Man City 2 West Ham 0: Three talking points
Man City 2 West Ham 0: Three talking points as Citizens clinch their second Premier League title in three years
Pellegrini’s subtle City deserve their crown
Although there were nerves from some blue shirts and desperate belief from red ones before kick-off, City comfortably claimed their second league title in three years. Many of those in the media will argue that Liverpool deserved the 2013-14 Premier League title, but in truth, City have been as impressive in attack as their red rivals, and even better at the back. With a rampaging start to the season in which the sky blues were banging in four or five goals a game, City’s solid work at the back and consistent churning out of results has gone under the radar in the latter parts of the campaign thanks to Liverpool’s fairytale title charge. But the where the former lost their composure, and ultimately their lead at the top thanks to several defensive lapses, the 2011-12 champions trucked along in an assured and understated manner that echoes the demeanour of their newly appointed manager. Pellegrini has often been ignored in the back pages thanks to the churlish actions of Chelsea counterpart Jose Mourinho, and the ‘belief’ laden press conferences of Liverpool’s Rodgers. But finally it is the Chilean’s name that will be coveted by the newspapers for weeks to come, and deservedly so. Pellegrini has plugged the holes in Roberto Mancini’s leaking ship, and started to build a City side that could dominate for years to come.
Carroll’s cup dream in doubt
Andy Carroll’s demeanour throughout the 2-0 loss to City was not one of a happy man. Flying in to challenges with his elbows raised and then screaming at the referee in protest against any resulting reprehension, the former Liverpool front man looked a picture of rage. Perhaps it was just frustration at a poor season filled with injury struggles and unattractive football, or perhaps it was the mindset of a professional footballer who knew that his World Cup chances were floating away from him like a wayward 40-yard Kevin Nolan lofted through-ball. If Roy Hodgson was on the fence about the physical number nine, today’s performance would not have pushed him any closer to handing Carroll one of the 23 plane tickets to Rio. Often thriving on being a physical presence and getting ‘in amongst it’, Carroll could not even successfully compete in the air against Vincent Kompany, and any attempt to put pressure on Joe Hart (a big part of the striker’s game) were overzealous and subsequently punished. If the England boss is looking to pander to the views of outside voices and shift England towards a more technical style of play championed by a raft of new young players, then Carroll’s days in the white shirt may be over before they’ve barely begun.
City’s midfield is the envy of world football
After the season they have had, it seems pointless to even type this out, but Yaya Toure and David Silva are two of the finest midfielders around. Toure has been excellent throughout the campaign, netting an impressive 20 league goals, and should feel hard done by for being ignored once again in the end of year player of the season awards. Silva on the other hand has had a season blighted with niggling injuries, but has still managed to produce some excellent performances in the 27 times he took to the field. Yet it is not their individual brilliance that has seen city snatch the title away from Chelsea and Liverpool, it is the partnership they have created. At times this season City have been forced to play without one or the other thanks to injury and suspension, and during those periods they struggled, but with both of their £20m or so signings running the show together, they are seemingly unstoppable. Depending on the outcome of Monday’s FFP punishment from Uefa, Manchester City have a real opportunity to spend big and build the rest of their team around these two, and perhaps finally crack their Champions League hoodoo.
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