Defending champions Manchester City brought back memorable celebrations of May 13 to Etihad Stadium as they started their new Premier League campaign with a dramatic 3-2 come-from-behind win against newly promoted Southampton.
City dramatically came from behind to score two late goals in their 3-2 win over QPR on the last day of the 2011-12 season, sealing a nervy title win at the expense of bitter rivals Manchester United nearly 13 weeks ago.
This afternoon, they had to repeat it all against the Saints, who responded to Carlos Tevez’ slightly off-side first half strike with powerfully struck consecutive goals from Rickie Lambert and Steven Davis early in the second period.
City had their work cut out for them without last season’s hero Sergio Aguero, who had to be carried out on a stretcher after suffering an injury in the early minutes of the match.
However, as many expected, Roberto Mancini’s men responded under pressure, scoring powerfully themselves through Edin Dzeko and Samir Nasri to take a 3-2 lead late in the match.
The latter celebrated his match-winning goal by revealing an ‘Eid Mubarak’ message under his jersey, wishing muslims around the world on the religious holiday that follows the month of Ramadan.
The visitors were completely taken out of the match by then and the hosts hung on for an impressive 3-2 win that sends a statement to the rest of the league about their intentions and credentials to retain the crown.
Elsewhere, European champions Chelsea also made a statement of their own away to Wigan Athletic.
After a poor pre-season that culminated with a 3-2 defeat against the Citizens in the Community Shield a week ago, the Blues took care of business early, with summer signing Eden Hazard leading the way.
The Belgian set-up Branislav Ivanovic for a fine second minute opener before creating a penalty opportunity for Frank Lampard in the seventh minute.
Chelsea led 2-0 for the rest of the way, ensuring that they start off the season on a strong note in pursuit of improving on last season’s disappointing sixth-place finish in the league.