Manager Manuel Pelligrini has lifted his first trophy while at the helm of Manchester City as they beat Sunderland to claim the Capital One Cup. City fans will be hoping this is a sign of more to come as they still look to have a say in the Champions League, the FA Cup and the English Premier League. In the eyes of both players and fans the Capital One Cup might be the least prestigious of the trophies City is vying for this campaign it is nonetheless a trophy and something to propel them forward with the aspirations of adding more silverware to their trophy case.
Sunderland grabbed the lead after only ten minutes with a great strike from on loan striker Fabio Borini. Manchester City looked a little slow in the opening half not creating much and letting Sunderland have a little more of the ball than is usual of this City side. In the second half City came to life starting with a stunning long-range effort from Yaya Toure in the 55th minute. Ever since Toure’s move from Barcelona to Manchester he has been the man for the big occasion seemingly making a habit of scoring in the biggest matches in the most dramatic of fashions as the long-range strike has become a bit of a trademark for the Ivorian.
Within the next minute City had come back to take the lead on the foot of Samir Nasri. Jesus Navas netted a third in the final minute of regulation to put the match away for Manchester City as they take home their first trophy since winning the Premier League in 2012.
The road will only get tougher however if City are to bring home any more trophies. Currently they sit fourth in the Premier League table only six points back of league leaders Chelsea, but they have played two less matches in the Premier League than Chelsea meaning if they win both they would go ahead based on goal differential. Next weekend City will take on Wigan Athletic in the quarterfinals of the FA Cup, a competition that they will be favored in because a lot of the other dominant Premier League teams such as Chelsea Manchester United and Liverpool have all already been eliminated.
The biggest upcoming test for Manchester City will be the return leg of their Champions League tie with Barcelona. City will have to go into the Camp Nou already down two goals on aggregate both being away goals which means to progress they will have to score some goals. Barcelona is known for lopsided victories when they play at home so City will have to be careful not to go all out on the attack and leave themselves vulnerable at the back of their defense. Big lineup decisions will have to be made by Pelligrini as he is without center back Martin DeMichelis after he was sent off in the first leg, and he will also have to figure out where to insert Sergio Aguero back into the lineup after missing the last few weeks through injury. Going to Barcelona and winning is already such a tall order but adding in these disadvantages will make it all the better for Manchester City fans if they can pull off the upset.
This is good timing for City to win a trophy as it will only give them more confidence going forward to bring home more of them when the slate gets tougher in the coming weeks. Whatever is to come of Manchester City’s season they can be proud of lifting the Capitol One Cup today after winning over Sunderland.
Commentary By Max Petkevicius