Manchester City show a new-found stomach for the battle after Liverpool win
The last time Manchester City reached the top spot of the Premier League, they looked imperious, bulldozing Aston Villa 5-0 early in November 2012. But they then proved to be considerably less than that – losing their place at the summit within a week and little knowing that 2013 would virtually be over before they were kings of the castle again, 419 long days later.
Their place at the top – taken after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat of Crystal Palace – has proved short-lived once more, with Arsenal regaining it on Sunday. But Manuel Pellegrini’s City look better equipped and more motivated than Roberto Mancini’s side did. Afternoons of attrition like Saturday revealed how challenging it will be. Palace looked like a side City should have blown away, yet Joe Hart ended up taking the man of the match award along with six stitches to a black eye.
“For us it was walking on eggshells,” said captain Vincent Kompany, whose recovery of fitness and form suggests City will not have to buy a defender in the January transfer window. “You were worried what was going to happen at the break, was someone going to slip up? It was that kind of game. We struggled with this kind of game a couple of years ago, so this result is massive.”
Palace manager Tony Pulis will have resources of his own to spend next month, though his nine points attained and seven goals conceded from seven games only begins to tell the story of a side he has supremely well organised. Fulham, West Ham and Sunderland have grounds to look at what Pulis has done and feel fear. “It was important we tried to get up within a certain number of points of the rest of the group at the bottom of the table,” he said. “We’ve done that. It gives us a chance.”
Do you qualify – and how do you get it?
The Mayor of London's sister, Rachel Johnson, apologises for shocking tweet about the PM
Actress isn't a fan of Ed Miliband
Video: The official full-length trailer for the Jurassic Park sequel has dropped – two days early
Latest in Sport
Phil Hughes head injury: Cricket world reels as Australian opener fights for his life
Sam Wallace: Players of Suarez’s standing just don’t sign for clubs like Liverpool
Phil Hughes head injury: Batsman had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him
Manchester City vs Bayern Munich comment: Frank Lampard's part in City win shows folly of letting him leave
Schalke vs Chelsea: Roberto Di Matteo admits thrashing by former side was most painful defeat of his career
- 1 Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
- 2 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 3 Black Friday 2014: Opening hours for John Lewis, Asda, PC World, GAME and Argos
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Girl, 7, gets Tesco to remove 'stupid' sign suggesting superheroes are 'for boys'
Rochester by-election: Ukip gains second MP as Tory defector Mark Reckless holds seat
'Beast of Bolsover' Dennis Skinner takes Ukip MP Mark Reckless to task moments after he is sworn in
Rochester by-election: Labour MP Emily Thornberry resigns after posting white van and England flags tweet
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Revealed: How the world gets rich – from privatising British public services