It was supposed to a comfortable home match against a Burnley team amidst the scurry of the festive season allowing the Sky Blues to get a breather before games against Everton and Tottenham after an FA Cup tie against West Ham United. And after 3 wins and 3 damaging losses in the last 6 games, City needed a breather.
But what we got was a typical Premier League match with red cards, yellow cards galore, a team punching above their weight and a match which burst into life in the 2nd half. It was Fernandinho’s 3rd red card of the season which set City back in the first half but two inspired changes by Pep Guardiola as he brought on Silva and Aguero turned things around as Pep Guardiola picked up 3 points in the most un-Pep manner ever.
Let us take a sneak-peak into the talking points from this decisive victory-
MANCHESTER CITY CAN’T DO WITHOUT SERGIO AGUERO
Things related to Sergio Aguero hasn’t been the smoothest or the most convincing this season. Be it his play, his disciplinary record or his relationship with the Catalan. He has been dropped for big games and has been repeatedly been asked by his manager to improve his all-around game, that too publicly. But every time he has had a dip, he has burst back to form and shown his importance and indispensability. Completely changing the complexion of the game after coming on, he finished the 2nd goal with aplomb from an almost impossible angle. At a time when Pep Guardiola is having trouble coming to grips with the English game and with the squad not ageing gracefully, players like Aguero need to be treasured.
GOALKEEPING WOES CONTINUE
Pep Guardiola’s decision to replace club legend Joe Hart with veteran keeper Claudio Bravo was met with varied reactions from the fans and the critics alike. But he was given the benefit of the doubt with Pep expected to change the dynamics of the footballing style at the Etihad.
Halfway through the season and the displays have not changed even a bit. Bravo fails to induce confidence and it is always seemingly too easy to score against him. Pep needs to strike a balance and he needs to do it fast.
MIDFIELD REINFORCEMENTS IN JANUARY?
Yaya Toure’s return was seen as a bonus for the team. Almost a new signing, given the lack of football and contribution in the beginning due to the fact that he was frozen out by Guardiola. But the feeling was short-lived as Gundogan injured his knee and has subsequently been ruled out for the season. Suddenly, Yaya was looking like a necessity. But with Fernandinho picking up his 3rd booking in 6 games, it is looking all too bleak at the centre of the pitch. An area which is considered the most important by the Catalan. They got away against Burnley but the likes of Everton and Tottenham won’t be anywhere close to what transpired today. City have to act before it’s too late.
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