|How the Title Was Won.|
20',Rooney,Sunderland 0-1 Manchester United.
38',Zabaleta,Manchester City 1-0 QPR.
48,Cisse,Manchester City 1-1 QPR.
66,Mackie,Manchester City 1-2 QPR.
90+2,Dzeko,Manchester City 2-2 QPR.
90+4,Aguero,Manchester City 3-2 QPR.
Rooney's opening goal at The Stadium of Light only edged United slightly closer to the title because the likelihood of a City win over QPR was at that stage still very high.Zabaleta's opening goal for City gave them a near 95% chance of beating QPR from that situation,so it meant that Mancini should have had a very relaxed half time dressing room.However,the second half started badly for the blue half of Manchester and Barton's red card excepted it just got worse and worse.......until the very end,of course.
Cisse's goal still left them half the match against inferior opposition to find a winning lead,so even at level terms they were still title favourites,although the nature of the mistake that led to the strike demonstrated that the nerves were starting to twitch.
Barton's 55' dismissal was a big bonus for City,especially as Tevez appeared less than blameless in the incident.City,with the inevitable exception of Balotelli did well keep their discipline during the highly charged minutes it took to finally remove Joey from the pitch.It also meant that City's game would finish after United's game at Sunderland and possibly crucially,Bolton's at Stoke.They had a numerical advantage for around 40 minutes and that's worth just under an extra goal in a comparable 11v11 match.
The remarkable Mackie goal was the strike that finally flipped favouritism in favour of United and the clock rapidly became The Red's friend.By the 90th minute City's odds of depriving United were in the region of 4% and this was reflected in the betting markets,but Dzeko's point blank header lifted their chances to almost 25%.The impossible was now merely improbable.Time constraints were now so severe that within the minute City's relatively healthy new position had decayed to barely half of it's new found wealth as final whistles were being blown around the country.Possibly the most significant one was blown by Chris Foy,35 miles away at The Britannia Stadium where Stoke had relegated Bolton and saved City's current opponents QPR.
Newly bereft of any incentive to take anything from their match with City,QPR then capitulated for a second time in two injury time minutes and Mancini,Mike Summerbee,Noel Gallagher and those of the 48,000 who hadn't already departed The Etihad could begin a victory celebration.