Today's match between Manchester City and Hull promised to be an interesting affair.
In last weekend's matches City lost to an invigorated Cardiff City, whilst Hull managed to get their first Premier League win by a single goal at home to Norwich.
Manuel Pellegrini made several changes to last weeks side, particularly in defence where Alexander Kolarov and Matija Nastasic came in to try and sure up what must be considered City's weak point without their captain Vincent Kompany - out with a groin injury.
Despite the changes, Hull started brightly and should have score when Sone Aluko was set free following a good counter attack combined with a bit of luck as the ball broke kindly allowing Aluko to skip past Joleon Lescott. Faced with a one-on-one Aluko should have found the back of the net but Joe Hart spread himself well and Aluko dragged the shot wide of the post.
As the match progressed Hull began to find chances limited with Danny Graham putting the ball into the back of the net with a well controlled stretching finish only to look up and see the Assistants Flag raised to deny him his first goal in over 1000 minutes of football. City started to exert the control one would expect of last seasons runners up.
However clear chances were scarce for City and with the exception of a couple of headers from set pieces, there were no moments that really got the blood pumping.
Half-time arrived with the match evenly balanced, but Hull will have gone in the happier team.
Pellegrini, not one to wait and take a chance took off the largely ineffective Edin Dzeko at half time replacing him with the lively Spaniard Alvaro Negredo.
Negredo made an impact from the moment he came on with City starting to really stamp their authority on the match. A chance inevitably fell to Negredo with a header from close range a couple of minutes after the restart, only for Negredo to head the ball well wide and the exasperation was clear to see on the face of the Spaniard who should have buried it.
Aluko continued to provide a good outlet for Hull linking well with Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore before being set free down the right wing only to be pulled back by Nastasic. Phil Dowd correctly booked the Serbian international for unsporting behaviour.
Unfortunately for Aluko his time on the pitch was limited to a further 10 minutes, with what looked like a possible hamstring injury that will have Steve Bruce sweating until the physio report is in.
On 64 minutes Negredo once again found himself in a great position on the six-yard line and was dully provided with a fantastic cross from one of the outstanding performers of the day and City's Player of the Year in 2012/13 Pablo Zabaleta. Arguably the harder of his two headed chances, Negredo controlled it well and headed down under Allan McGregor's body and into the bottom corner.
That goal signaled the real turning point in the match with Hull fading and City showing why they were crowned Champions two years ago.
City continued to press for a second, but at 76 minutes Pellegrini, ever the tactician decided to take of Sergio Aguero for the more industrious James Milner in an attempt to protect the one goal lead.
The game slowed slightly towards the end but a good run and cut inside by substitute Samir Nasri drew the foul from James Chester and Yaya Toure stepped up to take the free kick in the 89th minute. It was close to goal and looked to be a difficult chance to get the ball up over the wall and down in time. Toure fired the shot over the wall and it crept in under the bar.
This all but secured the result for City and they saw out the three minutes of added time with little cause for concern.
With the vast array of talent at his disposal and following the poor loss to Crystal Palace last weekend, Pellegrini will be please with his teams efforts and happy that the Spanish star signed to help boost their chances to reclaim the Premier League title is already paying dividends.
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