Chelsea 2 Manchester City 0
A Bridge Too Far
Saturday 8th December 2018 :
Richard Taylor for GYKO at Stamford Bridge
Manchester City were brought back down to earth,
because the game was brought down to the basics.
This may also finally bring a true title race. It
has certainly brought new hope for new leaders
Liverpool, not to mention a brilliantly victorious
It means there will be no invincible season for
Manchester City, after the champions lost their
first league game of the season to fall behind
Jurgen Klopp’s side at the top of the table, having
fallen 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Human after all.
And they didn’t just lose the game, but some of
their way, as well as the fight. Chelsea suddenly
snapped into the game when it had initially looked
like they would be unravelled, and then just kept
snapping at City, so forcing them off their usual
In that, the fact Pep Guardiola’s approach actually
forced Maurizio Sarri’s side out of his own usual
game ended up being a virtue. It directly led to how
Chelsea beat the champions. For all the elaborate
sophistication of Guardiola’s approach, and how
Sarri has looked to emulate that, this was really
about – well, to paraphrase City’s own Fabian Delph
– the basics. Chelsea were just better at them, and
an untypical rudimentary approach from Sarri won the
It might well inspire others to win more games
against them, although most others won’t have
anything like N’Golo Kante or David Luiz, the
goalscorers and best performers that so typified
Chelsea’s approach. They kept it so brilliantly
simple in running and harrying as well as how they
scored, and thereby made it so much more complicated
Guardiola and his side were left figuring out what
had happened, especially given how dominant they’d
been for most of the first half, and especially
given the jarring and limp lack of a response. That
was especially striking, and maybe worrying, for the
champions. But there lies some of the story.
It is one of the consistent curiosities and
contradictions of Guardiola teams, going back to
Barcelona, and whereby their near-perfection
actually makes them oddly vulnerable. In some games,
they are so on top, that they are almost drawn into
a dangerous complacency when they’re not actually
ahead. It was the case at this very stadium with
Barca in the 2011-12 Champions League semi-final,
and the case here.
There were moments in the first half when it seemed
like City were capable of scoring at will, and that
a goal was inevitable. Misses like Raheem Sterling’s
in the eighth minute, or Bernardo Silva’s header
from a corner didn’t seem to matter because there
was the feeling the next chance would come along in
minutes. Except, it didn’t. There was now just
passiveness to City’s passing; in control, yes, but
nowhere near to being in their groove. It is then
when they get caught, which Chelsea exploited.
There was also something of an irony here. Sarri
isn’t a manager to wilfully compromise his
Guardiola-influenced approach, but the fact City
were so in control meant his team were effectively
forced into that, and into trying things they
wouldn’t normally do: like going a bit longer and a
bit more basic.
There was no steady accumulation of passes here.
Just before half-time, and on the break from a David
Luiz ball, Pedro suddenly spotted Willian free on
the left and switched play.
The Brazilian’s touch was poor, but there was such
an unusual amount of space around him that didn’t
matter. There was a charge forward, and an
opportunity. The ball made its way back to Marcos
Alonso, and while he also miscontrolled, Hazard
Barely on the ball because of the nature of the
game, the Belgian instead displayed a supreme
efficiency that he is still accused of lacking, by
making the most of that one moment. He momentarily
waited, then weighted his pass so it was perfect for
the oncoming Kante to power into the roof of the net
with similar perfection. Out of nothing, but with
the full force of everything in the XI, Chelsea were
ahead. There was also a symbolism to the very
scorer. Sarri was vindicated, and Kante elevated.
With so much debate about whether the French
midfielder has had his best qualities neutered by
being taken out his usual position at the base of
midfield, we here saw how those qualities benefit
his new role. A greater freedom means there can be a
greater effect of all that energy, all that power,
like when he surged into the box.
Kante seemed to go up another level in the second
half, that relentless running so disruptively
filling the gaps between City’s intended passes and
just breaking up all their play.
There was no other way to say it. Having been
complacent, City were now shook, and apparently
unable to jolt themselves out of their torpor. It
was Chelsea who looked likelier to score, who looked
livelier, and all that came together for the game’s
Sarri’s side were just more alert, as they proved
with that most basic of goals: a set-piece. They
were doing those basics better, meaning David Luiz
was left free to power in a header.
City have been stopped, and a real title race may
Watford 1 Manchester City 2
The Watford Gap
Tuesday 4th December 2018 :
John Murphy for GYKO at Vicarage Road
You can’t hurry Ederson. You can’t stop Kyle Walker
brushing you aside. You can’t predict where David
Silva is going to play his next pass. You can’t get
the ball off Riyad Mahrez. You can’t mark Leroy
Sane. You can’t get the last bit of toothpaste out
of the tube, you can’t remember all your internet
passwords, and ultimately, you can’t stop Manchester
City from doing what they want to you.
Watford had a go, to their
credit. On a chilly night at Vicarage Road, dusted
by a light, relentless rain, they became the latest
team to take on the toughest assignment in English
football. They put in a decent effort. They prepared
and trained thoroughly, ran themselves into the
ground, carved out a couple of decent openings of
their own, rode their luck a little. All it bought
them was 40 minutes. That was the time it took Sane
to put Manchester City 1-0 up, and from that point
Watford seemed to be playing on a pitch tilting ever
more inexorably towards them.
Yet they kept coming, even after Mahrez’s goal on 50
minutes seemed to kill them off. In the end,
Abdoulaye Doucoure’s consolation five minutes from
time was a fair reward for their efforts. They even
managed to give the champions a few qualms in the
closing stages, pouring forward in search of an
unlikely equaliser. They will brood over Troy
Deeney’s miss from eight yards in the first half,
which at least threatened to put a novel complexion
on the game.
And on the whole, Watford didn’t do a lot wrong.
After all, City don’t necessarily need you to mess
up. They’d obviously prefer it if you did, but it’s
not a deal-breaker. Even at 0-0, there’s an ominous
heft to Pep Guardiola’s side, the shape and the
shadow of what you know they’re capable of, and what
they know you know. There are 77 minutes left,
infinite angles and infinite routes to goal. You
can’t possibly cover them all.
By the time City took the lead, Watford had already
died several deaths. Ben Foster was earning his
match fee and then some, saving one-on-one from
Sane, making a superb triple save to deny Mahrez,
and then Sane, and then David Silva. They had
repelled wave after wave. They had even enjoyed
something approaching a decent spell of possession.
But five minutes before the break, they failed to
clear their lines, Mahrez clipped a delicious cross
to the far post, and Sane nudged the ball past
Foster not with his foot, or with his head, but with
his chest. Pure, inexorable velvet.
Supporting City must feel terribly strange at the
moment. After all, what are you there for? To help
them to victory? They’re going to win with or
without your help. To support your team? You may as
well support the sun rising in the morning.
Nevertheless, as the home crowd sat in chastened
silence, the travelling fans seemed to be enjoying
themselves immensely, and largely at the expense of
They roared when Mahrez smashed the ball home,
emphatically finishing a neat little passing
triangle between Silva and Sane and Gabriel Jesus.
And though the result was largely secure, there were
still 40 minutes to negotiate. Jesus, scenting the
goal that would have rewarded his inexhaustible
industry, missed two fine chances to make it 3-0 and
send the Watford fans shuffling for the exits.
Instead, the home side produced a late flourish.
Domingos Quina came on for a Premier League debut.
Doucoure tried his luck from 18 yards. With five
minutes left, Fabian Delph got a little casual at
left-back, substitute Gerard Deulofeu surged to the
right byline, Andre Gray had a stab, Doucoure had a
stab, and at the third attempt eventually managed to
bundle the ball - and Ederson - into the City net.
And so for the last five minutes an illusory chaos
reigned, as Watford gambled, lumped the ball
forward, hoiked set-pieces into the penalty area,
spun the wheel and pushed their luck. But that’s the
thing about gambling: the house always wins in the
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walker, Stones,
Kompany (Otamendi 83), Delph, Bernado Silva,
Fernandinho, David Silva (Gundogan 73), Mahrez,
Jesus (Laporte 88), Sane
Subs not used: Danilo, Sterling, Foden, Muric
Referee: Paul Tierney 6
Manchester City 3 Bournemouth 1
Stuttering to Win
Saturday 1st December 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
Those balmy, warm days of late summer seem to belong
to another world right now. As does that time back
in August when Leroy Sane couldn’t even make the
Manchester City subs’ bench.
Back then Pep Guardiola denied he was making a
point. But now Sane is demonstrating the form which
could see him develop into one of the more
terrifying wide players in Europe, Guardiola is
keener to expound on the problem with Leroy.
With Raheem Sterling, he provided the thrust in what
might have been an idling performance otherwise,
meaning his manager was keen to send a message.
Firstly, one of praise. ‘I don’t know what Leroy ate
before the game but maybe we should put it on the
menu for everyone,’ he said.
Then came the challenge, which alluded to the
tension earlier in the season. ‘When he is going to
complain in the future to his manager why he doesn’t
play, I will send this video,’ said Guradiola.
‘Because if he plays this way, he is going to play.
He was incredible, offensively, defensively,
creating chances, positive in the mind, reactions.
And sometimes it’s not there.
‘We never doubt Leroy but he is young, 22, And
sometimes up and down is normal. Maybe in the
future, he will realise how important it is and he
will be more consistent like Fernandinho, David
Silva, Bernardo Silva, every time eight or nine out
of ten. That is what we are looking for from him.’
The gauntlet was well and truly laid down. It is
challenge to which Sterling has responded in the
past and he was eventually decisive again on
Saturday, though it took him 55 minutes to get
going. Now it is Sane’s turn to prove himself week
in, week out.
He was indeed excellent, his first probing run
coming after 45 seconds and that even though
Bournemouth had kicked off. He was breaking off his
man, driving in crosses and causing general
consternation. Olek Zinchenko seemed constantly to
be looking for that ball to him over the top. So it
was on that on 16 minutes the Ukrainian lifted the
ball for Sane to run on to. Asmir Begovic was first
to it, pushing it away but only to Bernando Silva
who opened the scoring.
The players clearly picked up the vibe. And though
this was a Bournemouth side set up to be more robust
that they have been here previously, they are not a
team to be patronised. Eddie Howe had them in 5-4-1
shape when defending. But increasingly as that half
developed they built their own attacking moves.
So when the equaliser arrived on 44 minutes, it
wasn’t wholly a surprise. Josh King held the ball up
superbly before moving it on to Lewis Cook. He fed
Simon Francis and his cross invited Callum Wilson to
make a fine leap to direct the ball into the right
hand corner of Ederson’s net.
It was a wake-up call. And you sense that Pep
Guardiola knows the only thing that will defeat City
this season would be a premature sense of
Bernardo Silva celebrates with the home support
after breaking the deadlock against the Cherries on
After 100 points, it is not easy [to motivate
yourself again]. Now I have a weapon: say ‘Remember
20 minutes in the first half, we were not good
enough.’ They score one goal but they had three
chances. When you concede crosses it was ‘Oof! We
save it!’ At the end it is a goal. Because when we
concede crosses in there, teams are better than us.’
Guardiola warned his team at half time. ‘But my
speech was ridiculous, because it didn’t work!’ he
said. Not until a thrilling run by Sterling on 55
minutes past five players seemed to energise the
A minute later Fabien Delph won the ball back, fed
Fernandinho who turned it on to Sterling. He
released Danilo down the left, and the Brazilian’s
shot was parried by Begovic. But Sterling, alert as
ever, followed up with more intent than anyone and
made it 2-1.
City were more in their stride now and sealed the
game in the 80th minute from a Sane corner.
Initially the ball was cleared, but found its way
back to the German. He drove towards the box and fed
substitute David Silva, whose deft first-time return
ball was both routine (by his standards) and
exquisite. Sane then was able to drill the ball in
for Gundogan to score.
MAN CITY: (4-3-3) Ederson, Danilo, Otamendi,
Laporte, Zinchenko (Delph 54), Bernardo (Mahrez 87),
Fernandinho, Gundogan , Sterling, Jesus (Silva 77),
SUBS NOT USED: Muric (GK), Walker, Kompany, Foden
BOURNEMOUTH: (5-4-1) Begovic, Francis, S.Cook, Ake,
Mings, Daniels, King (Stanislas 85), L.Cook , Surman,
Fraser (Brooks 72), Wilson (Mousset 85)
SUBS NOT USED: Boruc (GK); Defoe, Rico, Simpson
REFEREE: Stuart Attwell
Lyon 2 Manchester City 2
Tuesday 27th November 2018 :
Keith Penny for GYKO at the Groupama Stadium
This was the result Manchester
City needed to progress into the knockout stage of
the Champions League, but it was a performance that
suggested a troubling fallibility in Europe remains.
It will be argued that it does not really matter,
that nobody will remember how City got there when
the round of 16 launches in February. Although that
cannot disguise the fact that Lyon, a team who are
15 points adrift of leaders Paris St-Germain in the
French league, have outplayed the champions of
England twice this season.
Sergio Aguero’s late header may have salvaged the
point Pep Guardiola needed from this short trip
across the Channel, but City have not been given a
fright like this for months, not since Bruno
Genesio’s team won at the Etihad Stadium back in
Perhaps it will do them some good. There is nothing
like a threat to sharpen the senses, but the rest of
Europe will be looking at how and why Lyon have
enjoyed playing against them when so many others
have been crushed, particularly in the Premier
At the very least, it will have served to remind
everyone that City’s domestic dominance will never
translate simply into European success. There is an
enduring vulnerability in this competition that will
be punished far more severely by a team that, unlike
Lyon, takes their chances.
“You have time in the Premier League, you have 38
games, you can make mistakes,” said Guardiola. “But
this is a completely different challenge against
better players who can punish you. This is much
“What pleases me is we have shown the right
personality to get the result we needed and that
will make us stronger when we start in the Champions
League again. I’m happy, as qualification was always
the most important thing.
“People say it is just PSG in France, but France are
world champions, they have so many strong teams.
They do not know how tough, how complicated the
French league is. Lyon are one of the strongest
teams I ever faced.”
That sounded a little like straw-clutching, given
there are far better teams than Lyon who remain in
the competition, but there is no doubt their
opponents here have the qualities that tend to
ruffle the feathers of City’s peacocks.
They are a side that can play at the sort of pace
that knocks City out of their stride, depriving them
of space and time, while their rapid counters
stretch them defensively.
Lyon could have been three goals up inside half an
hour. Maxwel Cornet should have given them the lead
from the first corner but missed a free header
inside the six-yard box. Moments later, Memphis
Depay, who devoted much of his weekend to filming a
“rap” video to congratulate himself on reaching five
million followers on Instagram, missed a tap in at
the far post from a brilliant Cornet cross.
City finally got going, with a David Silva shot
saved while another from Riyad Mahrez was deflected
wide, but Cornet had another clear opportunity after
that, firing wide after a heavy first touch under
pressure from Aymeric Laporte.
Few teams get as many chances against City over 90
minutes, let alone 30, and Cornet also hit the
crossbar in the first half with an acrobatic volley.
Lyon had them rattled and finally got the lead they
deserved after the break. A long free-kick from
inside their own half caught City’s defence
flat-footed, allowing Depay to find Cornet, who
curled a delicious shot inside the far post. It was
his hardest chance of the night but this time the
finish was sublime.
City responded and Aguero’s header, from Kyle
Walker’s clever cross, was superbly saved by Anthony
Lopes. For the first time, Lyon looked uncomfortable
at the back and, having given away a needless
free-kick, City equalised with a powerful Laporte
That appeared to have calmed the situation but Lyon
punished them again. Cornet was played in by Depay
and his low shot went underneath goalkeeper Ederson.
Lyon thought that was the game won but back came
City again, Aguero glancing a header beyond the
goalkeeper from a corner. It was a get out of jail
card moment. They may not get another this season
West Ham 0 Manchester City 4
Saturday 24th November 2018 :
Graham Little for GYKO at the London Stadium
At around ten to three, the PA announcer at the
London Stadium was getting enthusiastic about ‘an
exciting match against Manchester City’. But once
the game kicked off, the only excitement was among
those who had bet exactly how many West Ham would
score as Pep Guardiola’s men did to West Ham what
they have done on every visit to this ground, and to
many other teams at home and away.
In the end it was only four, three scored in a
one-sided first half. David Silva put City ahead
after 11 minutes, RaheemSterling
added a second eight minutes later, and Leroy Sane
scored the third in the 34th minute. Job done, they
took it easy in the second half, Sane shooting home
in added time. But that still made it eight
successive victories in all competitions for City,
five wins out of five for Guardiola against West
Ham, and four successive wins for City at the London
Stadium, with an aggregate score of 16 goals for and
only one against.
Manuel Pellegrini, the West Ham and, previously,
City manager, had said that facing his old club for
the first time would be ‘a special game,’ but he
must have wanted it to end long before Andre
Marriner blew the final whistle. His new team had
cowered before City and their defenders froze at key
moments, ignoring even the most basic of defensive
City soon settled into their usual short-passing
groove, while it took West Ham almost six nervy
minutes to penetrate City’s half before Michail
Antonio was allowed to run through by a generous
linesman and win a corner kick. The promising Grady
Diangana forced another flag kick four minutes later
as he threatened to squirm between Fabian Delph and
But within 60 seconds City were ahead. There was no
challenge from a home defender as Kyle Walker made
serene progress down the right, and when Sterling
crossed low, Silva tiptoed between two
claret-shirted statues – on second glance, Issa Diop
and Fabian Balbuena - to touch the ball past Lukasz
Fabianski from well within the six-yard box. It was
2-0 after 19 minutes as Sane ambled past former City
defender Pablo Zabaleta on the left and rolled the
ball across goal for Sterling to nip in ahead of
Diop and prod in.
But then, sudden and unexpected signs of life from
the Hammers. First Antonio robbed Aymeric Laporte
and set up Marko Arnautovic for a low shot that was
smothered by a combination of Walker and goalkeeper
Ederson. Then Arnautovic returned the favour for
Antonio, whose powerfully-struck drive rebounded off
the goalkeeper’s chest.
But City shrugged that off and two became three
after 33 minutes. Fernandinho sent a diagonal pass
out to Sterling on the right, he cushioned a volley
into the centre, and Sane, completely unmarked, took
one touch, sidestepped Balbuena’s attempt to
recover, and rolled the ball past an unhappy-looking
Diangana, Arnautovic and Zabaleta worked a one-touch
move down the West Ham right just before half-time
that might have caused problems for some teams, but
Laporte moved across to snuff out the danger.
Sterling could have scored his second soon after the
restart but Fabianski denied him and blocked Sane’s
follow-up, and when Antonio galloped away onto a
pass from Arnautovic, you wondered whether the game
just might change. But although the forward’s shot
beat Ederson’s left arm, it smacked off the outside
of the post and away.
It was never going to be West Ham’s day and they
finished the game a man short, Marko Arnautovic
limping off to sympathetic applause with all three
substitutes used. In injury time, Sane took Gabriel
Jesus’ cross and smacked an angled shot past
Fabianski and in off Aaron Cresswell.
West Ham United (4-4-1-1):
Fabianski, Zabaleta, Balbuena, Diop, Masuaku (Cresswell
46), Diangana (Hernandez 55), Obiang, Rice, Anderson
(Perez 69), Antonio, Arnautovic
Subs not used: Adrian, Carroll, Noble, Ogbonna
Manchester City (4-3-3): Ederson, Walke, Otamendi,
Laporte, Delph, Gundogan (Foden 69), Fernandinho, D
Silva, Sterling (Mahrez 73), Aguero (Jesus 79), Sane
Subs not used: Muric, Kompany, Stones, Zinchenko
REFEREE: Andre Marriner 7
Manchester City 3 Man United 1
Sunday 11th November 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
Manchester City did not make many mistakes last
season, but they did in this fixture, and this year
they want to be even better. So this afternoon,
coasting at home against Manchester United, they
threatened to take their take foot off the gas, but
then decided to speed off into the distance.
This 3-1 derby win felt
unusual, comprehensive but not quite complete. City
were the much better team, creating enough chances
to win by a distance, barely giving United a touch
of the ball in an uneven second half. And yet even
then this did not look like City at their absolute
best. It was not a perfect performance, because
Anthony Martial scored from the penalty spot after
another Ederson misjudgement. It was not a 90-minute
performance, because of how City dropped their
intensity after a thrilling first 15 minutes.
But then when City can win their biggest game this
comfortably, staying top of the table, and opening
up a 12-point lead over their biggest rivals, how
much does that matter?
It was impossible this afternoon to get away from
the spectre of the 3-2 game here seven months ago.
That should have been one of the greatest afternoons
in City’s history but turned into one of their
lowest points of the Guardiola era. That afternoon,
with the earliest title ever within reach, City
played one half of the game of their lives, surged
into a 2-0 lead and missed chances to go four or
five up. That afternoon the City fans started to ole
far too early, their over-confidence soaked through
to the players, and United surged back into the game
to trample their dreams into pieces.
All afternoon here, that mistake hung over
Manchester City. Would they be so complacent again?
Would they be so sloppy? There was little prospect,
given the difference in level between the two teams,
of United out-playing City here. But there is always
the possibility, in games like this, of City
managing to beat themselves.
And when City let a brilliant
start turn into something a bit softer and more
shapeless, it felt as if they were set to make the
same mistake. That intense pressure they had applied
to United was allowed to drop, as if for some reason
they had decided to take it easy and turn down the
heat. It threatened to be a return to the risky
complacency of last season. Rather than pressing
from the front they let United pass the ball. Rather
than winning second balls they started to let
United’s midfield three assert themselves. Rather
than tightening their hold on a game, they let it
start to drift away from them.
That meant that second half of the first half was
almost unrecognisable from its opening. It was a
slower game, more even, more open. It made you
wonder whether a sharper, more ruthless side than
United would have been able to take advantage. It
was as if their counter-attacking was never incisive
enough to cut through Fernandinho, scurrying in
front of City’s defence, mercilessly shutting down
So even though City got to half time at 1-0, it
never quite felt like City at their best. It felt
like a City team keeping something in reserve, or
perhaps not quite being forced to deliver their
finest football. And even though Sergio Aguero
scored their second soon after the restart, even
that felt at odds with the run of the game. One
quick sequence of United mistakes and City
successes, run together to produce a goal out of
nowhere. The Ederson mistake and Anthony Martial
penalty was even more surprising and even more out
Everyone knew that this was the crucial spell in the
game. Remember that last year Paul Pogba’s opener,
pulling it back to 2-1, was followed by two more
goals in the next 16 minutes. Once hit on their
glass jaw, City lost their bearings and were hit
twice more. The challenge for City then was to keep
their heads this time. Not to let one goal become
And this was the point when City did start to play
something closer to their best. The final 30
minutes, after Martial’s goal, were the most
one-sided spell of the game. United never once
looked like equalising, and when Ilkay Gundogan came
into midfield, they could barely get a touch of the
ball. City grabbed back hold of possession and with
United opening up, they could cut them open on the
break. There were 44 passes in the move before
Gundogan swept in the crucial third.
That level of control and calm, not letting the
occasion get to them, not losing sight of their
plan, was exactly what City did not manage to do in
April. But on Sunday they considered making the same
mistake twice, and then quickly decided against it.
The players looked determined to make good on their
April errors, and they were true to their word.
In that sense it was like the 0-0 draw at Anfield,
another of the few places where City messed up last
year. This time they went in with a plan, weathered
the storm, frustrated Liverpool and with a cooler
penalty from Riyad Mahrez they would have won 1-0.
If City are going to bring this focus and
ruthlessness towards ironing out every other error
they made last season then they are not going to
have many other errors left to address. Even in
their pursuit of perfection, even after 100 points,
they look like a team still making small forward
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson,
Walker, Stones, Laporte, Mendy, Bernardo Silva,
Fernandinho, Silva (Foden 85), Mahrez (Sane
62), Aguero (Gundogan 75), Sterling
Subs: Kompany, Delph, Gabriel
Man Utd (4-3-3): De Gea, Young, Smalling, Lindelof,
Shaw, Ander Herrera (Mata 73), Matic, Fellain,
Lingard (Lukaku 57), Rashford (Sanchez 73), Martial
Subs: Jones, Fred, Romero, Darmian
Referee: Anthony Taylor (Cheshire)
Manchester City 6 Southampton 0
Sunday 4th November 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
After being matched stride-for-stride by pretenders
to their throne, Manchester City finally move clear.
The defending champions capitalised on Liverpool
dropping points at the Emirates with an emphatic 6-1
win over Southampton. A Raheem Sterling brace,
strikes from Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Leroy Sané
and an own goal by Wesley Hoedt put Pep Guardiola's
two points ahead of their nearest challengers.
City coasted to victory over Mark Hughes' sorry
visitors, just as they will coast to victories over
plenty of middling opponents here this season,
playing sublime football all the while.
Even without their outstanding player Kevin De
Bruyne, sidelined with yet another knee ligament
injury, City were simply a class above Southampton.
Sterling's display was of particular note. The
winger had hand in all but one of the six goals,
setting three up as well as scoring two.
It was the sheer ease of the victory that should
worry City's challengers. Three points against
members of the 'bottom 14' at the Etihad is almost
now a given. City's challengers thus cannot afford a
single slip up, while the champions themselves set a
pace that is near impossible to match.
Ever the perfectionist, Guardiola used his pre-match
programme notes to caution his players against
wastefulness in front of goal after several scoring
opportunities went begging in last Monday's win at
Tottenham Hotspur. "In big, important contests, if
we are not clinical then - sooner or later - we are
not going to win," he warned.
The message appeared to hit home. Guardiola could
have no complaints with his side's uncompromising
start, with City establishing a three-goal lead in
the opening 18 minutes, even if it was a Southampton
player that converted the first.
After James Ward-Prowse had tripped over his own
feet in midfield, Sané drilled a low cross which
Hoedt emphatically, if accidentally, put into the
roof of his own net. The game was only six minutes
old and another six minutes later, it was two.
Aguero doubled City's lead, dispatching at
point-blank range after Sterling's dance through the
Southampton defence and cut-back from the byline. It
was Aguero's 150th Premier League goal in his 217th
appearance, with only Alan Shearer reaching that
The third, struck by captain Silva on the
half-volley, suggested that Hughes was in for
another long afternoon at the Etihad. The former
City manager's last visit had ended in a 7-2 defeat
for his Stoke City.
Like on that day in October last year though,
Hughes' side would respond. When coming out to
challenge Danny Ings, Ederson failed to take the
ball, then failed to dive the right way when Ings
converted the penalty low to the goalkeeper's left.
It was Southampton's first Premier League goal in 49
days, coming against the top-flight's meanest
defence. It was also Southampton's only real moment
of first-half resistance. City were otherwise
dominant, sometimes laughably so.
At one point, Sané, Sterling, Aguero and Silva
worked the ball between themselves over and over
again inside the penalty area, callously turning and
nutmegging defenders, like a cat toying with a dying
The three-goal lead would eventually be
re-established on the cusp of half time. Aguero,
showing the endeavour and selflessness he has added
to his all-round game, brilliantly robbed Cedric
Soares at the byline and squared, setting up a
simple finish and deserved goal for the excellent
After such a dominant first-half display, City
showed signs of complacency when the two sides
re-emerged. Southampton tested Ederson, who denied
Ings after spilling a Ward-Prowse attempt. Ings then
saw a close-range header parried away on the
There would be no sustained fightback though. City
gradually reasserted themselves and, shortly after
Sané had cracked a shot against the woodwork,
Sterling found the fifth, firing past goalkeeper
Alex McCarthy at an angle after Aguero's through
The sixth came late and again Sterling had a hand in
it, teeing up Sané after a slick counter, with the
winger's strike arcing out of McCarthy's reach. The
rout was complete and a gap at the top of the table
It is just a two-point lead in early November but,
with City in this majestic form, some might already
call it unassailable.
MANCHESTER CITY: (4-3-3) Ederson, Walker, Stones
6 (Kompany 67), Laporte, Mendy, B Silva, Fernandinho
(Delph 78), D Silva (Foden 71); Sterling, Aguero,
Subs not used: Muric, Danilo, Mahrez, Jesus
Manchester City 2 Fulham 0 Diaz
Double Hides De Bruyne Pain
Thursday 1st November 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
Manchester City’s passage to the Carabao Cup
quarter-finals via an easy win over Fulham left Pep
Guardiola concerned regarding Kevin De Bruyne after
the midfielder limped off with an injury to his left
knee four minutes from time.
De Bruyne was making only his second start after a
three-month layoff because of ligament damage to his
right knee. He was forced off after Fulham’s Timothy
Fosu-Mensah fell on him.
While Brahim Díaz’s first two goals for City secured
a trip to Leicester or Southampton, Guardiola
admitted his concern over De Bruyne. “Hopefully it’s
not serious. He’s being checked. I don’t know right
now,” said the manager, who added: “I think Kevin is
back, no? It’s the Kevin we know. He made a huge
effort against Shakhtar Donetsk. He played a few
minutes in a difficult situation at Spurs [on
Monday]. Today he was involved in the offensive and
defensive side.” Guardiola retained only John
Stones from the 1-0 win at Tottenham and professed
himself pleased with City’s performance.
“Everybody was good. Brahim made two goals; Aro
Muric gave us good security; Phil Foden plays a good
level every time. We made an excellent performance
without the ball in terms of how aggressive we were.
Fulham have the quality to play even though they are
not in a good moment in terms of results.
Díaz could leave City next summer on a free
transfer. “We want him but it doesn’t depend on us,
it is the agent, him, family, they decide,”
Guardiola said. “My opinion is not changed because
of two goals. The opinion is so high. To compete
with Leroy Sané, Raheem Sterling, Bernardo Silva,
Sergio Agüero, Gabriel Jesus – it is not easy to
find space in the team. He knew that in the
beginning and we are delighted with him. He decides.
Slavisa Jokanovic made three changes – Tom Cairney,
Luciano Vietto and André-Frank Zambo Anguissa came
in – with the Fulham manager desperate for a win
after losing the past four games.
De Bruyne took only moments to show his class with a
shot and followed that with a cross-shot Sergio Rico
was grateful to gather.
Fulham were wide open and sloppiness appeared to be
City’s only enemy. It was too easy. Sané fed Foden
and his fierce shot was beaten away and De Bruyne’s
follow-up was deflected for a corner.
City’s lead arrived when the ball broke following a
corner. It bounced off Vincent Kompany’s left knee
and Díaz’s hunger allowed him to beat Fosu-Mensah to
the ball and hit home.
Next, Danilo skated along the right and was allowed
to career into a shooting position. Only Rico’s left
post kept out the right-back’s blazing shot.
City had Fulham were they love to have all
opponents: pinned in and around the area facing
constant waves of attack. At this juncture De
Bruyne, Danilo, Díaz, and Fabian Delph were a blur
of interchanging passing.
When Foden laid off a simple ball to Sané rather
than shoot it was a telling illustration of smart
decision-making by the 18-year-old midfielder.
City, though, did ease off. Passes went astray and
the pace sagged. This had Guardiola hanging his head
and, for all their dominance, City were only a goal
They did, though, commence the second half with
intent but Aleksandar Mitrovic gave City a scare
when he breached the penalty box – a near
collector’s item – before Foden broke down the left.
After swapping passes with Oleksandr Zinchenko he
put in Jesus but a player with only one goal in his
past 11 appearances showed why, proving unable to at
least pose Rico a question.
The match was played at an under-capacity Etihad
Stadium with a flat atmosphere. City had caught the
mood and a passage of prolonged Fulham pressure
showed they retained hope.
Díaz still sparkled. One moment he was back helping
to defend, the next performing a soft-shoe shuffle
to create space for a shot. It was the Spaniard who
doubled City’s lead. An injection of what had been
missing – speed – from Sané led to Foden touching on
to Jesus and, after his attempt came off Rico’s left
post, Díaz smashed home.
Sané was now back on song: driving at Fulham and
causing them headaches. Foden produced a dinked pass
that put in Sané and it began to feel a long way
back for Fulham.
With 13 minutes left Riyad Mahrez replaced Díaz. The
forward received an ovation plus a hug from
Guardiola, who brought on the 18-year-old French
midfielder Claudio Gomes for his debut
City: Muric, Zinchenko, Kompany, Stones, da Silva,
Foden, Delph, De Bruyne (Gomes 86), de Jesus, Sané,
Diaz (Mahrez 78)
Unused subs Sterling,
Agüero, Santana de Moraes, Walker, Veiga de Carvalho
Fulham: Rico, Fosu-Mensah, Sessegnon, Ream (Le
Marchand 69), Odoi, Cairney, Zambo, Anguissa, Ser,i
Mitrovic, Schürrle (Ayité 81), Vietto
Unused subs Agosto Ramírez,
De La Torre, Mawson, Christie, Sessegnon
Referee : Martin Atkinson
Attendance : 35,271
Pre Season Friendlies
Community Shield 2018
Brighton & Hove Albion
Carabao Cuop r4
FA Cup r3
Brighton & Hove Albion
** Providing neither
club is involved in an FA Cup replay
Vincent Kompany on
a mission in the Congo - If you ever wondered if the modern
footballer is all take and no give, just watch this series of
video's taken from the Man City Official website. I make no excuses
for listing them here as I for one wish to promote both Man City FC
and any worthwhile cause, and they don't come much better than
Vincent's efforts to give the kids of his father's homeland a chance
to change their lives. Click on the links to watch these four short
Latest DVD's Now
GORNIK ZABRZE v CITY
Cup Winners Cup Final
YORK COSMOS v MANCHESTER CITY
1980 (quality - well watchable).
Email me for details - A great chance to see our greatest
triumphs at home and abroad.
FOLLOWING ARE BACK UP DVD's with
covers and printed labels
Pay with PayPal - firstname.lastname@example.org
Only the result spoils this superb quality DVD.
Marvellous goal for Jackie Milburn is worth seeing
on it's own. £3.00
All the memories are there but the quality of this is
very poor. However it is very watchable and
gives you a chance to see the old heroes once
v Manchester City
1972 Lg Cup Final plus
1980 Wolves v Forest
Volumes 1 - 2 and 3 Buy all 3 for £6.00
last game at Maine Road Slide show CD.
This CD contains over 60 images in a slide show with a
great version of Blue Moon playing in the background. As
a bonus I have included another slideshow with more
pictures from the 2002-2003 season with a fabulous
backing track. Email me now to order a copy of this
great piece of memorabilia.
Buy it now for £1.50 including postage.
Manchester City The Album
fantastic compilation of songs and styles, normally
football albums are cringe worthy but this is superb,
and has a variety of styles to suit all age of fans. I
particularly like The Invisible Man, The Best Team in
the Land, and Jon Christos' City Till I die. A must for
all City fans and well done - by far the best of any
club album released to date.£3.00 only incl p&p
v Gornik Zabrze European Cup Winners Cup
finest hour - or hour and a half, whichever way you look
at it. Played in Vienna, Austria in the pouring rain
this match as far as I know was the only European Final
involving a British club not to be shown live on TV, at
least in England. I badly want a copy of the programme
so if anyone has one that they wish to unload on me
please get in touch. This is a very rare copy of the
Video filmed in black and white with a German
1969 FA CUP Final
DVD of City's FA Cup Final Win in 1969
action + the goals from the 1956 final
DVD charts the success of the season so far, following
the arrival of new owner Dr Thaksin Shinawatra and
Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson back in July. At that point,
they were coming to a club that only avoided relegation
by four points the previous season and had failed to
score a league goal at home since New Years Day. A few
months later, City were a club transformed, thanks in
the main to the spectacular impact of Eriksson and his
management style. New signings such as Brazilian star
Elano and Bulgarian flyer Martin Petrov have
complemented Academy Graduates like Micah Richards and
Michael Johnson. The Blues have made their best start to
a league campaign for years and put together an
incredible number of successive home wins that took them
to third in the Barclays Premier League. Much more on
here in the extras section - TOP DVD Quality
£3.50 including Post and Packaging
Manchester City Jubilee
Years - A great Man Evening News Slide Show of great
Various Football DVD's
LIFE WITH THE
BLUES - A look behind the scenes at
City in 1987. Maine Road memories. 100 Great
moments of the Kop -
Liverpool's famous kop memories
FC Bayern v
Leeds United - The European
Cup Final 1975 played at the Parc des Princes - Paris.
Leeds were incredibly unlucky to lose this final. Here's
a chance to watch a rare copy of this classic match,
with French commentary and a pretty good quality
Germany 1966 World Cup Final Black &
Manchester Uni£ed v Manchester City Munich
Tribute Feb 10th 2008
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