Nov 10, 2013, 11:01 AM EDT
With Newcastle having downed Tottenham earlier today, title-hopefuls Manchester City suffered a setback of their own as Phil Bardsley and Sunderland downed the Citizens at the Stadium of Light on Sunday.
Bardsley scored after a major defensive mistake from the City back line, and the home defense did its job after as City’s red-hot partnership of Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo produced nothing significant in front of goal.
Like Spurs earlier, Manchester City wasted a host of shots – 23 of them to be exact – and Manuel Pellegrini’s bunch will be ruing their lack of creativity, not something said often this season.
The game began as a harsh, physical midfield battle with City bringing little width as they lumped all their midfielders relatively centrally.
Very little took place at the Stadium of Light until a goal lit up the home crowd in the 21st minute. Phil Bardsley locked himself onto a ball from Wes Brown, and after a defensive mix-up he clinically finished past Pantilimon for a surprising home lead.
The goal sprung the game wide open, as both teams pressed for more. Sergio Aguero flew a header wide in the 32nd minute which he’ll wish he had back, as Alvaro Negredo’s cross came beautifully across the face of goal to Aguero at the back post.
Adam Johnson, causing City all kinds of problems down both wings, nearly won a penalty battling with Milner on the left flank but referee Mike Dean said no as both players were battling for an advantage.
The match also featured some crunching tackles, with Javi Garcia earning a yellow card midway into the first half for his efforts. Sebastian Larsson nearly found himself into the book or worse, but somehow Mike Dean let him off the hook for a horrible challenge on Garcia that got no ball and all shin.
That challenge left Garcia substituted off at halftime for the attacking-minded Jesus Navas, and he helped build some attacking presence. The game, however, slipped back into the early first-half form of a midfield battle.
Ki Seung-Young had a chance from long-distance in the 58th minute but his slicing effort was always going wide.
Following that Manchester City began to assert their second-half dominance on the ball, but like Spurs earlier in the day could not produce a dangerous final ball. Sunderland’s defense remained very rigid and maintained its shape, and City never got seriously in past the back four until late searching for an equalizer.
Finally, in the final 10 minutes, the sense of urgency set in for Manchester City still down the early goal. Substitute Edin Dzeko and Alexander Kolarov had some serious attempts on Vito Mannone‘s goal, but Dzeko hit wide and Kolarov put the ball into the side netting.
Sunderland put every single player back behind the ball as City threw everything forward, but there was absolutely no space between the Black Cats players.
It’s a statement win for Sunderland, who remain in 19th position but are now in sight of the exit from the relegation zone, where three weeks ago they were in dire straits. Manager Gus Poyet has come in and picked up two wins where Paolo Di Canio couldn’t get one.
Sunderland – Bardsley 21′
Sunderland – Mannone; Celustka, Bardsley, Brown, O’Shea; Ki, Larsson, Colback, Johnson (Borini, 87′), Giaccherini (Gardner, 72′); Fletcher (Altidore, 77′).
Manchester City – Pantilimon; Richards (Zabaleta, 71′), Demichelis, Lescott, Kolarov; Milner, Toure, Garcia (Navas, 45′), Nasri; Aguero, Negredo (Dzeko, 71′).
Jul 22, 2014, 11:34 PM EDT
Business up front. Defense in the rear.
Jul 22, 2014, 11:17 PM EDT
L.A. Galaxy Insider report also speculates that Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez could take a Designated Player spot in Major League Soccer if he leaves Old Trafford.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:45 PM EDT
“It’s obviously a shame he’s not here, but Liverpool is a club that’s bigger as any individual,” Rodgers said from Fenway Park.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:03 PM EDT
Inter Milan and Queens Park Rangers have swooped in for two of the Bluebirds’ best players, and Vincent Tan probably isn’t too happy.
Jul 22, 2014, 8:42 PM EDT
Shaw speaks to PST: “Manchester United are the biggest club in the world. I didn’t think twice when they wanted to sign me.”
Jul 22, 2014, 8:39 PM EDT
When a guy many consider a footballing genius gives the United States coach praise, that’s a pretty cool feather in Klinsmann’s cap.
Jul 22, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT
Premier Leaguers in the U.S. on Tuesday = A day of open training sessions, autographs, football helmets and golf clubs.
Jul 22, 2014, 6:43 PM EDT
The 19-year-old is a promising prospect, but is dealing with negative headlines after being subject to abuse on Tuesday in Croatia.
Jul 22, 2014, 6:24 PM EDT
Fraser Forster will be sticking at Celtic, for now, after Southampton reportedly lowballed the Scottish powers.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:30 PM EDT
Hand on shoulder, hair-coiffed, warm smile… next! Becks makes the rounds on the United’s U.S. tour.
Jul 22, 2014, 5:00 PM EDT
There have been reports of where the 32-year-old American left sider will not be going, but little as to where he will.
Jul 22, 2014, 3:56 PM EDT
For every “stars… they’re just like us” moment a player gives you, there are moments like this, which will not happen to 99.9999% of us at work in our lives
Jul 22, 2014, 2:22 PM EDT
Xavi set to remain at Barcelona until January, at least.
Jul 22, 2014, 2:04 PM EDT
Yeah. This is actually happened… as Stoke pull off a major coup.
Jul 22, 2014, 1:34 PM EDT
Guardiola: “He trains well, he’s a good guy and my first idea is that he’s going to stay for the rest of the season.”
Jul 22, 2014, 12:56 PM EDT
Will Lovren become the third Saints player to join Liverpool this summer? If the price is right, it sure looks that way.
Jul 22, 2014, 11:51 AM EDT
Where will Rodriguez line up next season for Real? Here’s an in-depth look at the options.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:56 AM EDT
Second time around, Dunga will lead Brazil’s new era.
Jul 22, 2014, 10:05 AM EDT
What do you get for $107 million in today’s world? A red-hot 23-year-old Colombian striker, that’s what.
Jul 22, 2014, 9:25 AM EDT
Klopp says Hummels is not for sale… not at the price reported anyway.
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