Hart impresses media in "gritty" Palace display
- 29 December 2013 09:20
- Posted by @porter_mcfc
City may look down on title rivals from the summit of the Premier League this Sunday morning, but the word “grit” seems to be the main theme as the media give their verdicts on the latest Etihad victory.
Joe Hart’s crucial role in ensuring City picked up all three points is recognised across the media –although the Etihad crowd were first to acknowledge his excellent performance by voting him Man of the Match in the stadium, of course!
John Richardson picks up the theme in today’s Daily Express, explaining: “If all their matches were at the Etihad then the bookies, who still make City title favourites, would surely stop taking bets.
“Pellegrini’s side are simply unstoppable on home soil, amassing goals and playing scintillating football which has steamrollered some of the best sides.
“This latest victory against a rejuvenated and remodelled Palace side with master technician Tony Pulis at the helm was one hewn from grit and determination.
“It was also a triumph for England keeper Joe Hart, who survived a cut close to his left eye to make three critical saves to preserve his side’s incredible home record.”
There was more of the same in the Manchester Evening News, which claims that while wins of this nature may not be the most entertaining, they are the ones that are vital when the medals are handed out in May.
December hasn’t exactly been light on entertainment though – City went the whole month unbeaten, put on a Boxing Day thriller and there was the small matter of beating the European Champions on their own turf…
Sorry, got a bit distracted there. Anyway, back to the MEN…
Writes Stuart Brennan: “Manchester City fans who have been spoiled by their breathtaking attacking brilliance this season had to sit through a dour, dig-deep kind of win over gritty Palace.
“But at the end of the season, these are the kind of wins on which you look back and see the seeds of league title wins being sown.
“Edin Dzeko sealed victory with a second half goal, but it was telling that the City fans voted Joe Hart as their man of the match, as he stood tall in the face of some fierce Palace pressure in the second half.”
Meanwhile, only days before the transfer window opens, and just a single transfer story to tell you about. Still, I wouldn’t get used to it – I’m sure that will change in the next few weeks!
Jonathan Birchall reports: “City are set to go head-to-head with Chelsea in the race to sign 19-year-old St. Etienne sensation Kurt Zouma, who is valued at around £10m.
“Pellegrini has spoken to Begiristain about the youngster and feels he could integrate him into first-team action quickly, despite his age, and is keen to sign a player who is able to play in the Champions League as City enter the knockout stages for the first time.”
The report adds: “While City have made strengthening their defence a priority ahead of the January window, Goal can reveal that the club have also been tracking Benfica midfielder Nemanja Matic in recent weeks, with scout Rob Newman having repeatedly watched the Serb.
“The 25-year-old, who left Chelsea as part of David Luiz's move to Stamford Bridge in 2011, has been heavily linked with a return to Stamford Bridge in January, and City officials have been made aware of the west Londoners' firm interest in the midfielder.”
Of course, nothing is confirmed until you read it here on mcfc.co.uk!