Lampard on target as Blues grind out win
FA Premier League
Saturday 13 December 2014, 15.00 KO
City: Hart, Sagna, Kompany (c) (Demichelis 76), Mangala, Clichy, Fernando, Toure, Lampard (Milner 59), Silva, Nasri, Pozo (Navas 73)
Unused: Caballero, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Fernandinho
Goals: Lampard (39)
Booked: Nasri, Hart
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Man of the match: Eliaquim Mangala
After the emotions of Wednesday night's victory against Roma, Manchester City were back in Premier League action against Leicester City. It was a scrappy and tense affair, with the blues not at their best, but showing both the resilience and grit that will be needed if they are to retain the title.
There were a number of changes to the team which beat Roma, with Vincent Kompany back in the starting XI along with Bacary Sagna, Yaya Toure, David Silva, and Frank Lampard. Jose Pozo was a late replacement for Edin Dzeko, after the Bosnian striker was injured during the warm up. With Sergio Aguero and Stevan Jovetic already missing, City are short of options up front and the decision not to replace Alvaro Negredo in the summer may come back to haunt them.
Leicester started brightly, with Vardy in particular looking to use his pace to cause City problems, but Eliaquim Mangala dealt with the threat admirably. The French international has been criticized at times this season, but seems to be growing in stature after a consistent run of games.
It took City a while to find their feet in the game, with David Silva and Samir Nasri both dropping deep to receive the ball, leaving Pozo isolated all too often. The young Spaniard has a bright future in the game, but looks ill-suited to playing the lone striker role at this stage of his career. He was bullied off the ball too easily, and caught offside too frequently.
City did, however, take the lead through Frank Lampard shortly before half time. The England international timed his run into the box perfectly, as he has throughout his career, before neatly converting Nasri's cross. It wasn't necessarily a deserved lead for the sky blues, but it proved sufficient to take all three points.
Leicester responded well, but City's defence held firm and in truth the home side had few opportunities. Joe Hart was relatively untroubled in the City goal. The biggest worry for Manuel Pellegrini came when Kompany appeared to suffer a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury, with the City captain being immediately replaced by Martin Demichelis. Pellegrini has sufficient cover at the back to cope in Kompany's absence, but the lack of striking options could yet hurt the Blue's title challenge.