Ian Bolland takes a look at where points were won and lost after the first goal scored with this edition highlighting Manchester United and Man City.
The ability to score first and hold on to leads is a very good sign for sides that have ambitions of finishing towards the top end of the league.
With the final third of the season approaching, here is a look at how the sides who are chasing the title have done when it comes to holding on to leads, or claiming points from behind. In the case of both sides taking the lead at some stage and the game ending up in the draw, the team that scored the first goal will be the side that loses out when it comes to net gains/losses off points.
Manchester City – Led against Cardiff City – lost 3-2
Trailed against Everton, won 3-1.
Led against Aston Villa – lost 3-2
Led against Southampton – drew 1-1
Trailed against Liverpool – won 2-1
Manchester City are renowned for their goalscoring prowess and have taken the lead in every game they've scored in so far this season, but they can sometimes get caught out when leading a match with losses to Cardiff City and Aston Villa, along with the draw against Southampton. They did, however, concede the first goal to both Everton and Liverpool at home but managed to go on and win those games. Eight points lost, two points gained. Net: -6
Manchester United - Trailed against Sunderland, won 2-1.
Led against Southampton, drew 1-1.
Trailed against Stoke City, won 3-2.
Led against Cardiff City, drew 2-2.
Trailed against Tottenham, drew 2-2.
Trailed against Hull City, won 3-2.
In a difficult season for Manchester United under David Moyes they have shown they can come from behind and win games on a few occasions, and when they have scored the first goal they haven't lost. Comebacks against Sunderland, Stoke City and Hull City, whilst twice equalising against Spurs will have pleased the United boss this season, not being able to hold onto the lead against Southampton and Cardiff City will have been disappointing.
Four points lost, 10 points gained. Net +6
Though there is a vast difference in terms of their league position, City could well wish they had the quality that United have displayed this season which is an ability to get back into games when they have fallen behind - though they perhaps haven't demonstrated it as well as they would have liked this season. If you strike early against City do you have a chance of staying ahead of them? And if you lead against United, you need to be disciplined in your defence because they still have the quality to trouble you. Though it must be said, the three wins in question for United have been against sides that are in the current relegation scrap!
image: © dullhunk