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

The Pre-Season 'Is He Still There?' XI

Post comment

Featuring XI players who have been in pre-season action for Premier League clubs who you might be forgiven for forgetting. Like N'Zogbia, Boyata, Obertan and...

Plenty Of Reasons Why Lukaku's Worth It

Post comment

The mailbox defends Everton's enormous outlay on Romelu Lukaku, while we also have mails on Spurs and Suarez. Oh, and worrying about the new magic spray...

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

T

heyremind me of Utd's treble winning side. Swashbuckling and risk prone. We ha Jaap Stam to paper over the cracks at the back though. Not sure they have their Jaap yet.

HarryBoulton
New Striker Not Liverpool's Priority...

A

lexis Sanchez; too good for Liverpool, Stevie. :)

pires
Suarez 'too good for Arsenal'

T

he solution is to not feel sorry for any of Jabba, Gold or Sullivan. They're all deeply unpleasant and all deserve each other. If only West Ham would sign Barton and Suarez then no one would ever need to despise any other club.

spuzzell
The Strange Idea Of Sympathy For Big Sam

Latest Photos

Footer 365

Patrice Evra reveals he would have been Man Utd captain if he had stayed

Patrice Evra has revealed he would have been made captain if he had stayed at Manchester United.

Transfer news: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers targets further signings

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers is hoping to further strengthen his squad ahead of the transfer deadline on September 1.

Transfer news: Jose Mourinho confirms Fernando Torres will stay at Chelsea

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has told Sky Sports News Fernando Torres will not be sold during this transfer window.

Mail Box

Plenty Of Reasons Why Lukaku's Worth It

The mailbox defends Everton's enormous outlay on Romelu Lukaku, while we also have mails on Spurs and Suarez. Oh, and worrying about the new magic spray...

Sterling Stuff And Other Friendly Thoughts

We have one reader reaching conclusions from last night's friendly while we have others discussing Romelu Lukaku's move to Everton. Oh and some swearing...

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