Frank Lampard sees off Sunderland to spare Manchester City’s blushes

For a second successive game, Manchester City somehow contrived to lose a two-goal lead at home against a team they would normally expect to ease out of their way. This time, however, they spared themselves another ordeal and it was another moment to demonstrate why the Premier League champions have leant on their sister club, New York City FC, to keep Frank Lampard in Manchester rather than Manhattan. They may not like it in New York but when Lampard is making such a rich contribution for Manuel Pellegrini’s team the decision-makers in Abu Dhabi can hardly be blamed for deciding to extend his stay and abandon the initial plan of making him Major League Soccer’s new poster boy.

Lampard had been on the pitch only four minutes when he announced his presence with the fifth, decisive goal of a wild 15-minute spell that had felt utterly incongruous to everything that preceded it. It was his seventh goal for the club, despite largely being restricted to substitute appearances, and it is clear why City have been willing to risk a transatlantic PR disaster, which could conceivably get worse over the coming months.

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