What's buzzing:

Tom Maston: Manchester City proves there is life in its title challenge

Goal.com
Tom Maston: Manchester City proves there is life in its title challenge
.

View photo

Tom Maston: Manchester City proves there is life in its title challenge

HULL, ENGLAND — Kicking the tunnel as he made his way to the dressing room, Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany must have feared the worst after receiving his marching orders in the first 10 minutes of his side’s encounter at Hull.

After being knocked out of two competitions in a week and still recovering from a long flight home from Catalunya, the buoyant Tigers looked set to take advantage.

But what followed was the kind of performance on which title wins are built. Showing grit and character in abundance, as well as some of the attacking quality on which its quadruple bid had been built, City kept Steve Bruce’s side at bay before striking at the opportune moments.

It was notable that the City players only appeared for their pre-match warm-up 30 minutes ahead of kickoff. Their session was light as well as short in comparison to Hull’s.

If that was a conscious decision, it certainly paid off as the visitors showed great energy despite their numerical disadvantage to defend manfully as well as counterattack decisively to seal the three points in the final minute.

At the heart of victory was an outstanding showing from David Silva, with the little Spaniard finding space with regularity and threatening the Hull defense with his quick feet and blistering pace across the ground.

His wonderful curling effort from 25 yards just minutes after Kompany’s red card gave City the belief that it still had enough to win this match — and the Premier League.

After defeats to Wigan and Barcelona as well as some less-than-impressive away showings throughout the campaign, there were some who were already writing City off after the Belgian’s red card. But with players of Silva’s quality, that is a huge error to make.

The best player on the pitch by some distance, he held the ball up admirably for a man of his diminutive stature before capping his performance with a sumptuous pass that Edin Dzeko couldn’t help but accept. Any hope Hull had of finding a late equalizer had gone.

To those who follow Pellegrini’s side with regularity, Silva putting in such an influential display will be faimilar. The showings of some of the less-heralded individuals in the City squad will have also caught the eye.

Few have been criticized more than Martin Demichelis this season, but the way in which he led the defense in Kompany’s absence was magnificent. Pellegrini praised the Argentine after a couple of disappointing weeks and he deserves all the plaudits after finally showing all the experience and knowhow for which he was originally bought.

Alongside him, Javi Garcia — another much-maligned figure when compared to some of City’s galacticos — did not look out of place after being thrust into defense early. Together, the center backs set an offside trap that Hull, and Nikica Jelavic especially, repeatedly fell into.

The importance of the victory was illustrated perfectly in the dying moments as Dzeko, having netted for the first time since the end of January, was mobbed by all nine remaining outfield players in front of the traveling supporters.

Their relief was plain for all to see and a series of embraces after the final whistle only added to the feeling that the players felt this could be the match that kick-starts their title bid.

There is still a long way to go, with Pellegrini’s men still having 11 matches to play, but if the manager can steer City to the title, he may well look back on this match as a moment when his side passed a huge test and saw its belief return.

View Comments (0)
  • By staying the course, Liverpool put itself back on course in the Premiership

    By staying the course, Liverpool put itself back on course in the Premiership

    The news this week that the English soccer side had turned a profit for the first time in seven years comes at the same time EPL observers have seen a turnaround in the performance on the pitch. … More »

    Yahoo Sports - 33 minutes ago
  • Serie A clubs agree to help Parma finish the season

    Serie A clubs have agreed a deal that will allow bottom club Parma, beset by financial problems, to complete the season, the league said after a meeting on Friday. Parma's players have not been paid all season and their last two Serie A matches … More »

    Reuters - 55 minutes ago
  • Galaxy sign Finnish MF Vayrynen

    CARSON, Calif. (AP) -- The LA Galaxy have signed Finnish midfielder Mika Vayrynen. … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 15 minutes ago
  • Morgan's goal sparks 3-0 US win over Switzerland in Portugal

    Alex Morgan redirected Lauren Holiday's free kick for a goal some nine minutes into the second half and the U.S. women's national team went on to defeat Switzerland 3-0 on Friday in group play at the Algarve Cup. Amy Rodriguez added a goal in the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 19 minutes ago
  • Toronto FC-Whitecaps FC Preview

    The question now for Toronto FC may not be whether the ninth-year franchise can gain its first playoff berth but rather can it win the MLS Cup with the additions of Sebastian Giovinco and Jozy Altidore. The Vancouver Whitecaps have made the … More »

    AP - Sports - 1 hour 23 minutes ago