Queens Park Rangers 0 Manchester City 0

FA Premier League
Tuesday 29 January 2013, 19.45 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (c), Garcia, Lescott, Clichy, Milner (Sinclair 86), Barry, Nasri (Dzeko 59), Silva, Aguero, Tevez (Rodwell 73)
Unused: Pantilimon, Nastasic, Rekik, Kolarov
Booked: Barry, Zabaleta

Referee: Phil Dowd
Man of the Match: Gael Clichy

QPR1The opening stages of the game were being played at a very high tempo, with City pushing QPR back into their own half, despite not threatening with a shot on goal. In response, the home side were trying to press the visitors back towards their own goal, but the away side were doing well to keep possession. Aguero managed a deflected shot towards the back post, but it didn’t trouble Cesar; from the resulting corner, though, the keeper flapped at the ball and palmed it to Lescott, who could only volley over.

With 15 minutes played, it was suddenly all City. Aguero produced a marvellous turn to get in behind the QPR defence, but his cut-back towards Tevez and Zabaleta in the area was intercepted and knocked behind for a corner. A series of flag kicks caused Cesar all kinds of problems, but the hosts were able see it clear. City had them back under pressure almost immediately through Silva’s drive to the by-line, though, but Zabaleta’s header bounced back off the bar.

Garcia could have opened the scoring with what would have been a goal of the season, as he smashed a volley towards the net from 40 yards out, but it whistled just wide of Cesar’s goal. At the other end, though, City were caught asleep from a quick free kick and Remy was in on goal: His shot deflected off Garcia, who had got back in to cover, and curled around the post. Aguero had the ball in the net minutes later, but he’d been flagged offside.

The home side were packing the defence to make it difficult for the visitors and it was working. Zabaleta found a rare moment of space down the right flank and fed Silva, but the Spaniard’s shot was well blocked and Cesar was able to pick up the loose ball. It had been all City, but it was QPR who had a great opportunity to open the scoring from a breakaway. Hart was off his line superbly, though, to deny Taarabt.

Three minutes before the break, it was back on form from Julio Cesar to keep City out. Barry won the ball back in midfield and slotted it through to Silva. He found Tevez and the Argentine returned it to Barry, who shot first time for the top corner, but the Rangers’ keeper got across well to tip it behind. A minute later, Nasri should have hit the target from the edge of the box, but he dragged it wide and it remained goalless at half time.

It was a stronger second half start for the hosts, though. Some good possession ended prematurely when a loose ball dribbled through to Hart, before Taarabt broke away from the City midfield and ran towards goal. His effort, which he took early, hit Lescott on the heels and fell kindly for Hart to collect.

QPR2With City dominating possession and QPR getting men behind the ball, chances were few and far between. Dzeko stretched to try and control a Milner pass, but couldn’t keep it in play, before Silva had a low drive from a corner well held by Cesar, with both Aguero and Dzeko sniffing around for the rebound. Zabaleta was then brilliantly picked out by Milner and he nodded it back for Aguero to volley, but he blazed it over the bar.

QPR wanted a penalty with 15 minutes to play, but the referee waved away the protests, with replays showing Remy dived as he passed Lescott on the edge of the box. Milner, at the other end, tried a low drive at the near post, but it was bread and butter for Cesar, who was able to gather it comfortably.

With eight minutes of time remaining, a brilliant save from Cesar kept the scores level. Dzeko did well to get a low cross into the middle and find Silva’s left foot. The Spaniard hit it first time inside the six-yard box, but a fantastic reflex save from the goalkeeper kept it out, leaving the defence to clear.

Two minutes before the end of the game, City wanted a penalty for a challenge on Scott Sinclair in the box, but the referee adjudged Onuoha to have won the ball. It was a great call, with the replays showing the former City defender did indeed win the tackle fairly and City were looking frustrated.

The visitors weren’t able to muster another chance in the game and it finished goalless: Two points dropped and United now have the chance to re-open the gap at the top of the league.


Manchester City 3 QPR 1

FA Premier League
Saturday 1 September 2012, 17.30 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta (K Toure 77), Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Rodwell, Y Toure, Nasri (Razak 90), Silva (Milner 83), Tevez, Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Clichy, Sinclair, Balotelli
Goals: Y Toure (16), Dzeko (61), Tevez (90+3)
Booked: Kolarov, Rodwell

Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: Jack Rodwell

Despite a flurry of transfer deadline day activities, only Scott Sinclair was in the eighteen-man squad to face Queens Park Rangers, in a repeat of the final game of last season. And, in a somewhat similar style to that match, City began on the front foot. A Dzeko header just evaded Rodwell at the back post, before the Bosnian had an effort cleared off the line. Yaya Toure tried to smash the follow up into the net, but it was scrambled behind.

Rodwell almost put the visitors ahead in bizarre circumstances, as he connected to a loose ball in midfield to nick it away from a QPR boot. In doing so, though, he sent a looping ball towards Hart’s goal, with the end result being it landing on the roof of the net just beyond the bar.

But with just over the quarter hour gone, City took the lead. A deep corner from Silva couldn’t be converted by Tevez, but Yaya Toure was there to follow up and smash the ball past Rob Green. All the pressure had come from the home side and the goal had been coming.

A flowing City move from midfield finished with Kolarov free inside the QPR box on the left flank. With the opportunity to shoot, the full-back opted instead to look for Tevez in the middle, but his ball across was blocked.

A few minutes later, Silva was lucky to get the chance to shoot; he didn’t need asking twice and tried to poke the ball past Green from six yards out. A great save prevented the shot from crossing the line and a block on Nasri’s follow up gave City another corner. Silva’s shot was then blocked after he was put through from a fantastic Kolarov pass, but it was on the Spaniard’s right foot and he couldn’t get it past the covering defender.

The second half showed no signs of the pattern changing. Early on, Zabaleta almost bagged his second goal in as many games against Mark Hughes’s QPR: Nasri slipped the pass forward for the full-back to run on to and, with a first time effort, he curled the ball onto the underside of the bar with his left foot. From the rebound, Silva’s flick rolled wide of the post.

But, on the hour, the visitors taught the blues what happened if you don’t take your chances. Andy Johnson’s effort from just inside the box forced a fantastic save from Hart, after it took a nick on its way to the goal. But Zamora was on hand to nod the rebound over the line from half a yard out with no City shirt to challenge. QPR had stolen level.

The parity didn’t last long, however. Last season, if was the visitors who went on to lead, but Roberto Mancini’s men were the ones who took control of the tie. Kolarov slipped the ball to Tevez just inside the box and his touch took him to the byline. There, he crossed for Dzeko, who powered his header past Green and into the net.

With 15 minutes to play, the away side could have pulled level: Nedum Onuoha headed a cross towards Ryan Nelsen, but his attempt on goal finished well wide of Hart’s post. It was a let off for City, who were beginning to look shaky under pressure, despite being in control for the majority of the match.

But, as the game headed for stoppage time, the home side sealed the win in fortuitous circumstances. The ball broke for Dzeko inside the QPR box and he blasted the shot at goal. It was an awful effort that looked like it was flying wide until it hit Tevez on the shins and deflected past Rob Green. City were home and dry.




Manchester City 3 QPR 2

English Premier League
Sunday 13 May 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure (de Jong 44), Barry (Dzeko 69), Nasri, Silva, Tevez (Balotelli 76), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Richards, Milner
Goals: Zabaleta (39), Dzeko (90+2), Aguero (90+4)
Booked: Aguero

Referee: Mike Dean
Man of the Match: Pablo Zabaleta

City began the game knowing that a win would more than likely seal their first Premier League title and their first league championship in forty-four years. For the visitors, a draw would be enough to keep them in the division. While, at The Stadium Of Light, Manchester United could steal City’s thunder if they could better the blues’ result.

The intentions from the visitors was clear from the start: They had come for the point that would see them escape relegation. It was City on top from the off and QPR were happy to see the hosts control possession, but remain firm. With 16 minutes on the clock, Paddy Kenny fumbled a City shot, but there was nobody in blue nearby to capitalise and he was able to dive on the rebound before Aguero could react.

On 24 minutes, Hart was tested for the first time: A free kick was given for a foul by Barry on Cisse and the QPR man fired a free kick over the wall and towards the bottom corner. City’s keeper, however, held on to the shot comfortably. It was a warning from the visitors and there was bad news from Sunderland: United were a goal ahead and, as it stood, they were top of the league.

Silva fired a shot wide of Kenny’s post before Yaya Toure sliced one well wide, as the blues struggled to get going. But, soon enough, City were in front: Yaya Toure slipped onto the end of a pass into the box and fed it through to Zabaleta on the overlap; he smashed a shot at goal that Kenny could only parry onto the post and into the back of the net. City were back on the top of the table.

Just before the break, City lost Yaya Toure to injury. But, as the teams emerged for the second half, it didn’t appear to have affected the host’s forward play: Aguero forced a save out of Paddy Kenny after just 31 seconds. But that ascendency suddenly turned; Cisse broke away from the City back line after Lescott misjudged his header and it fell perfectly for the striker to volley. He did and it beat Hart, pulling the visitors level.

The home side, however, continued to push forward, despite creating very little in the way of shooting chances. QPR were defending stoutly and City were looking sluggish, though soon their task got more difficult. Joey Barton swung an elbow at Carlos Tevez on the edge of the box and it was spotted by the linesman, who flagged. The referee produced a red card and, to compound matters, the former City midfielder kicked out at Aguero, before aiming a head-butt in Kompany’s direction.

The red card, though, didn’t adversely affect the visitors. On 65 minutes, QPR broke away down the left flank and a cross into the box found Mackie unmarked, breaking into the box. He met it with his head and powered the effort past Hart and Lescott on the line and City, needing to win, were suddenly behind and not looking like scoring.

Roberto Mancini went for broke. He threw on Dzeko and Balotelli and City piled men forward into the box, but despite corner after corner and cross after cross, the blues couldn’t force a shot. QPR heads were flicking the ball away and producing last gasp tackles and blocks. Dzeko forced Kenny into a good save with his feet.

A goalmouth scramble ended with a good double-save by Kenny from Aguero, the second him preventing the ball from crossing the line from inches out. Balotelli headed at goal, but Kenny was on form to push it away, also. Still needing to win, City were still losing and the board was going up for stoppage time. City had five minutes to score twice – where have we heard that before?

The first came from Dzeko. The ball was played into the six yard box and the Bosnian rose to meet the cross ahead of anybody else. The bullet header was straight past Kenny and City were on level terms, as the final whistle blew in Sunderland. United had won and City needed another.

With a minute to play, the ball was fed into Balotelli on the edge of the box. With his back to goal, he couldn’t keep his feet and slipped backward, but had the mind to nick the ball to Aguero. He beat the challenge from Taiwo and smashed the ball into the back of the net. City were back from the dead.

Manchester City were Premier League Champions.

QPR 2 Manchester City 3

English Premier League
Saturday 5 November 2011, 17.30 KO

City: Hart, Richards (c), Savic, Lescott, Kolarov, Y Toure, Milner, Barry (Balotelli 75), Silva, Aguero (A Johnson 68), Dzeko (K Toure 88)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Clichy, Nasri
Goals: Dzeko (43), Silva (52), Y Toure (74)
Booked: Balotelli

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: James Milner

The game started at a furious tempo and it was the hosts who started the brighter. City’s passes weren’t accurate and several times in the opening stages the visitors either gifted the ball to their opponents or passed out of play. Traore had a great chance to get a low ball into the box, but he couldn’t beat Savic at the front post. A great bit of play from Aguero, though, let him break into the box, but Ferdinand was in to concede the corner.

With just over 20 minutes played, Anton Ferdinand should have given QPR the lead. A deep free kick was nodded behind for a corner and Barton found Helguson at the back post. He headed it across goal and the centre-back was inches away from connecting, but, fortunately for the visitors, it bounced behind and to safety.

But that safety didn’t last long. A dubious free kick was given on the right flank and it was delivered into the box by Barton and it was met by the head of Bothroyd. Hart had no chance as the header dropped into the bottom corner. It had been coming and it was the first time the blues had gone behind in the league this season.

Aguero looked to respond immediately as he broke into the box with the home fans shouting for handball, but his cut back couldn’t be converted by Dzeko. Yaya Toure tried to volley the rebound at goal, but that was blocked. Aguero then had the chance to shoot in the box, but he was robbed of the ball by Ferdinand as he tried to switch the ball onto his right foot.

City were furious with the referee as QPR were allowed to break away when Aguero appeared to have been fouled on the edge of the box and it took a great double save from Hart to keep the score at 1-0. Wright-Phillips sprinted down the left and Bothroyd’s shot was expertly saved, before Helguson’s diving header was pushed away, with the goal gaping.

Kenny was on hand to deny Aguero as the visitors looked for an equaliser, before Silva tried a backheel inside the box to beat the QPR keeper, but he didn’t make a good enough connection. Dzeko gave the ball away inside his own half and Bothroyd should have doubled the home side’s lead, but his header clipped the post and bounced behind. Kolarov then hit a free kick over the bar from a good position.

But, as the home side looked to get to the break in front, the visitors got an equaliser. Dzeko cut in from the left wing and carried the ball past Ferdinand, who went to ground. His shot found the bottom corner at Kenny’s near post and City were level, largely against the run of play. With the break approaching, City were suddenly on top and Aguero hit the post from range.

The second half began with Hart in action straight away. Wright-Phillips chased the ball down on the edge of the City box and Savic nicked it away. Barton picked up the pieces and fired a shot from outside the area that the City keeper needed to get two hands on to palm away. But soon enough City had gotten themselves in front.

Milner broke away from the visiting defence and fed the ball to Dzeko on the left. He fired a low ball into the box for Silva to control, dummy and spin expertly. The hosts’ back line bought the dummy and the Spaniard had time to fire past Kenny at his near post and City’s poor first half hour was behind them.

It could have been better for City straight away: Aguero raced onto a ball over the top from Toure after Kenny’s clearance fell to the visiting midfielder. He tried three times to square it, with the first two being blocked straight back to him. The third was deflected to Dzeko, who looked to bend a shot at the back post, but it bounced just wide.

Aguero should have done better a minute later, as he had the chance to shoot inside the box. Kenny pulled off a great stop from a deflected Dzeko effort and an Aguero snapshot from the edge of the box hit the side netting, as City began to get on top.

But QPR were able to wrestle the initiative back. Barton had the chance to shoot from the edge of the box, but he looked instead for Helguson and the moment passed. The former City midfielder had a shot charged down shortly after, before Mackie volleyed over from inside the six yard box, when he really should have found the net.

And there came the equaliser. Traore managed to get a ball into the box and it deflected for Bothroyd to head at goal at the back post. That header was on target, but it hit the back of Helguson, who was just onside in front of Hart, and beat the England keeper to pull the home side level.

But the visitors were back in front minutes later. QPR sat off the away side and City were able to get a passing move going. Barry switched the play to Kolarov on the left and he delived a great ball into the box. Yaya Toure met it and headed it straight past Kenny to restore the City lead. Balotelli tried to make it four when he had a shot, but it was blocked after some neat play by Silva.

Balotelli was then rightly booked for a dive inside the box, before Silva had a shot flash past the far post as he broke into the area. But, had he squared the ball, Yaya Toure would have had a clear sight of goal. Helguson hit the bar from a header at the other end, after a deep ball in from Barton’s free kick, as the hosts stepped it up again.

As the game moved into stoppage time, Faurlin skied an effort from the edge of the box after a spell of head tennis in City’s area, as the hosts were on top and looking for a point. Balotelli had a go from 45 yards, spotting Kenny off his line, but it was well wide. Kenny came forward for a last minute corner, but Helguson headed Barton’s cross wide and City kept their five point lead at the top of Premier League, having ridden their luck along the way.