Aguero saves City's blushes
FA Premier League
Saturday 08 November 2014, 17.30 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Demichelis, Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Fernandinho (Dzeko 64 [Lampard 68]), Toure (c), Nasri (Milner 74), Navas, Aguero
Unused: Caballero, Zabaleta, Jovetic, Boyata
Goals: Aguero (32, 83)
Booked: Nasri, Sagna
Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Sergio Aguero
After a poor midweek performance against CSKA Moscow, City were back defending their Premier League crown, with a tricky trip to Queens Park Rangers on the cards. It was a frantic game, fantastic for the footballing neutrals, but City were unable to get the three points to put pressure on league leaders Chelsea.
City manager Manuel Pellegrini rang the changes after the midweek Champions League game, claiming that the team needed "freshening up" and opted for Bacary Sagna over Pablo Zabaleta, with Eliaquim Mangala replacing the injured Vincent Kompany. In midfield, Fernandinho was partnered with Fernando, whilst Yaya Toure was given license to roam further forward. Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas were the wide players given the task to assist Sergio Aguero up front.
After a bright start by City, they found themselves being pegged back by the home side, with the impressive Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin causing the Blues all sorts of problems. They found the net twice in a short space of time, only to see both goals disallowed. The first was a header by a clearly offside Austin, but the second was more bizarre. Hart went to take a free-kick in his own box, before miskicking the ball straight into the path of Austin who fired home. The goal was disallowed, much to the frustration of the home fans, but correctly according to Fifa's rules. As the free-kick wasn't directly kicked out of the penalty area, it had to be retaken. The home side did take the lead soon after, when Austin once again finished well after good work from Eduardo Vargas.
City responded well, with the exceptional Aguero causing problems for the home team. His equalizer was a moment of genius. Collecting Mangala's through ball with a sensational first touch, he weaved through two challenges before slotting nonchalantly past Robert Green. The two sides went in level at half-time, with City arguably in the ascendancy.
The second half seemed to follow a similar pattern to the first, with City dominating the opening exchanges before QPR again grew in stature. The hosts took the lead for the second time, when Martin Demichelis diverted the ball into his net after being pressured by Bobby Zamora. It was looking like another frustrating afternoon for the Blues, but again they responded with another piece of Sergio Aguero brilliance. Almost mirroring his first goal, he trapped Toure's through ball, before rounding the on-rushing Green and finishing calmly into the empty net. City pushed for the winner, with Yaya Toure seeing his goal-bound shot well blocked by Joey Barton, but the Blues were unable to find that all important third goal.
City are now eight points behind league rivals Chelsea, but manager Manuel Pellegrini was defiant, believing the international break might be good for his side. They will need to rediscover their impressive form of last season if they hope to catch Jose Mourinho's men.