The Sunderland result just might prove crucial in deciding City’s title hopes. Utd face Blackburn, a match they are almost sure to win which could stretch the lead to five points.
Three things to take from this match. The petulant and self destructive display of City’s players on the pitch will be seen as a major factor in their thwarted ambitions. Patrick Vieira’s comments on how Utd have profited from referee favouritism appear self serving with Phil Dowd’s decision to award a dodgy spot kick after Edin Dzeko clearly used “simulation” to come down in the box.
James Milner who was partly responsible for giving away Sunderland’s first two goals got into a slanging match with Roberto Mancini. This paled in comparison to the childish display by Balotelli who jostled with team mates over taking a free kick before being told to butt out by Vincent Kompany. These events overshadowed what was actually a creditable turnaround by City to force a 3-3 draw after being down 1-3. Balotelli got two goals including the penalty from Dzeko’s dive and Kolarov scored the equalizer. David Silva whose creative spark fueled City for most part of the season looked worn out and he was subbed off in the second half.
It was Sunderland providing all the right talking points in this match with Martin O’Neill in contention for manager of the year having whipped the Black Cats into shape. Utd will have to thank Arsenal because it was Seb Larsson, a former Gunner giving them a brace and Nicklas Bendtner on loan looking like a real centre forward also scoring. Bendtner’s goal was a vintage on the money header off a cross by Sebastian Sessegnon, who was also involved in Larsson’s goals.