ESPN Soccernet - Correspondents - Manchester City
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Manchester City
Posted by Wallace Poulter on 03/04/2012

If the Spurs win at home back on January 22nd was the most important one of the season, the victory over Bolton on Saturday might be the second.

On the surface a strange assertion I admit, but the issue is not that City won rather who they won with. Accepting that Bolton are, and have been, poor this season the suspicion has always been that City were a David Silva injury away from serious trouble.

There are two ways to deal with this. Keep playing Silva every game and hope for the best or take a gamble and play a game without City's best player. Lose and you reinforce the perception and quite possibly cost the team the title. Win however and the team buys into the concept that the squad is good enough to win it all.

Drop Kun Aguero to the bench as well and now you're rolling all the dice. Yes, I know; it was against Bolton and Owen Coyle's team has been terrible all year. But that's exactly the park the bus, play for a point type of team that City would be likely to come a cropper against. And they didn't. So major props to Roberto Mancini. This was a decision made with winning the title in mind.

Another clean sheet for the club as well and I still think that goal difference could come into this at the end of the season. Likewise the victory last week against Blackburn. Rovers were a complete embarrassment to the Premier League with their performance and if you told me their game plan was to not lose by too many to minimize their negative goal difference then I'd believe you.

Shockingly poor and the only complaint I had was that City didn't take long shots from outside the box. Paul Robinson is a very good goalkeeper, but the reason he isn't world class is that his positioning has always been ever so slightly off. It makes him susceptible to long shots, particularly players cutting in from the wing and firing to the far corner and I was surprised Adam Johnson didn't do that constantly.

Two home wins against the sort of opposition that in the past would have flustered City. Not this time and as United keep winning, everything points to the showdown on April 30th as the decider.

Her name was Natty
As some of you have noted, and I appreciate the positive words sent via e-mail etc., I've spent some time away from this blog. After a brave battle that lasted 10 months, my Bernese Mountain Dog passed away at the age of 5 at 1:30am on February 19th. Named Natalia originally, she became Natty to one and all. Bernese Mountain Dogs unfortunately have a particularly nasty and aggressive cancer that impacts 25% of the breed and last May we found out that Natty had it.

Natty did well on her initial chemo although we knew it was not a potential cure and then took part in one of the first, if not the first, studies of the human cancer drug Taxol on canines. Hopefully the information gained from her participation will help others in the future. She was my baby girl and I miss her terribly.

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About
Wallace Poulter Wallace Poulter is an award winning video game producer, designer, industry consultant and writer. He has been a football fanatic since the day he moved in next door to Brian Clough. "Cloughie" being the acknowledged genius that he was promptly moved out and went to manage Derby. A serviceable senior school left-back in his youth, Poulter played one season of Sunday league football as a striker proving conclusively that he was a serviceable senior school left-back! Today Poulter remains involved with football as a licensed referee and most recently as a consultant on a Football MMO.

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