City’s Draw at Anfield Could Well be a Watershed Moment in United’s Hunt for #20
Having watched City’s match last week, Sir Alex and the rest of the Premier League will have taken huge confidence from City’s performance, or lack of it, at Anfield.
Looking on as Liverpool peppered Joe Hart’s goal, everyone was able to see the first chink in Mancini’s armour almost exposed; as cracks in City’s back line started to appear thick and fast.
Dalglish’s men could not believe their luck when they found themselves in acres of space behind Kompany and Co. With little effort, Charlie Adam and Lucas were able to stretch the gap between the centre halves, just like they did at Stamford Bridge, and exploit a vulnerable back four.
In a second half of complete dominance from the home side, it was Joe Hart who stood up and saved Mancini’s blushes. As his defence helplessly tried to repel Liverpool’s attacks, it was only the Englishman’s brilliance which salvaged a draw for the Blues, who were lucky to escape after Liverpool’s abundance of missed opportunities. Commendably, England’s #1 appeared to have an impossible task but, much to his credit, Hart proved pulled off an array of first class stops; including a potential save of the season to deny the troubled Andy Carroll a late winner.
At the final whistle, it was telling that City breathed a huge sigh of relief, safe in the knowledge that they could carry an invaluable point back to the Etihad. However, despite maintaining their five point advantage on a weekend when it could easily have been cut down to two, it was still a very promising weekend for Fergie.
Previously, City’s defence had domestically been like a porous rock, soaking up all the pressure thrown at them, in a goal drenched Premier League but their trip to Anfield could well prove to be a watershed moment. Against Lucas and Co, their resilience was certainly broken and gave a clear sign to other outfits in the division that Mancini’s side aren’t as invisible as they’d like to think they are!
At a time when United put in their best performance in weeks, against Pardew’s buoyant Newcastle side, the Old Trafford faithful must remember that the season is still young and that City can be beaten. Despite failing to score more than one goal, last week’s performance included constant attacking pressure, against one of the League’s meanest defences, and showed that the Red Devils have not lost their attacking prowess.
Without making any ground on Mancini’s outfit, last week’s fixtures should give hope to the United faithful that we can look forward to sealing a 20th league title in May depsite City’s admittedly formidable early season form.
Considering their incredible array of attacking talent, it seems that City’s strengths lie in final third of the field, despite their traditionally pragmatic Italian manger, and not in defence, where we have been so good recently. Although many will say that their incredible strike force will be good enough to paper over any cracks in their back line, it is said that any great championship winning side is built from the back, something which Sir Alex knows only too well!
Written By Guest Writer, Tom McGovern