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.