Just 12 days after Manchester City were handed only their second defeat at the Etihad Stadium by Chelsea, Manuel Pellegrini’s men came out fighting and got their revenge with a 2-0 win against the Blues.
In his first game back from a knee injury, substitute Samir Nasri sealed the win for the Manchester outfit when he received the ball in the middle of the pitch and strolled through the iffy Chelsea defence and linked up with David Silva for an easy tap in within the six yard box.
His joy was clear to see but the Frenchman was much more subdued after the game as he explained that the loss to Jose Mourinho’s squad less than a fortnight before, played a part in the Blues performance on Saturday.
“After the Premier League game, you saw everyone was down because we thought we were the best team and we were unlucky,” he said.
“But we knew in two weeks’ time we would have to play them again and then we would show them our real faces.”
City have now avenged all their losses that have come at the Etihad Stadium having beaten Bayern Munich 3-2 at the Allianz Arena during the group stages of the Champions League.
What made that win more impressive was that City were without the likes of captain Vincent Kompany and star striker Sergio Aguero was left on the bench, yet they still managed to end Bayern Munich's 10-game win streak in the Champions League.
The team’s focus will now shift to the crucial run of games that could make or break their season, starting tomorrow with a home tie against the mighty Barcelona. However, Nasri isn’t fazed.
“We are really strong,” said the midfielder. “We have our confidence back. They [Barcelona] are weaker than they were two years ago. It is going to be a tight game and an interesting one for everyone.”
Nasri has every reason to be confident as Manchester City have been outstanding in front of their home crowd and really given them their money's worth by averaging four goals per game in all competitions (totalled 10 goals in the group stages of the Champions League).
Former Barcelona player Yaya Toure however doesn’t quite share Samir’s enthusiasm.
"I'm very happy with the evolution of the team. Things are going well, obviously the Champions League is our top objective, but we were unlucky to be drawn against Barcelona,” he told the Mirror.
Moreover they will be without top scorer Sergio Aguero after Pellegrini confirmed the striker will be kept out due to a hamstring problem. Aguero is not in the squad list," said Pellegrini. "We will see if he can be fit for Saturday, but maybe it's difficult.”
Nonetheless the 60-year-old still has plenty of striking options with Edin Dzeko and summer signings Stevan Jovetic and Alvaro Negredo firing on all cylinders.
The trio have been crucial so far this season, tallying 44 goals in all competitions for the Citizens and they will no doubt continue to play a vital role with City facing Wigan Athletic in the sixth round of this year's F.A. Cup on March 8th. They will be looking to avoid a replay of last year’s humbling final defeat at Wembley.
But before that, they could be with their first piece of silverware in 2013/14 as they take part in an all-Premier League Capital One Cup Final at Wembley versus a Sunderland team battling against relegation.
After that they travel to Spain for the return leg against Barca at the Nou Camp on March 12th.
That’s not to mention the Barclays Premier League fixture this coming Saturday against former manager Mark Hughes and his Stoke City team.
No doubt about it, the next month or so will test just how effective Manchester City were in spending their millions.
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