Pellegrini's men triumph despite unconvincing display
By Aaron Leggott
As ever, the three points are the most important thing in every Premier League match, but Manuel Pellegrini will have hoped to obtained them in a better fashion than his team did against Hull City on Saturday afternoon as the Blues achieved a 2-0 victory.
Goals from Álvaro Negredo and Yaya Touré in the second half ensured the victory, but Steve Bruce will be kicking himself that his team didn't take their chances to cause a second shock in consecutive weekends against City.
And in truth, the Tigers started off the game brightly and were keeping the hosts quiet, with Sone Aluko being put clear on seven minutes, only to put his shot wide of Joe Hart's goal.
City hit back immediately, with Edin Džeko forcing a fine save out of Allan McGregor, but the Blues' play lacked fluidity during the first half and just didn't seem to get going.
Hull had the ball in the net on 11 minutes but Danny Graham's effort was ruled offside, before Joleon Lescott's pinpoint header was once again well saved from McGregor.
It was a frantic opening to the game and Robert Koren's effort just flew wide of the post on 15 minutes as he struck the last real chance of the first half.
City were slacking and apart from Sergio Agüero's twisting and turning on occasion, the team looked lacklustre throughout the game with the defence looking particularly poor.
One player who definitely wasn't at the races was Džeko and after being replaced by Negredo at half time, the team seemed to liven themselves up.
The Blues haven't drawn a blank at the Etihad Stadium in 51 consecutive games and for times during this game it seemed like that record was set to broken, but the deadlock was finally unlocked on 65 minutes when Pablo Zabaleta's cross looped onto the head of Negredo, and the Spaniard scored his second goal in three substitute appearances with a fine effort.
A huge sense of relief seemed to cloud the Etihad Stadium, and whilst Hull pushed for an equaliser, the game was finally put to bed with two minutes of normal time remaining after Touré replicated his stunning free-kick against Newcastle to secure all three points for the Blues.
A sloppy win, but a win nonetheless. Below are highlights from the 2-0 win:
56% Possession 44%
12 (6) Shots (on target) 7 (2)
7 Corners 4
15 Fouls 14