Manchester City: Last-Minute Winners Are Keeping City's Title Dreams Alive

Dan Talintyre@@dantalintyreSenior Analyst IIOctober 21, 2012

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 20:  Edin Dzeko of Manchester City celebrates his second goal during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns on October 20, 2012 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)
Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Manchester City are once again counting their lucky stars after another injury-time goal gave them victory in the English Premier League this season.

Edin Dzeko struck for the Citizens moments before full time to give them a 2-1 victory over West Bromwich Albion and, crucially, keep them in touch with Chelsea and Manchester United on top of the Premier League ladder.

The win was City's fifth of the season and their third in succession—keeping them undefeated through the year so far—and on track to defend their Premier League title.

And whilst it might not seem like much, it's the last-minute winners like the one that Dzeko scored yesterday that could well keep City's title defense alive this year.

Three points is a huge difference compared to one and, over the course of an entire season, could spell out to be about 10 to 12 points in total. Which, when you consider that the title last year was decided on goal difference alone, could be the difference between success and heartbreak for Roberto Mancini's men.

This year, the last-minute goals have all fallen City's way.

The defending champions were trailing 2-1 at home to Southampton in the opening week with 20 minutes to go until Dzeko and Sami Nasri struck to give them the win.

Three points gained.

The following week it was a similar storyline at Anfield, with City trailing 2-1 heading into the final quarter of the match before a wayward Martin Skrtel pass gifted Carlos Tevez the goal and handed the Citizens a 2-2 draw.

One point gained.

Fast forward then to September, where City are level with Fulham at Craven Cottage. It would be that man again, Edin Dzeko, who would score with five minutes left to give the visitors the win and their first victory away from the Etihad.

Two points gained.

And then yesterday, where it seemed that a 1-1 draw was all but written down for the match, Dzeko struck a fantastic finish past Baggies goalkeeper Ben Foster to continue City's winning streak and keep the defending champions on pace for another Premier League title.

Two more points gained, taking their total for the season to eight points gained in the final quarter of play.

Without those eight points, Manchester City would not be in the top four. In fact, they would not even be in the top half of the table. They would be behind West Ham, behind Fulham—heck, they would even be behind Liverpool—and would have handed the likes of Chelsea and Manchester United a lead that they most likely would not be able to run down.

Yes, City did drop points to Arsenal in the final quarter when Laurent Koscielny netted home to level the match, but still, the fact remains that the way in which Roberto Mancini's men have played the final quarter of the match has been huge for their title dreams.

Without it, they could nearly have thrown away their chance at defending their championship, despite the fact that the season has barely begun.

It might not seem like a lot, but these opening eight weeks of the English Premier League could well be the defining moments in Manchester City's title run this year.

They've picked up draws and wins when it seemed they would not, and for that, they must be applauded and commended. The Citizens have played like champions in the final quarter of their matches this campaign—a name they could well be called again this season.

Manchester City could well have thrown away their title dream in the opening eight weeks of the English Premier League season.

But they haven't.

That dream is still well and truly alive.


What have you made of the season so far for Manchester City?

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