This Could Be The Result Which Changes Everything For City
A first away win in seven, and one delivered from the jaws of defeat. There are always moments in title winning seasons when things begin to change, and this could be one of those moments for City.
Arsenal were eight minutes or so away from toasting what would have been the day which really solidified their title favouritism, and although the Gunners should rightly still be considered the most likely to win this most messy of leagues, they’ll feel City’s hot breath down their necks now.
How’s your nerve, Arsene?
Mangala’s Misery Shows No Sign Of Ending
There are certain footballers who make it look as though playing football is the last thing on earth that they want to be doing.
You can throw Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala into that category following yet another display in which he seemed to be full of nerves from the moment he set his sights on Watford’s in-form attacker Odion Ighalo, who has had great success this season simply by being strong, quick and mobile.
Mangala – a huge investment for City in the summer of 2014 – continues to confuse rather than inspire confidence, and in the absence of Vincent Kompany it might be that Manuel Pellegrini looks to Martin Demichelis for a little more solidity.
Ighalo & Deeney Are The Stars, But Watson & Capoue Set The Stage For Them
We know all about Watford’s strike partnership, but it was another dynamic duo which were the most impressive in this performance which ultimately yielded nothing.
Midfielder Etienne Capoue and Ben Watson hassled, harried and hurried City to within an inch of their lives, with Yaya Toure and Fernandinho finding time on the ball limited and chances to get the ball forward to the four attacking talents ahead of them restricted.
Capoue was particularly tenacious, whilst Watson’s part in Aleksandar Kolarov’s own goal will further strengthen his position as City’s unlucky charm two-and-a-half years after his FA Cup final winner for Wigan.
Pellegrini Should Have Fought Fire With Fire
Raheem Sterling played noticeably closer to Sergio Aguero than he often has in the past, but in failing to select an in-form Wilfried Bony from the start, Pellegrini missed a chance to copy Watford’s setup and give them a proper front two to deal with from the very beginning.
Given how poorly Sterling played in his hour on the pitch, it is tempting to wonder just what would have happened had Bony’s greater physical strength been utilised from the start.
It would have given City more of a reference point upfront, and perhaps made this win a fair bit less dramatic.
Yaya Toure Is The ’One Second Footballer’
He’s way below the striding colossus that we used to see careering his way through Premier League midfields in his peak years, it is easy to see why Pellegrini keeps faith with Toure.
His volleyed finish here was masterful, proving that one second is all that he needs to change the course of a match.
And perhaps a title race.
Read more from Mark Jones