it meant - 80 minutes with ten men only three days after an exhausting night in Barcelona. Normally the coolest head in the game, the captain took out his frustration with a karate kick on the wall of the Hull tunnel as he made his way back to the dressing-room. Mason had failed to spot Nikica Jelavic's foul in the build-up to the incident, but it mattered little after the referee had made his decision.

Having Kompany dismissed was one problem for City; having Martin Demichelis remain on the pitch alongside Javi Garcia in a makeshift back-line was more reason to worry. This was the centre-back pairing that City fans hoped they would never have to see - the most conspicuous evidence yet of Manuel Pellegrini failing to adequately strengthen his defence either last summer or in January.

And yet City remained solid. It was a performance on which titles are won as Demichelis jabbed one in the eye of his critics and Garcia left the baby at home. On Saturday, City's heads were very much in the game; no hoodies, no complacency - it was an organised, professional display to claim only their fourth victory in nine matches and first on the road to reeling in Chelsea. This was a gutsy effort that reiterated Jose Mourinho's fear of a City revival.

Of course, with David Silva on the pitch there was always the opportunity for a moment of magic to break from the rough-and-ready resolve that City were forced into demonstrating. The Spaniard's sublime strike looked as though it was hit in frustration at the injustice of Kompany's dismissal but, even when he's spurred by anger, Silva can't help but produce a thing of sheer beauty.

The goal galvanised City. Now they had something to hold on to. Now the point that Demichelis had set out to prove would count for three in the title race. Hull launched ball after ball into the box, but the defence's judgement was shrewd, stepping up as one to leave Jelavic offside on four occasions. It was infuriating to Steve Bruce - to Demichelis it was perhaps further evidence that Kompany's failure to judge the line was the real reason for that costly mistake against Barcelona at the Etihad.

City still have problems, though, despite possessing a squad that seemed immune to injuries and poor form at the start of the campaign. That it took Edin Dzeko two clear chances to wrap up the victory - the second of which couldn't have been made any easier by Silva - points to Pellegrini's main area of concern. It was the striker's first goal in over ten hours and City's tenth in their last nine outings. With Sergio Aguero again missing because of a hamstring strain and Alvaro Negredo subdued following his shoulder injury, the previous attacking potency remains missing.

It will need to return if City are to haul themselves level with Chelsea. The Premier League leaders have scored the fewest number of goals in the top three, but they have also conceded five fewer than City despite having played two games more. "One of the easiest things in football is to win 1-0," said Mourinho in December - but try telling that to Pellegrini ahead of away matches against Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool.

If City can continue to defend as they did on Saturday, they will stand a chance of sneaking results by the odd goal. But the truth is there are tougher tests than Hull on the horizon. At the KC Stadium, they showed plenty of the ingredients required for a title challenge, but Pellegrini will hope for good news on Aguero and Negredo in the ten days before the trip to Old Trafford.

Matt Stanger - he's on the Twitter.

Football365 Facebook Fan Page

The Football365 fan page is a great place to meet like minded people, have football related discussions and make new friends.

Most Commented

Readers' Comments

I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

ted, manchester
The Insecure Gossip

H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

notalentjones
Benteke ignoring speculation

I

n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

FairyNuff
Shaw told to shape up

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Premier League: Yaya Toure happy to stay at Manchester City

Yaya Toure has reaffirmed his commitment to Manchester City, insisting he wants to stay for "as long as possible".

Champions League: Henning Berg hopeful of Legia Warsaw's chances against Celtic

Legia Warsaw boss Henning Berg hopes his side can get a positive result against Celtic in their Champions League tie.

Premier League: Ross Barkley signs new four-year contract at Everton

Everton midfielder Ross Barkley has signed a new four-year deal with the club.

Mail Box

Youth Development Has To Be The Future

A varied Mailbox has thoughts on transfer targets, youth development, the obsession over 3-5-2, some innovative Blackpool suggestions and why Real bought Kroos...

Don't You Worry About Southampton...

We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...

© 2014 British Sky Broadcasting Ltd. All Rights Reserved A Sky Sports Digital Media property