Blues' title bid bloodied and bruised
- Thu 27 Dec 2012, 8:43AM
- Posted by Mark Booth
Perhaps the nation’s journalists are still in the festive spirit as City have been given a relatively easy ride in today’s newspapers.
Maybe they ate too much Christmas dinner...
As you would expect, City’s title aspirations are put under the microscope in the few write-ups out there after the champions’ second Premier League defeat of the season, leaving them seven points behind Manchester United at the table summit.
“Manchester City's afternoon finished with Joleon Lescott at centre forward, Joe Hart pitching up for two added-time corners and City coach Brian Kidd on the touchline,” writes Michael Walker in The Sun.
“All are signs of tension, and yesterday, not good signs.
“As City pushed in vain for an equaliser, Kidd will have heard the comeback news from Old Trafford with familiar bewilderment. Everyone did. Then the final whistle blew and Roberto Mancini stood apart, literally, with a thousand-yard stare and a seven-point deficit. There had been no release.”
Soccer Saturday’s Tony Cottee preferred to concentrate on Sunderland’s magnificent rear-guard action in his round-up from the Stadium of Light.
"There was a foul, in my opinion, in the build-up to Sunderland's goal when Craig Gardner clattered into Pablo Zabaleta and Joe Hart was deceived by Adam Johnson's strike, too; he was expecting a cross and not a near post-shot and the ball squirmed underneath him,” said the former West Ham man.
"But Sunderland were tactically superb; they defended well and looked very dangerous on the break, and Johnson, James McClean and Stephane Sessegnon were excellent."
Elsewhere, the transfer window re-opens in just under a week but one man who won’t be making his way to the Etihad Stadium is Santos forward Neymar – that’s according to the Daily Mail.
“Neymar has dashed the hopes of Europe's elite by insisting he will not leave Santos in the January transfer window,” writes Rik Sharma.
The 20-year-old has been linked with Barclays Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea and Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
But the Brazil star says he is happy at Santos and that it is not the right time to leave.
“I am happy at Santos, with my family, son, friends, so it's not the moment to leave,” said Neymar.
“That moment will come because I have the dream of playing in Europe since I was a kid, but that moment hasn't come yet.”
We’ll bring you all of the confirmed transfer news here on mcfc.co.uk when the window re-opens on 1 January.