Updated: Monday, 6th April 2020 @ 1:22pm

Tuesday Team Talk: It's a fact – Manchester City lag behind United because they don't score enough

Tuesday Team Talk: It's a fact – Manchester City lag behind United because they don't score enough

By John McDougall

Manchester City trail rivals United by 12 points in a Premier League title race all but over, but the win over Chelsea highlighted what they have missed lately.   

Both of their second-half strikes came from key players – Yaya Toure and Carlos Tevez – something that must have been strangely frustrating for manager Roberto Mancini.

Over the past few months the Italian has been critical of his side’s inability to score the same amount of goals they did last season – and rightly so.

Toure’s effort was typical of the Ivorian, gliding past John Obi Mikel into the box before curling a shot past Petr Cech.                            

His seventh goal of the season was key and both his influence and presence in midfield have been sorely missed at times at the Etihad Stadium.

On his return from the Africa Cup of Nations, Toure took time to get back into the rhythm and pace of English top-flight football – but it might be too late.   

Last campaign’s title triumph – City’s first in 44 years – came as the Citizens put teams to the sword and scored 93 league goals in doing so.

After 27 games last season, City had scored 69 goals to put them in pole position for the title, but have only managed 50 at the same stage this campaign. 

Mancini has also been critical of his striker’s inability to reach the heights they did last season, which has contributed to their current position.

Though Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko are both in double figures, injuries to the Argentine and the Bosnian’s role as impact substitute have limited their effectiveness.

Mario Balotelli’s paltry three strikes in 20 appearances partly led to his transfer last month to AC Milan, while Tevez’s goal was his first in nine games.     

City’s centre-forward quartet have simply not hit the heights they managed last season and it has shown, with rivals United scoring 14 more than them this campaign.

Needless to say, the impact of Robin van Persie to the Old Trafford title challenge – scoring 23 times this season so far – cannot be underestimated, and more frustrating for Mancini given his longings to sign the former Arsenal man.   

Across town the Dutchman, Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez have all hit double figures for Sir Alex Ferguson’s side, while numerous others have also chipped in.   

Barring a United meltdown the title race is all but over, but it could have been so different had City’s strike force been at the races.

Picture courtesy of Stuart Grout, with thanks.

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