Manchester City kept their slim hopes of winning the Premier League title alive last night with a 3-1 defeat of Premier League strugglers West Brom at the Etihad Stadium.
It was not all good news though, as star midfielder David Silva was stretchered off and striker Sergio Aguero appeared to limp-off.
There are now concerns that Spanish international Silva could have a serious injury. City are now awaiting news on how bad Silva’s injury is and how long he will be out of action.
The fact that the former-Valencia midfielder was stretchered-off was not exactly a good sign.
Silva has been playing through the pain barrier for a few weeks now. He has been carrying an ankle injury which kept him out of last Wednesday’s 2-2 draw with Sunderland. City took a risk in playing the Spaniard and it obviously backfired, despite Silva having a good game before his premature exit.
Star striker Sergio Aguero’s season has been interrupted a number of times by injury, after he made a blistering start to the campaign. The Argentine scored the first goal for City against the Baggies and was involved in the second City goal.
However, he picked-up a knock just after the hour mark and was substituted, apparently his exit was just a precaution and the Argentine’s hamstring problem had not returned as feared. City probably did the right thing, as Aguero is a key player and the game was virtually already won.
According to reports, Aguero should be fit for City’s visit to Crystal Palace at the weekend. City fans will be hoping that the Argentine is fit enough to face the Eagles, as Tony Pulis’ side have gained five straight Premier League victories, including a very creditable 3-2 win at in-form Everton.
Ivory Coast midfielder Yaya Toure missed the games against West Brom and Sunderland, after limping off in the 3-2 defeat at title rivals Liverpool. Toure has been one of City’s top performers this season and has been badly missed in the games he has missed.
His presence in the centre of midfield may have made a difference to the Citizens, especially in the defeat at Anfield, considering he went-off very early in the massive encounter. Toure’s absence proved that even big-spending City need their best players fit to win games.
City boss Manuel Pellegrini has stated that Toure could be fit to face Crystal Palace in City’s game on Sunday and he may be needed against the in-form Eagles.
Even the top teams who have spent hundreds of millions need their best players to be fit. The loss of Aguero has definitely harmed the Citizens chances of being successful this season. When Aguero is at his best he without doubt one of the league’s top players.
Had the Argentinian international been fit for the whole of the campaign, City may not now be hoping for a Liverpool slip-up to win the Premier League title and they would be in a better position to win the league title this season.
However, the same could be said for Arsenal, who have been missing some of star players for a large portion of the season. The likes of Aaron Ramsey, Theo Walcott and Mesut Ozil have all spent significant time on the sidelines this season through injury.
Ramsey and Ozil have recently returned from injury, but Walcott will miss the remainder of the campaign. The race for the Premier League title would have been very interesting if the likes of Ramsey and Aguero would have stayed fit for the whole campaign.
As it is league leaders Liverpool have capitalised and took a hold of the Premier League title race. It looks unlikely that the Reds will slip-up and that Brendan Rodgers team will win the Premier League title this season.
The loss of a player of Aguero’s quality for periods would hamper any team’s chances of success. However, the Citizens cannot use the loss of the Argentine and other key players as an excuse for failure to win the title this season.
What has cost City is complacency against some of the leagues poorer sides. City have spent the last couple of years attempting to develop a squad capable of challenging for trophies at home and abroad.
City look to have failed on both counts this season. The Citizens are now odds of 9/2 to win the Premier League title. The players that Manchester City have got and the money they have spent in recent windows they should really be winning the big trophies.
The excuse of big players being missing will not wash, as league leaders Liverpool have had both strikers Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge missing at points this season. It looks like the Reds have coped better without their key players and could soon get the reward for their determination.
If City fail to win the Premier League this season I sure that they will be back next season, probably after spending more money this summer and hopefully with a fully-fit Aguero, Silva and Toure.
However, if City does not address their problem of complacency against the smaller teams then they could suffer yet more disappointment next season.
Should Manchester City have performed better this season despite injuries?