English Premier League
Sunday 22 April 2012, 16.00 KO
City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri (K Toure 86), Silva (de Jong 59), Aguero, Tevez (A Johnson 75)
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Milner, Dzeko
Goals: Aguero (27), Nasri (74)
Booked: Y Toure
Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Gael Clichy
City made their intentions clear from the start, with Tevez having the first shot of the game from range; it was well over the bar in the opening half a minute. Bassong responded from a corner, as Clichy’s header dropped to the Wolves man on the edge of the box and his effort was deflected just over the bar. And then it was Aguero who couldn’t quite turn in the Wolves box to get a shot away, in a frantic opening.
With six minutes on the clock, Barry found Aguero in an onside position and he was almost through on goal. He was forced just wide by Stearman, but still got his shot in – it flashed just wide of the post, with De Vries beaten. Again, though, Wolves responded: Davis smashed an effort at goal from the edge of the box after a good cut back, but Hart was across well to keep it out.
On the quarter of the hour, City stepped up the quality. Some one-touch passing between Barry, Zabaleta and Aguero left the full back with the chance to find Nasri breaking into the box. On a tight angle, the Frenchman tried to nick it past the goalkeeper towards the back post, but it rolled just wide. Then Tevez had a swing and a miss, before Aguero’s shot was blocked and Barry skewed the rebound wide.
Soon, it was the blues with the pressure. Aguero couldn’t make the most of a gift from Stearman as the centre-back’s header to his goalkeeper was short, before the Argentine had a left footed shot from the edge of the box skim the far post.
Just before the half hour, City got themselves in front – and it had been coming. A brilliant ball into the middle from Clichy dropped perfectly for Aguero inside the area and, one-on-one with the goalkeeper, he was never going to miss, sliding it past De Vries. It was exactly what the visitors had deserved.
Soon after, Tevez hassled the ball back from the Wolves defence and set the visitors back on the attack. He slipped Aguero in and his strike partner found Nasri in the box. The Frenchman slid the ball back to Tevez, but his shot was well held by De Vries. There was no let up in the pressure from the blues.
The half time break came at the wrong time for City and, despite their first half dominance, they couldn’t get going in the second period. Wolves found themselves with more possession and it took Zabaleta and Kompany to combine to keep out Ward, before Foley skied an effort from range after Clichy had been dispossessed. Fletcher tested Hart with a great header from a free kick, but the City keeper pulled off a great stop to keep it out.
Tevez wriggled free for City inside the Wolves box, but couldn’t find Aguero at the back post, before Yaya Toure broke onto a Barry ball to smash a low cross in. Stearman, though, just got enough on it to prevent it reaching Tevez at the back post. Aguero couldn’t quite get a touch on the ball to take it around De Vries and Tevez won the ball on the edge of the box, but Stearman blocked his effort. City were still struggling and Wolves were chasing everything.
But, just as the home side looked to be getting back on top, a quick bit of thinking from Tevez set the blues away. He played a quick one-two with Clichy from a free kick and slide the ball through to the back post, where Nasri, Toure and Aguero were all queuing up. It was a good finish and it was Nasri who beat the goalkeeper, doubling City’s lead.
Johnson almost added a third with a volley just a minute after he joined the action; Aguero did well to get a cross in and Nasri touched it down for the winger, but his right footed effort was well pushed away by De Vries. Aguero, again, then crossed towards Nasri, but it was just too far ahead of the Frenchman for him to get a shot away.
With eight minutes to play, Johnson pulled out a peach of a ball to find Aguero onside and through on goal. But, with so much time, he took a bad touch inside the box and the defenders were able to get back to cover, leaving De Vries to pick up the loose ball. It should have been City’s third. It was almost three for the blues seconds later, as De Vries needed to pull off a great save from a Zabaleta cross to avoid conceding an own goal.
Having seen United draw earlier in the day, the blues now had the title back in their own hands: It all rests on the Manchester derby – a win for City will take them back to the top of the league. The other consequence of the visitors’ victory, however, was confirmation of Wolves’s relegation.