A Tale Of Two Cities, Leicester & Manchester

Posted: December 29, 2015 in Football, Manchester City, Opinion, Premier League
Tags: , , ,

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(Now there’s a headline the press won’t think of using, much!)

PRE-MATCH

Time for Manchester City to step up to the plate and see if they can beat the best team in the Premier League thus far.

Whatever the result, there will be a handshake and a friendly word between two of the nicest managers in the Division.

Up to now City have remained fairly true to their standard description, inconsistent and poor, when missing some of the bigger players.

They certainly have to try and overcome this mental blockage they seem to have whenever Vincent Kompany is injured. With players such as Otamendi, Demichelis and Mangala to fill the two central defensive positions and Denayer, a full Belgian international, waiting in the wings, it is ridiculous that they struggle so much without their captain. Denayer, for example, can’t even get on the bench so goes out on loan, and he is a fully fledged member of the world’s best international team!

So, with Kompany missing again, it is up to the others to show how little his absence should affect the team.

Sergio Aguero returns again, probably to the annoyance of Wilfried Bony again, who will watch the game from the bench again, probably coming on around the hour mark so Aguero can put his feet up again. In fact the term “deja vu” could have been invented with Bony in mind!

Anyway, the team picked by Manuel Pellegrini still includes a few world class players and, on paper, Manchester City should win this. It’s only a pity they are playing on grass and City are about as predictable as the Grand National winner!

THE MATCH

The first twenty minutes or so were pretty even although Manchester City looked the more likely to score. Aguero, De Bruyne and Sterling had all had a shot at goal before Mahrez registered Leicester’s first effort.

By now, City were turning the screw and Leicester were playing counter-attacking football which, in the main consisted of hitting long balls for Vardy to chase. They were also losing the midfield battle so it looked only a matter of time before Manchester City’s superiority was rewarded with a goal.

So the usual happened, Leicester had two great chances to score. First Albrighton couldn’t quite get to a cross fom Fuchs, then Vardy was given a free shot which he put over the bar. This gave Leicester a new lease of life and they began to pressure City.

Half-time arrived with the teams level, which was just about right.

The second half started off at a fast pace with both teams creating half chances and it was end to end stuff. Leicester were beginning to gain the advantage. So much so that Claudio Ranieri, who had started with a cautious 4-3-3 which effectively gave him five across the midfield when required, changed to his usual 4-4-2  by bringing on Ulloa. Shortly before this. as predicted, Aguero had gone off to be replaced by Bony.

Again, the pendulum swung and Manchester City gained the high ground, but didn’t create any clear-cut opportunities.

In the 80th minute, Leicester brought on Andy King for the injured Drinkwater and the game started to swing from end to end again as both  clubs decided they could win it.

Manchester City decided that Iheanacho would win it for them so they brought him on in place of Sterling in the 89th minute. To counter this Leicester brought on Ritchie De Laet in the 92nd minute.

Neither substitution made a difference and the game finished 0-0.

POST MATCH CONCLUSION

In closing, I would just say that the winners in this game were Arsenal. If they can become a consistent team over the next three months or so, they can win the Premier League. Neither of the teams tonight did enough to really merit winning the game so a draw was a reasonable result.

As for me, for the second night running I had watched a Manchester team fail to score.

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