27 February 2010

City at Chelsea and Liverpool at Old Trafford

As usual, I hate bumping match previews off the top, but it's inescapable after watching City demolish Chelsea this morning, which prompted a massive bit of déjà vu. It looked an awful lot like Liverpool's away victory over United last season.

How many similarities? Let me count the ways...

• A late winter/early spring match between the league leaders and the league "upstarts."

• An opening goal for the home side, in the first half, which appeared to put them on the path to the predicted victory.

• A fortune equalizer for the visitors. And the equalizer came because the defense messed up a hopeful punt and the visitor's star striker terrified the defense into more mistakes when running straight at them.

• A 1-2 goal against the run of play, from another defensive mistake.

• A red card for the losing home side after the 70th minute, after the team had made a raft of substitutions to change the shape.

• The red card immediately led to the visitors’ third goal, from a set play. Liverpool's came from an Aurelio free kick and City's from a Tevez penalty.

• A 1-4 goal, again on the break, again against the run of play, for added gloss.

• Converted penalties for both sides.

• A surprising double for the visitors. Liverpool beat United 2-1 at home and 4-1 away. City beat Chelsea 2-1 at home and 4-2 away. The only reason the scorelines finished different was a late consolation penalty, given in injury time and converted by Lampard. It would have been too spooky had all four matches ended with the same score.

Liverpool's win, coming right after beating Real Madrid by four goals, sent them on a run of nine wins and one draw to finish the league campaign. City have 11 games left. If the similarities between today's match and last year's continue, City will assuredly cement a Champions League place. And it'll probably be at the expense of Liverpool.


drew said...

Cech's injury is basically handing the league title to United, that and Terry's form plunging off a cliff.

City still have the harder run in, and I think Gerrard is about to go on one of his tears. If he and Torres can find the partnership again then we can still make fourth--I can see City dropping points just in the next two games away to Sunderland and Fulham.

But if we don't make it this season then we are going to have a hell of a time getting back in the top 4 next year, and it would be an excruciating offseason waiting to see who turns in transfer requests.

nate said...

Yeah, agreed on all above.

Not conceding fourth by any means, but City were impressive today. These were points I hoped/expected they'd drop; taking all three from Stamford Bridge is a big ask. A 4pt gap with 11 games to play is achievable, but City need to do Liverpool some favors.

And yeah, Chelsea are going to desperately miss Cech and Cole. Hilario was laughably bad today; Turnbull has to start the next game. With Chelsea on 61, Utd on 60, and Arse on 58 with 10 games to play, you'd have to think Arsenal will be tougher competition for the Mancs. They've the easiest run in, and they'll be sentimental favorites after that awful injury to Ramsey. But they've crumbled under pressure in the past and Sol Campbell routinely starts for them in defense. Sigh.

Mike Georger said...

Stupid fucking Chelsea. Hope all year for them to win it (okay, after a few weeks) and they shit the bed. How the fuck does that team not buy in January? And how does Ancelloti survive this season when they showed less restraint with better managers?

Honestly I'll be more pissed if Arsenal win it at this point because at least I respect SAF, and without Ronaldo Utd are a lot less hated in my eyes. They're going to match our title count sooner or later, I'd almost rather it be when we aren't fighting them for it. If that makes any sense.

Mike Georger said...

And how about that Sideshow Raheem capture?

And yes, that nickname will propel this kid to superstardom.

Baadier said...

The similarities are crazy, but when they are listed like that you cant help but notice them. I was kinda torn watching the game because i never want chelsea to win but we needed the win for 4th place and to keep united away from championship number 19

nate said...

Best. Nickname. Ever.

Mike Georger said...

Yeah I won't lie I'm pretty happy with that.