ROONEY FIRES UNITED’S TITLE DREAMS
ROBBED by the officials, ruined by their own profligacy, and lacking in bravery ... City’s poor title defence juddered to a halt this week.
And, unless the Blues can rouse themselves for an assault on Old Trafford next Sunday, and stage a grand finale to a stuttering season, they could well be parting ways with manager Manuel Pellegrini.
It was difficult not to feel sorry for the Chilean as three bad decisions by the officials saw City go behind to an offside goal and then fail to get a clear penalty from Glenn Murray’s handball.
But the fact remains that City created a host of chances, and failed to take them.
And when Palace scored their second, the way in which Yaya Toure ducked away from the shot – rather than take it in the face – spoke volumes.
Yaya is a big man, but he was the lowest point of the wall as Jason Puncheon dipped his shot over it – and had goalkeeper Joe Hart clearly asking at full time “What happened to the wall?” as he looked at the big screen for any replays.
It is not the first time City players have been found wanting in such moments – Edin Dzeko turned away from George Boyd’s winning goal at Burnley, and Blues fans have only just forgiven Samir Nasri for a similar lack of fibre when Robin van Persie scored the winner in the derby at the Etihad Stadium two seasons ago.
But title-winning teams need courage as well as finesse, and that would mean incredible bravery - both mental and physical.
If they go into the derby in this mind-set – and with a similarly awful set of officials – City will be facing fight for a top four spot, never mind the title.