Much has been made of Erling Haaland in recent months, but Manchester City were already an offensive machine before his arrival. He set up three goals for the opposition in the opening half-hour, then just kept playing. But now Pep Guardiola’s charges look demotivated.
Back in November, the first signs of Manchester City’s exhaustion began to appear. A 4-4 draw at Chelsea, with the Citizens leading three times. Subsequently, after the national break, Liverpool also drew 1:1 at the Etihad Stadium, RB Leipzig nearly scored there in the Champions League and the highlight was a 3:3 draw with Spurs.
Manchester City tighten up unnecessarily
Some may argue that Spurs were leading the Premier League just a month ago. But they took the field against Manchester City without a single real stopper. And it showed. To make such misses last season, the Citizens would have won the game 8-3.
This year, however, the Manchester team will uncharacteristically settle for a one-goal lead. And it’s no mere platitude. Whenever Tottenham scored, the Citizens were able to immediately pounce and score as well. But why didn’t they continue at a similar pace at 2-1 or 3-2, when they could have definitively broken their opponents’ hopes?
It is important to remember that satisfaction is not a matter of one match. The week-old game against Liverpool was identical. The Reds equalised late on and Manchester City could not find an answer. Yet at the time of Trent Alexander Arnold’s goal, it could have been 3-0.
The most shocking thing about the whole situation is that it is happening under the pedant Pep Guardiola. He has never let his players fall into just playing out the game. Now it has happened to him in the last three rounds in a row.
Unparalleled quality can afford losses
Three losses in a row, three points minus against first-placed Arsenal, yet the Citizens remain sovereignly the biggest contender for the title. Nobody has such a cadre quality, plus the team will be even stronger after Kevin de Bruyne’s recovery.
Guardiola’s strength also lies in his ability to manage the end of the season victoriously. Since his arrival in England, Manchester City have been unstoppable in the April and May rounds. On the other hand, if it doesn’t work now, there may be no one left to chase in the spring. Jürgen Klopp can be a great rival and Arsenal have been hungry for the title for 20 years.
Source: Premier League
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