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|Newcastle 0-2 Manchester City: Five observations as the Citizens move closer to clinching the 2011-12 title|
SoccerAnchor's Saikat Mandal examines the five key observations to take from Manchester City's crunch win at Newcastle..
Mancini was just beginning to look worried. Newcastle, not only resolute but they had their chances of their own. The Argentine duo upfront did well but not well enough to break the Magpies defence. He needed to do something as time was running out.
Mancini tinkered with his formation, introduced Nigel De Jong and Eden Dzeko in the scene. Yaya Toure did the rest. His curling shot past Krul left the City supporters in pandemonium. Smiles and hugs shared all over the blue segment of the stadia, few cried out of joy.
When Toure found the net again, it was all over. The Citizens breathed huge sigh of relief as they inched closer to title – the League trophy which they craved for 44 long years.
1. The game was lively from the onset: Both the teams had their own missions to fulfill. Kompany and Coloccini took control of defence for their respective teams while Tiote and Cabaye marshalling the midfield with great aplomb. Demba Ba had the best chance to put Castle upfront but Lescott blocked his shot and Joe Hart saved the rebound from Ben Arfa.
2. Change of Tactics: Mancini took Nasri off and introduced De Jong in place. As a result, Barry and De Jong could get hold of the midfield and allowed Yaya Toure to play in a bit higher position. The former Barcelona man was dangerous with his forward runs and which ultimately made all the difference.
3. Yaya Toure: The match was all about Yaya Toure. The Ivorian was sensational to say the least. His energy, guile, brilliance, bursting runs created panic in the Newcastle heart. Both the goals came from intelligent moves involving Aguero and him. Though the Argentine didn’t score but his link up play with Toure was vital. For the first goal, his lay off left Toure with space and the goal, but the solo effort of curling the ball past Krul was top drawer.
4. Missed chances: Well, these types of games are settled by one or two chances. Leading by a solitary goal with 30-odd minutes left to play is always a risky affair. Had Cisse’s header gone in, the complexion of the game could have been different. However, Toure broke Newcastle’s heart again late on, when he slotted home from close range, and again Aguero the architect.
5. What it means to the title race: The victory puts the Citizens one step closer to the title. Manchester United could only close the gap tonight and make sure that their noisy neighbors drop points in the last game. But, it puts immense pressure on the Red Devils, as a draw late on against Swansea would leave their hopes fading away like a strong gust of wind.
Follow Saikat Mandal on twitter @SMandal87