Five things we learned from
City's defense has wobbled on occasion. It did so again in the last 22 minutes on Saturday. City led 4-1 with 25 minutes left at home to Wolves and ended up clinging to a 4-3 victory. Cling on it did and the three points took City into first place. After a shaky start against a spirited foe, City's midfield had taken control. After Kolo Toure, a defender who had given away an early goal to Wolves, leveled from a corner, the "attack" took over. So far this season for "attack'' read Tevez. He danced through the Wolves defense to score one goal, headed a second, his 15th of the season, and helped set up Yaya Toure for another.
City has spent a fortune on strikers. Robinho is long gone. Roque Santa Cruz left last week. Emmanuel Adebayor may follow very soon. Jo started Saturday banished to the bench. Mario Balotelli can score but has shown no appetite for the hurly-burly of English soccer and is injured. City has been climbed into contention on the squat shoulders of Tevez. He could do with help. On Saturday the latest big-money striker, Edin Dzeko, a Bosnian bought for a reported 27 million pounds or $42.8 million, from Wolfsburg made his debut. Robinho, Santa Cruz, Balotelli and Adebayor all, at some point in their careers, had been found disposable by big clubs.
Dzeko is a man on an upward curve who arrives carrying little baggage -- other than an immense wad of petrodollars. Dzeko should improve as he gets to know his teammates. In his first 90 minutes he did not come close to scoring but still looked as if he might be what City have been seeking. He is big and seemed unbothered by the robust attention of Wolves defenders. His movement is smooth and athletic. His ball play is deft, even tricky. He played as a genuine central striker, giving City's play a menacing focus it has lacked and rarely gave the ball away trying to beat the defense on his own -- that's Tevez's job. In Germany, Wolfsburg, Dzeko scored better than a goal every other game, the traditional measure of a top-level scorer. At City, strikers, like the team itself, have had a bad habit of flattering to deceive (remember Rodney Marsh), but as City spent a night atop the league for the first time in 39 years, it could reflect that for 90 minutes, Dzeko had looked the part.
"Our difficult moment was too long," Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea manager said when asked by Sky Television if his team could still win the league.
"It was a rollercoaster,'' Roberto di Matteo, the West Brom manager told the BBC. The same could be said of pretty much the whole Premier League this season. This much we know: someone will finish in sixth place.