Manchester City are not just intent on preserving their status as Premier League top-dogs at Manchester United’s expense, it seems they want to claim the title as comeback kings as well.
Less than 24 hours after United had roared back from two goals down to win at Aston Villa, City recovered from a half-time deficit to complete a 2-1 win over Tottenham yesterday.
And just as Javier Hernandez has become the Red Devils’ super-sub with his exploits off the bench, so Edin Dzeko has done the same for City, scoring an 88th-minute winner yesterday after Sergio Aguero had levelled Steven Caulker’s opener.
“If there is a comparable situation to this one, it is Javier Hernandez yesterday,” acknowledged Spurs boss Andre Villas-Boas.
“In the last three games he has scored six times. He has come on and made a difference.
“Today, Dzeko made the difference with the ambition to show he deserves to be in the final XI. It was an individual moment of brilliance, which is recurrent for a player who continues to be on the bench but continues to come on to destroy the opposition.”
Amazingly, whilst United have come from behind to win eight times this season in all competitions, City have done it four times in the Premier League.
It moved them back to within two points of leaders United and extended their unbeaten home record in the Premier League to 35 games.
Not bad for a team said to be in crisis after another disappointing Champions League experience against Ajax in midweek.
“We are not playing to answer questions,” said City coach David Platt. “We are playing to win football matches.
“That is what our focus is. We don’t get motivated because people want to say things outside our camp.
“There is a football match to win that gets us three points.”
Platt is anxious for Dzeko not to get labelled super-sub, although with Aguero and Carlos Tevez also in attack, and Mario Balotelli not even getting on the bench, there are not many easy solutions for the Bosnian.
“We can only pick 11 players,” said Platt. “We have a lot of players who would play in almost any other Premier League team. Edin is one of those players.
“We felt we needed an injection. We needed a little bit more height to get a platform to hold the ball up.
“We also know he is a goal threat and he is fresh. He has scored lots of goals this season and since he has been here he has scored some heavy goals.”
Dzeko has now scored seven goals this season, six of which have come from the bench.
“It shows there is a belief that we don’t go under. That we continue to play our football,” said Platt, who also expressed his satisfaction that David Silva got through the full 90 minutes without a problem after a five-match absence with a hamstring strain.