Manchester City’s title hopes were dealt a massive blow as a late winner from Swansea super-sub Luke Moore saw the Welsh side take all three points at the Liberty Stadium. The striker had been on the field for only a matter of minutes before a poorly defended cross from the impressive Wayne Routledge was headed past Joe Hart in the 82nd minute. Cue pandemonium in the stands both in Wales and at Old Trafford.
After a 2-0 victory against West Brom, Manchester United headed to the top of the Barclays Premier League, a position Manchester City had held since October.
It could have been much worse for the Blues however, had Scott Sinclair managed to despatch his fifth minute penalty. After a bright start the ball was played through to Routledge who was brought down by Hart, City felt aggrieved but it was a difficult decision that referee Lee Mason decided to give to the hosts. A poor penalty from Sinclair saw Hart guess correctly and get a strong hand to prevent the Swans from going one up.
The first half was dominated by Swansea but their failure to create clear-cut goal scoring opportunities allowed City to find their way back into the game. A tactical change by Roberto Mancini shortly after the half hour mark saw Gareth Barry replaced by Sergio Aguero and it changed the game. The Blues looked livelier, kept possession better and began to get a foothold in the game.
It was much better from City in the second half but Swansea still created chances; a dangerous cross from Routledge fizzed into the box just evading Danny Graham. The Blues were living dangerously. As Yaya Toure began to control the game, City patiently began to probe but just could not quite break down the impressive Swansea defence.
With the end of the game approaching and a draw looking inevitable a quick break from Swansea saw them break City’s hearts and take the lead. It was the Blues’ man-of-the-match Yaya Toure who was caught in possession after a poor pass from defender Stefan Savic. The young Montenegrin was returning to the team alongside captain for the day Kolo Toure in the absence of the injured Vincent Kompany and Joleon Lescott.
As the Blues rallied for the last five minutes they thought they had snatched a late equaliser. The ball was crossed into the box and a commanding leap from Micah Richards saw him head the ball past Michel Vorm in the Swansea goal. With Richards reeling away in celebration he failed to see the assistant on the far side flagging for offside. It was a bitter pill for City to swallow, but Richards was narrowly offside.
Deep into injury time City again piled the pressure; even Hart came forward for a late free kick but to no avail. The game finished 1-0 to Swansea and City are now a point behind Manchester United with ten games remaining. The season is not yet over and it looks likely that it will all come down to the Manchester derby on Monday 30th April. Out of the two, City have the more difficult run in and if they want to win the league they must win their remaining games and perform better than they did against Swansea.
What are your side made of Roberto?
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