Manchester City started off with an unconvincing 2-1 win over Sunderland in what was Pep Guardiola’s first competitive match as City Boss. Sergio Aguero fired into the bottom corner from the penalty spot after Van Aanholt had clumsily brought Sterling down after just 3 minutes on the clock. City dominated for long stretches but could not conjure any out clear cut opportunities and Sunderland would have been happy to go into the break only a goal down.
The second half played out similarly but Sunderland saw the ball marginally more than that in the first half. In the 71st minute, the old warhorse Defoe slid the ball underneath the rushing Caballero’s body after a nice reverse from Rodwell. But City kept going at them and eventually Navas’s precisely whipped in cross evaded 2 City players before hitting McNair’s head and flying into the net. Manchester City were relieved with the win but they need to vastly improve henceforth.
THREE TALKING POINTS
GUARDIOLA HASN’T FACED ANYTHING LIKE THIS BEFORE
City had 16 shots on goal to Sunderland’s 7. They enjoyed 77% possession to Sunderland’s 23% and completed 578 passes in comparison to Sunderland’s 102 passes. But Sunderland were 3 minutes away from taking home equal number of points. Guardiola will remind his players of finishing off games and the narrow margin between the scorelines will be new to him. English Premier League is completely different from the La Liga and Bundesliga and the sooner Pep and the supporters accept it, the better for City.
END OF THE ROAD FOR JOE HART?
The goalkeeper speculations got a new lease of life as Pep dropped Joe for his first competitive game. The undisputed No.1 for City for seasons, his inability to spread the play from the back seems to have fallen foul of Pep’s requirements. Fans will be hoping there is a better solution as the England stopper is certainly a fan-favourite and has been at the heart of City’s success since the takeover.
CITY NEED GUNDOGAN (AND PROBABLY SANE TOO) ON THE PITCH SOON
The two Germans sat together in the stands looking at their new teammates’ struggle in carving open a resilient Sunderland side and would have been itching to get on the field. City need someone like Gundogan if they intend to cut short Yaya gradually from the team as the midfield lacks quality as of now. And presently they have too many similar styled players like Nolito, Sterling and Navas. City would have loved to have someone like Sane to come off the bench.