The changing fortunes in Manchester




In the mid-week fixtures, the two top teams of the English Premier League faced off against teams they were supposed to win easily against. But after much of drama and a fairy tale finish for one of them, the standing of the Premier League took another major turn.

The changing fortunes in Manchester

The changing fortunes in Manchester

While the league leaders Manchester United, coming in from a draw at Swansea, were facing a mediocre Newcastle, their rivals Manchester City were facing a relegation threatened Sunderland after a close 1-0 victory in the weekend.

Here is how the matches panned out:

Team line-ups: Manchester United went in without Talismanic Wayne Rooney. Scholes started off with Carrick. Vidic was also rested. City went in with no Mario Balotelli. Tevez started ahead of Sergio Aguero for City in the attack.

The United and City routine start: Both matches started alongside with United going behind early with a goal similar to the one they conceded to Swansea last weekend. De Gea managed to save but could not collect the ball which was hammered in on the rebound.  Jonny Evans equalized for United through a set piece.

Meanwhile City started of steadily having a number of chances. Sunderland’s keeper was enjoying a great form saving Sunderland with his foot twice from David Silva strikes.

Drama at Old Trafford before half time: Sunderland took a surprise lead over United through a Jonny Evans own goal where Danny Simpson was in off-side position right behind Evans. Though the goal was ruled out by an off-side flag from sidelines the referee over ruled the decision. Newcastle went in front on half time against a shaky United with an animated Sir Alex.

There was no such drama in the stadium of lights though with neither City nor Sunderland getting a break through.

United levels twice and City go behind: Evra delivers again for United early in the second half through a nice strike into the bottom corner. This season 10 goals have been shared between Evra (4) and Evans (6). However Newcastle scored again through Cisse leading for the third time. With not many options for United on the bench, cleverly was brought on in place of Scholes. United hit back for the third time with Van Persie hitting a clinical finish of a rebound of own shot.

Sunderland goes in front by a goal in little under 10 minutes in the second half with a most unusual goal from Adam Johnson. After the goal, Sunderland looked a lot more dangerous getting some terrific chances though they were not able to convert them.

United do the United way again and City fails to deliver: With the time running out, both match saw some fierce attacking. Van Persie and Hernandez missed a couple of chances by a whisker after some terrific plays from Giggs and Valencia. Ameobi hits the post but it was United who should have really been in front by a mile. Hernandez finally scored of a volley to deny Alan Pardew any point in the fixture.

At the same time, Manchester City were fighting hard to get something out of their fixture. However they were hard done by a resolute Sunderland defense and some brilliant goal keeping. Sunderland’s goal keeper Simon Mignolet is definitely the man of the match for them. He pulled of some stunning saves as Martin O Neil’s side won 1-0.

Conclusion: United go 7 points clear of the current champions City and Manchester is currently painted dark Red with the Red Devils marching on ahead in the title race on the Boxing Day. History repeated itself as United remained undefeated on the Boxing Day for more than a decade now and more than four decades in the fixture against Newcastle. Sunderland beats City for the third time successively at the stadium of lights doing themselves a big favor for the relegation battle.

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