Picking up where they left off before the break, Manchester City FC took the English Premier League (EPL) lead back once again. They are hoping that it will be for more than just one day this time. When Aston Villa takes the pitch on Monday, Manchester City will be cheering for an upset which would keep Arsenal from getting the three points and taking the top spot away once more. After the events of their match against Newcastle on Sunday, City must be feeling like they are due a break. Newcastle manager, Alan Pardew, however, has been quite vocal in his opinion that they already got one.
After Edin Dzeko put Manchester City up into the lead, the match began to get very physical, and tempers ran a bit hot. After referee, Mike Jones, disallowed a Cheick Tioto goal that would have evened the score, those that were running hot began to boil over. There was a question of whether or not Yoan Gouffran, in an offside position when the shot was taken, interfered with Joe Hart’s ability to dive and save the ball. The ensuing escalation of hostilities was very nearly out of control. Jones handed out multiple yellow cards to members of both clubs.
If it was, indeed, a mistake to disallow the goal, he made an equally huge mistake by not sending Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa off for his excessive tackle of Samir Nasri. The obviously deliberate assault, which saw him kick Nasri’s leg and knee not once, but twice, was a red-card offense in anyone’s view. As it is, Hart has made a convincing argument that while his view was not blocked by Gouffran, his ability to dive for the ball was impeded. The shot from Tiote was a beautiful one, unlikely to be saved by anybody, but the potential to do so was taken away.
If anything, Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini, ought to feel he has cause to criticize the performance of the referee. Instead, Pardew went beyond all propriety and unleashed an obscene assault of invective against Pellegrini. This was caught on film, as well, and Pardew has since apologized to Pellegrini once he found out that the exchange had been recorded.Pellegrini has moved on to Monday’s match, fixing his hopes of maintaining the EPL lead on Aston Villa. Manchester City fans all over will be watching closely, hoping that Arsenal will fail to find a way to take the points, and the league lead, away with them.
Although Pardew has made his forced contrition, he continued to protest the fairness of the disallowed goal. Nasri, meanwhile, is thought to have severe ligament damage to his leg, and may be out for a while. Being that the game was won by more than a one-goal margin, Nasri appears to be the one with a bigger ax to grind.
If there is one silver lining to be found coming out of Sunday’s match, it is the news that Sergio Aguero will soon be returning to the pitch for Manchester City. He has announced that he will be fit for next weekend’s match for sure, with the strong possibility existing that he may be fit enough to play some of the FA cup rematch on Wednesday. With Nasri out, having Aguero back will go a long way toward allowing the club to maintain the top form that has earned them the top position for the time being. It will be for Aston Villa to decide the fate of Manchester City on Monday, and City fans will be watching and hoping with anticipation to see if the mighty Arsenal will stumble and allow them to stay on top.
By Jim Malone