Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Tale of Two Cities: Manchester and London

In the last two days, it has become even more obvious which team in the Premier League wants to win the title the most. If you haven't already guessed, it's Manchester United. Visiting West Ham on Saturday, the Red Devils found themselves down 2-0 at halftime thanks to two penalties for the Hammers. In the second half however, Wayne Rooney inspired the Mancs with a hat-trick to win the match 4-2, completing one of the best comebacks of the season for any team. Talking to the press, Alex Ferguson praised his side, saying, ""I think we played like champions." I have to agree. Champions show true grit like this, keeping cool and calm, and showing a truly wonderful display to come back like this. If they manage to lose the title race for the Premier League, I for one, will be truly shocked.

On the other side of Manchester, the Citizens showed a hungry, fighting spirit to completely dismantle Sunderland's defense, demolishing them with a score of 5-0. Every player on the Manchester side was craving to win this match, with Adam Johnson, who needed to secure Mancini's trust, scoring the first goal. Then, Carlos Tevez put it in from the penalty spot. David Silva, Patrick Vieira, and Yaya Toure all scored to finish off the Black Cats. Thanks to this win, Manchester City moves into 3rd place, taking the spot over from Chelsea. But, they have also played a game more than Chelsea, and are only a point ahead. This match was also a much-needed divergence from Roberto Mancini's usual defensive tactics.

Now, onto the English capital city, London. With Fabregas, Song, and Walcott all returning from injury, the Gunners were looking to start a huge title-charge with a win over Blackburn Rovers. But, once again, like many other times, it wasn't Arsenal's day. Like usual, despite having many more chances to score and put the game away, Arsenal's usual goalscorers couldn't do so. Even with Cesc Fabregas coming on in the second half, they still weren't able to put the many chances from crosses into the back of the net. It seemed like Marouane Chamakh was missing from the side. Thanks to Blackburn's stellar defending, they got a much-deserved draw against a weak Arsenal side. The Gunners' supporters made their feelings knowing, with a big, resounding "BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO". Could it be time for Arsene Wenger to move on?

With a recent resurgence in great form, Chelsea were hoping to do the same as Arsenal, trying to cause a major upset in the title race. But, also like Arsenal, their team couldn't cooperate to get a much needed win against Stoke City. Falling to a wonderful early goal from Jon Walters, Didier Drogba then got the equalizer with a wonderful header on the half-hour mark. With both teams relatively evenly matched, they were both desperate to get the winning goal. The Potters were twice denied by the woodwork, and also forced Petr Cech to make a myriad of wonderful saves to keep Chelsea level. Soon before the end of the match, Didier Drogba was also denied getting the winning goal by the crossbar.

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