This weekend witnessed Manchester City close the gap on main rivals Chelsea
after successfully negotiating a 2-0 victory away to Hull City. Chelsea meanwhile suffered a huge blow with a 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa at Villa Park. City are now just six points behind Chelsea with three games in hand.
However, both sides suffered discipline problems which could haunt them for the rest of the season. Manchester City lost captain and key talisman Vincent Kompany to a straight red card for what was deemed a professional foul on Hull City's striker Nikica Jelavic, whilst Chelsea suffered dismissals for both Ramires and Willian alongside manager Mourinho's banishment from the dugout immediately during the aftermath of Ramires' sending off.
To date both clubs are hovering around mid-table in the Premier League fair play league. Chelsea have had three sendings off and forty six yellow cards whilst City have endured fifty one yellows and just one red card.
However, Chelsea's Ramires is the most Ill disciplined individual with eight yellow cards and his red card at Villa Park. City's Pablo Zabeleta is not far behind with eight yellow cards of his own.
Whilst neither club will wish to see any of their players absent due to suspensions it is clear that Manchester City will be hurt by the loss of their captain more so than Chelsea will be due to their absentees. Kompany marshals City's defence and sets an example to the whole team and whilst he is absent City do not have a similar player who can step into his shoes.
City face some tough games before the end of March. They have to visit Old Trafford and The Emirates where their title credentials will be severely tested. To be without Vincent Kompany will not help their cause in either of these games. Chelsea also have to face Arsenal, at Stamford Bridge, and although they still have to visit Anfield before the end of the season, Chelsea have a much less challenging run-in.
City have already been on the receiving end of a red card in the Champions League against Barcelona that cost them the match and ultimately a chance to progress in the competition. They will hope that lightening doesn't strike twice whilst Chelsea will hope that the Villa Park shenanigans does not become a regular thing.
Whoever maintains their cool from now until the end of the season could well be crowned eventual champions.
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