Manchester City 1 Everton 1

FA Premier League
Saturday 1 December 2012, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Maicon, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov (Zabaleta 8), Y Toure, Barry, Silva, Nasri, Tevez (Aguero 68), Dzeko (Balotelli 81)
Unused: Pantilimon, K Toure, Garcia, Sinclair
Goals: Tevez (pen 43)
Booked: Lescott, Zabaleta

Referee: Lee Probert
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

Everton1It was a slow start to the game and City weren’t quick in coming out of the blocks. Early on, the home side lost Kolarov to injury, before Maicon fizzed a great ball into the box for Dzeko to challenge. Howard got up above him to claim it and both players fell heavily, needing treatment. It was Everton’s turn to press moments later, but Baines’s cross wasn’t threatening anybody after some good build-up.

Just before the 25 minute mark, Nasri pulled away into space inside the box and found room to shoot, but it hit Dzeko and bounced behind for a goal kick. City were uninspiring and Everton were in control of the play, despite creating little for Joe Hart to stop. Soon, though, that had changed, as a ball from the left was met by Fellaini. Hart pulled off a brilliant save, but he could do nothing to stop the Belgian slotting the rebound into the net. Everton deserved their lead.

Two minutes later, City were almost level, but for a great save by Howard. Tevez found a pocket of space inside the box and flicked a header towards the back post as the cross dropped his way. It looked destined for the corner, but the visiting goalkeeper got across to push it behind for a corner. Dzeko then set himself up for a volley, via Silva and Barry, but Howard got that behind awkwardly.

From the resulting flag kick, City earned the chance to equalise. Dzeko went down under pressure from Fellaini and the referee agreed that he’d been dragged down by the Everton goalscorer and pointed straight to the spot. Tevez stepped up and, as Howard dived to his left, smashed the penalty right down the middle to level the scores.

City started the second half much better than they had the first. Tevez had a shot blocked at close range, before Distin took an airshot under pressure from the Argentine forward. Howard, though, was there to mop up the danger and City were looking much more like the team they normally do, rather than their first-half stifled selves. And that was almost summed up by Maicon, who powered into the Everton box and shot, but his effort was beaten away by Howard.

But the home side appeared to relax, and Everton were sniffing all three points. Zabaleta got up well to clear a corner, after Kompany had cleared a free kick from Baines. Dzeko tried to nod the ball down for Toure when he could have had an attempt on goal, before he tried the same for Aguero, but the Argentine couldn’t quite latch onto it before it was cleared.

With minutes to play, City stepped up the pressure with a series of corners, but that almost cost them as the visitors broke away. Everton had a four-on-three for a moment, but Zabaleta cynically brought down Jelavic to give the home side time to get back. He got booked and, from the free kick, Hart just about got the ball behind. It was an awkward save, but it earned City a point.

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Manchester City 1 Manchester United 0

English Premier League
Monday 30 April 2012, 20.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri (Milner 90), Silva (Richards 82), Tevez (de Jong 68), Aguero
Unused: Pantilimon, Kolarov, Balotelli, Dzeko
Goals: Kompany (45)
Booked: Kompany, Y Toure, de Jong

Referee: Andre Marriner
Man of the Match: Gareth Barry

With three points separating the two sides at kick off, City knew that anything other than a win would see them trailing the visitors with only two games to play. Worse, a United win would leave the reds needing a single point from their remaining matches to take the league. A City win, however, and the blues would go back to the summit of the Premier League table on goal difference. The atmosphere was tense and the home side started accordingly.

It was the visitors with the early pressure. From their first corner, City struggled to get the ball clear, with a last-gasp block from Kompany and the blues just about scrambled it away. United wanted a handball from the Belgian, but the referee waved the shouts away.

The reds didn’t test Hart in the opening stages, but they were in control of the game. City were struggling to hold on to possession and hadn’t threatened De Gea’s goal. Soon, though, that changed: Nasri weaved his way through the visiting defence and slotted it through to Tevez. He smashed the ball back across the box in search of Aguero, but Jones got in the way to clear.

Kompany was harshly booked for a slightly late challenge on Rooney – the Belgian’s case not helped by something of an over-reaction by the England centre-forward – before Clichy took it upon himself to carry City forward. He nipped in ahead of Nani to steal the ball and he carried it to the edge of the United box. He found Aguero, but the Argentine was crowded out and had to settle for a corner.

From that flag-kick, Rooney botched his clearance and fired it more up than away. Zabaleta won it and played it back into the box, where Lescott knocked it down for Aguero to volley. He smashed it at goal, but he skewed his effort high and wide of the post. City were getting themselves on top of the game and it was United who were beginning to struggle.

However, United were defending as well as City attacked; whatever the blues tried, they just couldn’t break through a packed back-line. Aguero almost found room for a shot, but Ferdinand was in his way and the Argentine couldn’t force the effort on target and, as the board went up for stoppage time, it looked like the teams would be level. However, Silva delivered a corner into the six-yard box, where Vincent Kompany had lost his marker. He connected with it perfectly and his bullet header almost broke the back of the net. As it stood, City were back on the top of the league.

A goal in front at the start of the second half, as City began on the back foot, but comfortable. A series of United corners were well dealt with by Kompany and Lescott, while Aguero, Tevez and Nasri were working hard to press the visitors’ back four when they had possession.

Phil Jones went into the book for a late challenge on Barry, before Yaya Toure almost doubled City’s lead after a storming run through the midfield. De Jong had come one and allowed the Ivorian to move further forward – and he was intent on wrecking havoc on the reds’ defence. A de Jong tackle on Welbeck had the managers going head-to-head on the touchline, as a disagreement between Roberto Mancini and Sir Alex Ferguson escalated. It showed the importance of the game and the tension in the air.

With ten minutes to play, it was Yaya Toure again who could have added to City’s tally. He broke away with the ball once again on one of his trademark runs, but his curling effort from the edge of the box didn’t quite swing back in and it finished just wide. Nasri did well to keep the ball under pressure and win a throw-in, keeping City on the front foot and allowing Aguero to win a free kick. The ball in, however, was well cleared.

Zabaleta and Barry did brilliantly to keep the ball alive in the United half, as Giggs almost got it clear, before some hard would from Toure found Nasri free inside the area. He, though, couldn’t dig the ball out from under his feet to find the shot, before he had the ball nicked away from him by Smalling. City were inches away from sealing it, as the board for stoppage time went up.

With less than a minute remaining, United won a corner and packed the box. The first ball in was cleared, before the second found Rooney unmarked on the edge of the area. He tried to shoot, but Lescott got in the way and, as the rebound was crossed by into the middle, Smalling fouled Hart and the visitors’ pressure was over. To the relief of the City fans, the final whistle blew as the ball was cleared down the pitch.

From being eight points behind only a few weeks previous, City had clawed their way back to the top of the table. City and United were level on points, but the blues’ superior goal difference is what’s key. It’s advantage City – though the games against Newcastle and QPR won’t be easy. This title will go down to the last day of the season.

Arsenal 1 Manchester City 0

English Premier League
Sunday 8 April 2012, 16.00 KO

City: Hart, Zabaleta, Clichy, Kompany (c), Lescott, Y Toure (Pizarro 17), Barry, Milner, Nasri (Kolarov 79), Aguero (Tevez 84), Balotelli
Unused: Pantilimon, Richards, de Jong, Dzeko
Goals:
Booked: Y Toure, Balotelli, Milner, Zabaleta
Sent Off: Balotelli

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

City knew that nothing less than a win was necessary if they had any hope of winning the title this season, having seen United take an eight point lead at the top of the Premier League. They didn’t help themselves early on, with Yaya Toure picking up a yellow card for a pull back after just 90 seconds of the game played. The City defence coped with the resulting free kick, before Hart got up well to punch away a corner.

A Rosicky shot was blocked behind by Lescott, as he was free inside the area and the home side were dominant in the opening ten minutes. Kompany was up well to head away a deep ball into the box and City couldn’t get a foot on the ball.

With 15 minutes played, City were lucky to still be level. A corner was played into the visitors’ area and Van Persie met the ball and looked to have scored. But Vermaelen on the line blocked his own man’s effort, before Rosicky put the rebound over the bar. City hadn’t started and they’d lost Yaya Toure to injury.

Balotelli, lucky to still be on the pitch after the referee had missed a late, high challenge from him on Song, almost got the visitors in front. A corner from the right wing was swung low into the six yard box and he flicked it at goal, but it was blocked on the line and away to safety.

With 35 minutes on the clock, Balotelli was straight past Koscielny and through on goal thanks to a brilliant early ball from Pizarro, but Szczesny was off his line quickly to clear the ball, just before the Italian forward could get to the pass. A brilliant tackle from Kompany then denied Walcott a run on goal, as he was well picked out by the Arsenal goalkeeper with a good throw.

The second half got off to a much slower start than the first, with both sides struggling to create a good chance. On 52 minutes, Clichy fed the ball back to Nasri and the Frenchman curled the ball into the box where Aguero and Zabaleta were waiting. The two City Argentines got in each others’ way and Aguero’s header looped towards goal. It needed Szczesny to tip it over, but it was a much easier save than it should have been.

Clichy did brilliantly well to keep the ball in play on City’s left and he knocked the ball back for Nasri to cross. It was flicked to the back post, where Zabalete took a touch to drive a cross back in. Benayoun, though, did well to block it behind for a corner. Aguero then sliced a shot for a throw-in under pressure. City had started the second half much better than they had played in the first.

Just after the hour mark, there was another let off for City. Song played a great ball into the box from deep and it was met by the forehead of Van Persie. Hart was beaten, left standing, as was Kompany, but the ball rebounded off the post and the visitors were able to get the ball clear.

A City free kick was floated to the back post where Kompany nodded it back into the middle. It was behind Balotelli, who tried an overhead kick to connect to the ball, but he couldn’t send it goalwards. With 20 minutes to go, either side could still win it and it had become a very even game.

Suddenly, it became all Arsenal. Van Persie rightly had a goal ruled out for offside, before a series of shots from the home side were blocked by a combination of Kompany, Zabaleta and Hart. City were struggling to get out of their own box.

With 15 minutes to play, City had yet another let off. Sagna found space on the right flank and played the ball into the box, which needed Hart to touch it away. He then produced a fine save, tipping the ball onto the post and Vermaelen, faced with an open goal, couldn’t force it over the line. Hart got across again, before Lescott blocked from Benayoun and it hit the other post before dribbling clear of the goal.

With four minutes of the game to play, City’s title challenge was all but over. Needing three points to stay in touch of United, Pizarro couldn’t keep the ball in midfield and Arteta picked it up. He carried it forward before unleashing a great strike past Hart and into the bottom corner. It had been coming.

To rub salt into the City wounds, Mario Balotelli was shown his second yellow card of the game for a late challenge on Song in the corner, as the defender cleared the ball. This game was another example of a game this season where United hadn’t won the title, but City lost it. It’s time for City to finish the season strongly and rebuild for next year.

Manchester City 2 Manchester United 3

FA Cup Third Round
Sunday 8 January 2012, 13.00 KO

City: Pantilimon, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, de Jong, Milner, Nasri (Hargreaves 82), Silva (Savic 45), A Johnson (Zabaleta 45), Aguero
Unused: Hart, Clichy, Razak, Suarez
Goals: Kolarov (48), Aguero (64)
Booked:
Sent Off: Kompany

Referee: Chris Foy
Man of the Match: James Milner

It was a repeat of last year’s FA Cup semi-final as the third Manchester derby of the season got underway in the rain at the Etihad Stadium. And it was the hosts who looked in full control from the kick-off, as United struggled to get out of their own half. City, though, couldn’t fashion a good shooting chance and it was the visitors who took the lead, completely against the run of play: Rooney nodded the ball into the net after a poor kick from Pantilimon set up the attack. Rooney knocked the ball wide and beat Richards in the air to the return to score off the bar.

It got worse for City almost immediately. Vincent Kompany slid in to dispossess Nani midway into his own half; he did go in with two feet, but it was more of a scissor motion and a side-foot tackle and, after what appeared to be no small encouragement from Rooney, the referee decided it was worthy of a red card. Nani – the man challenged – seemed happy to play on and Chris Foy appeared to be playing on, but suddenly changed his mind. It was a very harsh decision.

Aguero almost equalised with a curling effort almost straight away, but Lindegaard got across well to push the ball behind for a corner. The referee further annoyed the home fans by not producing yellow cards for late challenges by Giggs and Jones. And it didn’t get better for the blues fans, as Wellbeck swivelled and shot in the box, finding the bottom corner, after City couldn’t get the ball clear.

A rash tackle from Kolarov inside his own area then seemed to end the game: Rooney stepped up to take the resulting penalty and tried for the bottom right corner. Pantilimon got across to block, but he was very unlucky that his save bounced straight back to the England centre-forward, who headed the ball into the empty net. It looked all over before half time.

Step forward Roberto Mancini. Two half time changes and a switch in tactics helped City fight their way back into the game, helped by the hosts pulling a goal back almost immediately. Evra brought down Richards on the edge of the box on the right side and Kolarov stepped up to power the free kick into the corner of the net. It was just what City needed.

That changed the atmosphere. Despite having a man fewer, City were defending tightly and allowing United possession, but keeping them at arm’s length, looking to nick the ball for a breakaway. The visitors brought on the now out-of-retirement Paul Scholes and it was he who was at fault for City’s second. With 63 minutes played, Milner nicked his short pass to Evra and crossed low for Aguero. The Argentine’s first shot was saved, but he reacted first to tap into the open goal.

United tried to kill the game off with possession and City weren’t able to commit too many bodies forward to try and steal the ball. The visitors pressed, but didn’t trouble Pantilimon on that many occasions: Scholes hit one straight at the City keeper, while Rooney bobbled one wide. Kolarov then got away with a challenge in the box that should have been a second penalty.

With eight minutes to play, City were then denied a penalty as Jones appeared to handle the ball in the box in blocking a Kolarov cross. The home players and fans were adamant, but the referee only awarded the corner. Rooney got up to head away, but de Jong retrieved the ball and United were pinned in their own half by the ten men.

As the board went up for added time, Richards attempted an overhead kick but missed the ball, before Lescott was unlucky as he challenged for a Zabaleta free kick that Lindegaard got nowhere near. The United keeper then spilled a Kolarov free kick that was powered at him, but none of the players in blue in the box could get their foot on the rebound to turn it home. The visitors were hanging on.

With seconds to play, the home side won a corner and piled everybody – including the goalkeeper Pantilimon – into the box. Kolarov’s kick found the keeper’s head, but he couldn’t direct it towards the net and, as the away side cleared their lines, the final whistle blew. City came out of the game with their heads held high and with a lot of pride, but, ultimately, it was United in the fourth round draw.

Manchester City 3 Liverpool 0

English Premier League
Tuesday 3 January 2012, 20.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards, K Toure, Kompany (c), Clichy, Barry, Y Toure, Milner, Silva (Lescott 76), Aguero (A Johnson 73), Dzeko
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Kolarov, Savic, de Jong
Goals: Aguero (11), Y Toure (33), Milner (pen 75)
Booked: Barry
Sent Off: Barry

Referee: Michael Jones
Man of the Match: Vincent Kompany

The game began tentatively, with both sides feeling each other out in the rain at The Etihad Stadium. It was the visitors who had the first chance to take the lead, as Downing found himself through on goal with just Hart to beat. The England keeper was off his line quickly and made a brilliant block, to keep the scores level – and it turned out to be a very crucial save. Minutes later, at the other end, Aguero took a pot-shot from the edge of the box and Reina made a hash of it, letting the shot straight though him and into the back of the net.

Aguero had a cheeky attempt for his second, a minute and a half later, but his chip didn’t quite have the legs to get past Reina, before there was a let off with the Liverpool defence. Dzeko, with no support, took a shot on from the edge of the box; it took a huge deflection and spiralled just wide of the post, with the visiting goalkeeper having dived the other way, reacting to the first effort.

Charlie Adam was felled on the edge of the City box by Kolo Toure, as he looked to beat the City defender, but the resulting free kick was smashed into the wall. Reina then made up for his earlier mistake by denying Kompany City’s second, pushing the centre-back’s header over the bar from a corner. But he couldn’t keep out Yaya Toure’s effort from the next flag kick, as the midfielder nodded the ball past him and into the back of the net.

With half time approaching, Barry went into the book for a late challenge on Henderson. It wasn’t a popular decision, but probably the correct call after he caught the Liverpool midfielder after the ball had gone.

The second half began with the visitors pressing the home side’s goal – if they were going to get back into the game, they needed to score quickly. Carroll, though, wasn’t getting much joy against Kompany, who was winning the ball both in the air and on the deck. Milner clashed with Johnson in a challenge that left both players needing attention, but both were fine to continue.

But then, just as City were on the backfoot and the visitors were pressing, Barry gave Agger a nudge as the defender stepped around him. They were side to side and the Liverpool defender went down, and Barry earned a second yellow card with just under 20 minutes to play. It was soft, but equally it was a silly challenge to make, having not been punished for a couple of similar challenges earlier.

If that dampened the City spirits, though, the fans were lifted almost immediately. Yaya Toure broke from his own half with the ball and worked his way into the box. There, he went down as Skrtel tackled and the referee pointed to the spot. It looked very soft, however, with the defender making a clumsy challenge and Milner stepped up, finding the top corner.

With ten minutes to play, it could have been better for the blues, as Adam Johnson stuck the post with an effort from outside the box, before Gerard shot from the edge of the box. Hart dived for it, but it was off target, just missing the angle of post and bar. Then, in stoppage time, a great double save from Hart kept his clean sheet, as he blocked from Bellamy and got up to deny Maxi Rodriguez from the rebound. It was a good response to some poor Christmas form.

Liverpool 1 Manchester City 1

English Premier League
Sunday 27 November 2011, 16.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Clichy, Y Toure, Barry, Milner, Silva (K Toure 90), Nasri (Balotelli 65), Aguero (Dzeko 82)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, de Jong, A Johnson
Goals: Kompany (31)
Booked: Kompany, Barry, Balotelli, Milner
Sent Off: Balotelli

Referee: Martin Atkinson
Man of the Match: Joe Hart

Liverpool started quickly, trying to get the visitors under pressure, but it was the away side that soon took control of the opening exchanges. Clichy and Silva were causing problems down the left flank and the first corner of the game was hooked goalwards by Kompany. It was nodded back across goal and Yaya Toure had a volley, sliced just over the bar on his wrong foot. The hosts presented Silva with the ball on the edge of the box, but he was crowded out, after Aguero couldn’t wriggle through.

A short backpass to Reina almost put Aguero clean through on goal, but the Liverpool goalkeeper was off his line sharply to slide the ball away from the City striker. There were appeals of handball from the visiting players, but the referee waved them away. It hit the keeper’s hand, but it would have been harsh to penalise him as it deflected back at him from the forward.

City could have taken the lead on 20 minutes as they broke away from the Liverpool attack – Adam wanted a foul in the centre circle, but the referee didn’t give it and Silva broke away. He slid Aguero into the box, who tied the defender in knots, but he slipped at the crucial moment and couldn’t cut the ball back from the by-line. Nasri then couldn’t find Aguero in the box, after he’d been put through by Silva.

Just after the half hour mark, though, the visitors took the lead. A corner was well won by Silva when he had few other options available to him. The Spaniard took it and found Kompany unmarked on the edge of the six yard box. He threw his head at it and flicked it into the top corner, via his left shoulder.

But, immediately, Liverpool were level. A huge deflection off Joleon Lescott sent a Charlie Adam shot straight past Hart and down the centre of the goal, as the England keeper was moving the other way to cover the first effort. The original shot was off target and City were on the receiving end of a big slice of bad luck.

Hart was then alert to block a Charlie Adam effort from the edge of the box, after Kuyt had gone one-on-one with Clichy and been forced wide. The breakaway was quick, but the England keeper left a foot in the right place to deflect the ball over the bar. Suarez volleyed the resulting corner well over the bar and Johnson curled a shot around Hart’s post, as the visitors needed to settle after the shock of the sudden equaliser.

After City looked for the first chance of the second half, it was Henderson who had the opportunity to shoot, but he decided to try and juggle the ball onto his right foot on the edge of the box. It was cleared by the defence and Adam had the chance to hit, but Richards was in to block and Clichy conceded the corner from Suarez’s low cross.

A brilliant ball across the box by Clichy almost found Aguero on the hour mark, but Jose Enrique was there to concede the corner before the Argentine could connect. City looked for a second attack as the corner was cleared, but Milner was wrongly penalised for handball and the hosts had the ball back. Barry was then in the right place to block a Liverpool cross, as the game became end-to-end.

City were slack at picking up the home players from a Liverpool corner and Downing was able to get an effort on goal away from the edge of the box. It bounced off the ground and might have looped in, but for a good save from Hart, pushing the ball over the bar. Balotelli then chased down Agger as he had the ball in the box and Aguero nearly cut out the backpass to Reina, but the Liverpool keeper just got the ball away.

Enrique slipped at the crucial moment as he tried to intercept a Silva ball to Balotelli on the Liverpool right, but as the Italian attempted to break into the space, he slipped, too and the ball ran back to Reina. Clichy then had to block from Downing to concede a corner, before a spell on pinball in the City six yard box could have gone anywhere, but it bounced behind for a goal kick. Reina was then dispossessed by Milner, but he couldn’t get to the ball before the Liverpool defence to get a shot away.

Balotelli picked up a yellow card for a cynical foul on Johnson as he broke away and, from the resulting free kick, Skrtel almost caused more havoc in the City area with some more pinball as the ball deflected off blue and red shirts, but straight into Hart’s hands. Downing was able to get a volley on goal from the corner of the six yard box, but he missed the target and Kuyt couldn’t touch it in.

Balotelli was then given a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Skrtel as the ball as the two jumped for the ball. Skrtel was caught with his arm over the shoulder and neck, but there was very little in it and it was perhaps harsh. Liverpool looked to immediately exploit their man advantage by introducing Carroll to the game.

Suarez could have put the hosts ahead with three minutes to play as he broke in behind Lescott, but Hart got across his goal well to push the ball behind for a corner, before headers from Milner and Barry got the ball away. Dzeko then broke down the line and found Silva free in the middle, he took the ball around Reina, but his effort was too weak to beat the three defenders on the line.

With a minute of stoppage time to play, Joe Hart pulled off one of the saves of the season, as he first pushed away Carroll’s header, before getting up quickly to block from Suarez. The resulting rebound was blazed over the bar by Downing. And it turned out to be a point preserving save, as it was the last action of the match.

Manchester City 3 Wolves 1

English Premier League
Saturday 29 October 2011, 15.00 KO

City: Hart, Richards, Kompany (c), Lescott, Kolarov, Y Toure, Barry, Nasri (Balotelli 71), Aguero (Savic 76), Silva, Dzeko (A Johnson 65)
Unused: Pantilimon, Zabaleta, Milner, de Jong
Goals: Dzeko (52), Kolarov (67), Johnson (90+1)
Booked: Barry, Dzeko
Sent Off: Kompany

Referee: Stuart Attwell
Man of the Match: Aleksandar Kolarov

City kept their five point lead over their rivals with a hard fought victory over a tough Wolves side. It was a difficult first half for the hosts, who began brightly as Hennessey was called into action to tip a dipping shot over the bar for a corner. Aguero blasted an effort wide of the post when Richards droved down the right flank and forced a low ball across, and he should have done better.

The referee bore the brunt of the crowd’s anger as he produced a yellow card for a Gareth Barry foul as Wolves looked to break, but ignored what appeared to be two fouls through the back of Silva either side of the City midfielder’s booking. Toure tried to get his name on the scoresheet, but his effort was belted well over the bar.

Dzeko wanted a penalty with 36 minutes on the clock after it seemed Stearman had wrestled him to the ground and the fans were again up in arms with the referee when the whistle didn’t blow and play was allowed to continue. A brilliant save from Hennessey kept the scores level soon after, as he got a Dzeko shot over the bar as the City forward broke clear in the box.

Soon after the break, it was the hosts who got their noses in front. Hennessey, who had played well for the visitors, dwelled on the ball for too long on the edge of his box and his rushed clearance was blocked by Aguero. The ball landed kindly for Dzeko just outside the area and, faced with an open goal, he was never going to miss.

A neat move between Silva, Barry and Aguero fashioned a shooting chance for the Argentina international as he made his way across the box, but his volley sliced off his boot and curled out of play for a throw-in. And the introduction of Adam Johnson proved to be the difference shortly after. He ran at the Wolves defence and slid the ball to Silva. His shot was pushed out by Hennessey and Kolarov was in the right place to slot the ball home.

With fifteen minutes to play, though, City found themselves a man down and facing a penalty. A shot from the edge of the box was parried by Hart and it looked like Doyle was going to be first to the rebound until he was pulled back by Kompany. The referee gave the penalty and had no choice but to show a red card to the home side’s skipper. Hunt stepped up and sent Hart the wrong way, halving the deficit.

For a while, the ten men were on the backfoot as the visitors took advantage of their extra body with some possession in the City half. Hunt fired a shot well over the bar, before Lescott was needed to put in a strong tackle on the edge of the box. Johnson gave away a free kick on Wolves’s left flank, but the visitors couldn’t get a shot in from it.

But, as the away side looked to pull themselves level, the hosts went on to win it. The ball was cleared to halfway, where Balotelli nicked the ball and was able to run through at goal. He checked back as the defence got back into position and tried to send Toure through. He, though, found Johnson and, from 30 yards, he curled the ball into the bottom corner of the net and sealed the points for blues.