City’s title hopes evaporates as they lose to Arsenal and United go 8 points clear at the top with a win over QPR. Arsenal take a step towards finishing third in the league, while Balotelli’s City career looks to be as good as finished. Here are the 7 things we learned from the two games in the Premier League on Sunday.
1. If That Was Done By A Foreign Player He Would Have Been Booked
If that dive was done by Sergio Busquets or Luis Suarez or Mario Balotelli then they would have surely been booked. Though as awful as Ashley Young’s dive was, it obviously bamboozled Lee Mason enough to give an immediate penalty and also show a straight red card for QPR skipper Shaun Derry. There is a school of thought in England that diving is a “foreign” thing, a disease in the beautiful game brought to the Premier League by the expensive imports. England players seem to be learning well these days.
2. Michael Carrick & Paul Scholes – The Most Inform Midfield Partnership in Premier League
Is there any other center midfielder partnership better and currently inform in the Premier League other than Michael and Paul Scholes? Perhaps not. The duo completely dominated the game from the first minute to end against QPR. The two were the catalysts for the three points United gained. Yeah QPR are a struggling side and United are at the top of the table but they both have performed superbly for more than a couple of months now. Carrick and Scholes out-passed and out-though their opponents to launch a succession of attacks at Paddy Kenny’s goal. Anderson and Tom Cleverly or even Paul Pogba may be the future of Manchester United’s midfield, but Scholes and Carrick are surely the present and one of the main reason of their success this season.
3. Two Must-Win Games For QPR Up Next
Following the 2-0 defeat at Old Trafford, Mark Hughes and QPR know they have a massive week ahead of them with two must-win games coming up. QPR face the likes of Spurs, Chelsea and Manchester City in their last four matches of the season & points look extremely difficult to come by against these sides. So their next two games – Swansea @ home and West Brom @ Away – are the two most important games of their whole season. Two wins would take them to 34 points, not a guarantee of safety, but will take them a step closer to it. If they fail to do so, then they are surely heading back to nPower Championship after just one season in the Premier League.
4. Silva Was Missed, But Losing Yaya Toure Was A Huge Blow
The visitors undoubtedly missed the creativity of David Silva with the Spaniard absent with a knee injury. Yet, on the afternoon, the sight of Yaya Toure hobbling off after jarring a leg following a challenge from Alex Song was the key. The midfielder is influential at both ends in the City team, a huge presence in defence and surging forward in attack, and it was no surprise when Pizarro was slow to close down Mikel Arteta as the Spaniard scored the winner. Toure might not have been so easily bypassed.
5. Balotelli’s City Career Looks To Be Over
With the Italian picking up his 3rd red card of the season, he is expected to miss the next three games and his ban may even be extended to five matches if he is found guilty for the studs-up challenge on Alex Song in first half. If that happens then, he would surely miss the rest of the season which also includes the huge Manchester derby at the Etihad. In the post-match interviews Mancini said he was completely disappointed with Balotelli’s lack of discipline and would probably look to sell him in the summer. Completely agree with Mancini over here. Balotelli is a hugely talented player but he is a total disgrace to the club and is wasting his talent doing the wrong things. City must sell him in the summer but the question remains will there be any takes for a player like him.
6. Arsenal Sense Third Place Is There For The Taking
This was a hugely significant victory for Arsenal in their pursuit of third place and Champions League football. Tottenham Hotspur had actually edged back ahead of them in the table some 24 hours earlier, and Chelsea and Newcastle United were breathing down their necks. So to emerge victorious from what appeared their most demanding fixture of the run-in – Chelsea are still to visit – felt psychologically significant. They were the hungrier and, ultimately, more impressive side against City. They can approach their remaining fixtures with relish.
7. Its United’s Title & City Are Finished
With just six games to play in the season, Manchester United lead Manchester City by eight points. The title race is mathematically on but virtually its all over and Mancini also knows it. If City do win the title, it will have meant an epic collapse from Manchester United, one that will feel inconsequential in comparison. More than likely United will clinch the title at City’s ground three weeks from now. Called as the title decider for the most of the season, the Manchester derby on the 30th April will instead serve as a coronation for England’s champions. It will be a cruel twist for City, but they would have only themselves to blame for a run of five points from their last five games.