Yaya Toure paid no mind to Newcastle celebrating the heritage of Bobby Robson with a stature outside St. James’ Park or their Champions League aspirations. The Ivorian scored twice to give Manchester City a 2-0 and open a 3 point lead over Manchester United.
Patience was the key for Mancini, who keeps picking the wrong lineups, knowing he’ll be using better ones later in the match. Carlos Tevez was disappointing and got subbed for Edin Dzeko, Samir Nasri was bad and got replaced by Nigel De Jong. That De Jong substitution sounds defensive, but it frees up Yaya Toure to a more attacking role, scoring two goals that might, if United drop three points against Swansea, clinch the Premier League title with one more game-day to go.
The memories of their previous collapse and fall in the table kept City grounded and a bit cautious earlier on. The nightmarish duo of Papiss Cisse and Demba Ba forced City to attack with restraint, as Newcastle kept looking to hit on the counter attack with Hatem Ben Arfa pushing forward.
Newcastle did have their chances, but Joe Hart was positioned very well every time, and even if he wasn’t some defender put his body on the line. The story was the same on the other side. Tim Krul didn’t look and behave with the confidence we’re used to see from him, but Newcastle defended well, making City sweat for every opportunity.
But as the game moved forward, Newcastle remembered they need to win as well. The Champions League, something Newcastle forgot how to spell because of a disappointing decade, is on the line. Things opened up, and after Mancini’s substitutions, City had enough room to be much more dangerous. Sergio Aguero kept missing, but eventually it was Toure with a wonderful, curling finish that lifted the pressure off the citizens, waiting for their first league title since 1968.
Newcaslte aren’t a very good team when they have the initiative. They preform better on the counter attack and through long balls to Cisse and Ba. Kompany and Lescott made it very hard for the two Senegalese strikers to create anything really dangerous.
It’s not over yet, but City did very well in their toughest test of the remaining two matches. No one actually expects them to drop points at home against QPR, but you never know. United enjoy some sort of something inexplicable when it comes to title runs. City beating them twice, being the best team in Manchester and in the Premier League, might not be enough if they don’t remain calm and concentrated before the final hurdle.