Feb 22, 2014, 1:33 PM EST
It took nearly 70 minutes for Manchester City to break down Stoke on Saturday, but when they did the sense of relief around the Etihad Stadium was evident.
Yaya Toure crashed into the penalty box and finished expertly with 20 minutes to go as City’s pressure, and most importantly their patience, paid off.
Stoke set up to defend and weren’t bothered about winning the game and after a draining 2-0 defeat to FC Barcelona in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, City looked to have run out of ideas and steam for most of the second half.
But the Citizens kept chugging away and eventually sealed a vital three points to keep them within touching distance of Chelsea in top spot. City manager Pellegrini was pleased his side stuck to the task.
“Three points, three very important points. We had the application to continue attacking and we had the concentration. They [Stoke] were defending with 10 players in their box,” Pellegrini said. “It was very important to be concentrated for counter-attacks and set pieces. Both things were important, to keep a clean sheet and to be patient. I thought we controlled the game and it was a matter of time before we scored.”
I’m not sure if every Man City fan inside the stadium shared Pellegrini’s optimism, as City looked labored with Alvaro Negredo, Edin Dzeko and Stevan Jovetic all leading the line but they all looked out of ideas as Stoke’s two banks of five shut down every avenue. Almost.
Add in the fact that City have failed to score in the past two PL games, a 1-0 defeat to Chelsea and a 0-0 draw with Norwich, the pressure was on late in the game for Pellegrini’s men. The last time City had failed to score in three-straight PL games came six years ago, and stats like those were swirling around before this game as City’s prolific offense has suddenly dried up. But then big Yaya turned up to grab the points.
Patience will play a big part in their Premier League title race. City proved they’re up to the challenge as they ground out a win, kept their cool and seem to have navigated a sticky patch.
Can they keep it up?
Jan 31, 2015, 11:20 PM EST
Diego Costa has again claimed his own innocence. And you know what? I believe that he believes he’s done nothing wrong.
Jan 31, 2015, 10:43 PM EST
Big Sam was quick to take the credit away from Liverpool and place the blame for Saturday’s loss on his own injury “crisis.”
Jan 31, 2015, 9:24 PM EST
Van Gaal remembers what happened last time his side led Leicester, and he learns his lessons the first time.
Jan 31, 2015, 8:30 PM EST
All of the day’s confirmed, officially official transfer dealings from Saturday, Jan. 31.
Jan 31, 2015, 7:27 PM EST
The actual games took a backseat to shenanigans as two of four semifinals places were booked on Saturday.
Jan 31, 2015, 5:45 PM EST
All of Saturday’s action from Spain and Italy.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:57 PM EST
Arsenal and Southampton hope to keep their assaults on the Top Four in order, while Aston Villa and Swansea City hope to snap skids.
Jan 31, 2015, 4:19 PM EST
And to think, we’ve still a pair of Sunday matches on the slate. Let’s go through what’s done and dusted.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:40 PM EST
There were eight games in the PL on a busy Saturday. Here’s how it all went down with recaps, analysis and much more.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:20 PM EST
Manchester City’s boss thought his charges were very good, but is disappointed to snare a solitary point against Chelsea.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
Lampard was the last player on the pitch, saluting both groups of supporters.
Jan 31, 2015, 3:06 PM EST
What did we learn from the tense draw at Stamford Bridge? Here’s three things.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:47 PM EST
Giving Chelsea and City’s players a mark out of 10.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
All the goal scoring came within the 41st and 45th minutes at Stamford Bridge, as City failed to cut into Chelsea’s first-place advantage.
Jan 31, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Want to see Benzema’s brilliant bender? Of course you do.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:40 PM EST
Blind believes United are getting close to what LVG expects.
Jan 31, 2015, 1:21 PM EST
It started off slow and tentative, but the big match between Chelsea and Manchester City is opening up
Jan 31, 2015, 1:04 PM EST
Moyesy is learning Spanish from a Manchester United fan…
Jan 31, 2015, 12:50 PM EST
For the Toffees, defense is the way forward for the rest of the season.
Jan 31, 2015, 12:33 PM EST
“It’s always difficult to be honest when you’ve had a long break,” Defoe said. “But I’ve had a mini-pre-season and I’m getting sharper and sharper.”
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