The greatest Premier League finish ever deserves a deep rewind | 2012 Manchester City vs. QPR

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– [Narrator] It’s May 13th, 2012. Manchester, England. We’re deep into stoppage
time of a match between Manchester City and the
visiting Queens Park Rangers. The English Premier League
title depends on this moment. Before it happens, we
need to understand why. What happened to make
this game so important? What these people are thinking? What these people are thinking? And how the hell City
gave up two goals to QPR? Let’s rewind. Before we look on the
pitch, let’s take a look around the crowd to see
how folks at Etihad Stadium are feeling. A little nervous. See, if City wins this match, they win the whole Premier League. That’s an honor typically
reserved for their local rival and historic bully, Manchester United. Both clubs have over a century of history. And United’s done a lot more winning throughout that history. They’ve had the upper hand
in the head-to-head match ups known as the Manchester Derby. And they’ve spent much more time on top. Manchester United has
nineteen league titles, including four of the
five preceding this one. Manchester City has two
league titles, all time. Their last one came in
1968, decades before the Premier League was formed. As recently as the late
’90s and early 2000s, when United was busy winning
multiple league titles, City was relegated to the lower
tiers of English football. That was a flareup of what
fans call “typical City,” or “Cityitis.” A pathology dating back to at least 1938, when City became the rare team who, one year after winning the league title, got relegated out of it. City scored a league-leading
104 goals in the 1958 season and conceded 100. In 1996, City dribbled out
the clock to draw a game they didn’t realize they
desperately needed to win to avoid relegation. So it was a big deal for
City fans when in 2008, extremely rich ownership took
over and started spending record-setting amounts of money on talent, when they hired
trophy-winning Italian coach Roberto Mancini as manager, and when City soon became to
climb up Premier League tables. But nothing would be bigger,
nothing a greater relief from Cityitis than winning a title. This torment you see is
that of fans who know winning it all depends on
what happens right here, but also on the outcome of
another match 100 miles away involving the only other
team in contention. Which is, you guessed it. Manchester United. The two neighboring clubs
have handed first place back and forth throughout
this 2011-2012 season. United had the clear
upper hand entering April, but fell within striking distance thanks to a loss at Wigan
and a terrible blown lead that resulted in a draw with Everton. City only edged back ahead
recently, thanks to this man. Vincent Kompany. City and United met for a
crucial Manchester Derby on April 30th, the third
to last week of the season. Sitting in first place,
United manager Alex Ferguson sent out a conservative defensive team. Essentially playing for a draw. Each team would get a
point in the standings and United would remain on top. But Kompany, City’s brilliant
defender and team captain, headed in a corner to give
City the match’s only goal. The victory tied the teams atop the table with City holding a tiebreaker
because of goal differential. And such were the circumstances heading into today’s fixtures,
which all kicked off at exactly the same time. City at home in Manchester facing QPR, United away at Sunderland. Holding the tiebreaker
means all City has to do to stay in first and win it
all is match United’s result. If United lose, then City
win the Premier League. If United draw, then City
have to draw themselves. If United win, then City’s got to win too. People involved in each
match are keeping a close eye on the other one, and 20 minutes
into the afternoon’s games, the folks in Manchester got
word that up in Sunderland, Wayne Rooney had scored for United. Meanwhile, City and QPR
were still at nil-nil. So at that moment, United were on pace to win the Premier League. But about 20 minutes
later, here in Manchester, City defender Pablo Zabaleta
scored his first goal of the season on a funky
bounce off the keeper’s hand. – [Commentator] It’s in! It’s in! – [Narrator] So at half-time,
City was on pace for a win and back atop the table. No matter what happened with
United, all City had to do to win the trophy was hold that lead. Clearly, they did not do that. Here, it’s important to understand what these guys are thinking. Queens Park Rangers sit near
the bottom of the table, but this match matters a lot to them too. QPR entered the day in
fourth to last place, two points ahead of Bolton. After today’s season-ending
matches, the bottom three clubs will be relegated to
the League Championship, England’s second tier. If Bolton beats Stoke City
today, they’ll earn three points and quite possibly leapfrog
QPR in the standings, depending on a result in Manchester. And Bolton scored twice to
enter half-time up two-one. So while City came out for the second half hoping to maintain their clean sheet and win the Premier League, QPR suddenly needed goals
to make sure that they could stay in the Premier League. QPR had less to gain
but much more to lose. So they were hungry. If City made a mistake,
they would devour it. And this whoospie of a
header by Joleon Lescott was a big, big mistake. United were still up
one-zero, and City were tied. So United were once again on pace to be Premier League champions. And this didn’t (bleep) help. No one marked QPR’s Jamie
Mackie, and he buried a header to put the underdog up two goals to one. City haven’t lost in
Manchester all season, and yet they trailed in
the second half against the worst away side in the
league, while their rivals held a one-nil lead elsewhere. Not ideal. But clearly two-one didn’t hold either. At this point, we should take
a look at who’s participating in this moment for City. This right here is Edin Dzeko. Down one to two, a livid Roberto Mancini subbed in Dzeko as an extra striker. City desperately needed goals, plural, and Dzeko’s good at those. The opportunities were
there, but just slipped away. At the end of 90 minutes,
another opportunity dissolved in brutal fashion,
and City still trailed. Remember, with United
rolling toward victory, even a two-two draw
won’t be enough for City. But you need two goals
before you can get three. And after the referees
applied an unusually high five minutes of stoppage
time, Dzeko finally connected, freeing himself with a clever
feint to head in a corner. So that’s one scoring option
here for the third goal City desperately needs. But I want to talk about why
there’s so much stoppage time. It involves this man, Sergio
Aguero, who you’ll notice is surrounded by only ten QPR players. Referees add stoppage time
at the end of regulation to compensate for injuries and arguments. Any non-soccer thing that ate
into the first 90 minutes. And in the 55th minute, we
had a big non-soccer thing. Joey Barton, a former
Manchester City player, known for his short temper, got red-carded for this elbow to Carlos Tevez’s face. And on his way off the
pitch, Barton tried to provoke a fight and get a
City player sent off with him. He suddenly attacked Aguero,
like for real assaulted him. So QPR got their second
goal playing down a man, while until Dzeko’s goal in extra time, City simply could not capitalize
on opportunities to score. Although it’s kind of hard to blame Aguero for missing a chance like
this one when we just saw him get the shit kicked out of his legs. This is all to say that
while Aguero is rushing in as a potential scoring option,
he is maybe not at 100%. Meanwhile, the man with the
ball is Mario Balotelli. Balotelli is known for his
sometimes outlandish behavior, and he’s known for his
divine scoring ability. That’s why Mancini
subbed him into the game. When you need goals, you
turn to a guy like Balotelli. Although as he loses his
balance, it’s not looking like he’s gonna be able to shoot
the ball he just touched. Neither is Dzeko, who is
out of Balotelli’s range on the left side. Nor Derby hero Vincent Kompany, who’s dummying out of
the way, hoping to pull a defender with him. The ball probably won’t
make it to David Silva, open on the right wing. If anyone’s gonna get there, it’ll have to be Sergio Aguero, the man who recently got his legs smashed. And Aguero’s gonna have to make
something happen right here. Because those five
minutes are almost gone, and because moments ago, up in Sunderland, United wrapped up their one-nil victory. They’re already celebrating,
at least tentatively. And QPR fans are celebrating
too, because they heard Bolton ended up with a
draw, meaning their team is safe from relegation. But City fans, sheer terror. Waves of nervous rage. These are backers of a
club that’s hurt them for the better part of a century. A club that finally had the upper hand on its lifelong rival but so
miserably squandered the chance for a simple, painless victory, and now stands one more
blown opportunity away from a devastating bout of Cityitis. Okay, here we are. Welcome to a moment in history. – [Commentator] Balotelli, Aguerrroooooo! I swear, you’ll never see
anything like this ever again! – [Narrator] Wait, sorry,
turn it back on real quick. Because Manchester United and their fans followed the end of this
game just like we did. Welcome to another
simultaneous moment in history. – [Commentator] And the
news is coming through! The Manchester United have lost it! Manchester City have
snatched it from them!

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