Author is a sports lover and is currently playing football for his club team as a goalkeeper.
18 victories and counting.... This has been Manchester City since the draw against West Bromwich Albion on the 16th of December. In this incredible run, they have defeated Arsenal twice, Chelsea, Jose Mourinho 's Tottenham, rivals Man United and the current PL champions Liverpool at their home where they didn't won since 2003. An extraordinary thing in all this is there was only one incidence when they were trailing on goals and it was against Cheltenham in an FA cup tie. What is the main reason behind this?? Is it City being on their best run since 2017 or the other teams being just not good enough to challenge their well compiled squad... Let's have a brief view :-
The defense -
Arguably , the best defending team in Europe right now. A very impressive stat which shows their defensive prowess is that they have gone away to Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Man United, Arsenal and have restricted attackers like Salah, Firmino, Mane, Werner, Kane, Son, Rashford, Greenwood, Aubameyang, Lacazette to just 4 shots on target in those games combined.
Ruben Dias , the 23 year old new signing from Portugal has truly taken over the leadership role in the backline once held by the club legend Vincent Kompany. Safe to say he has proven to be the best singing of the last summer window. A big revelation has been the senior English center-back John Stones . Having formed an incredible backline duo with Dias, Stones has been rock solid in the back and a perfect partner to the Portuguese. The pair has been so good together that Aymeric Laporte who is still considered one of the best defenders in the league has to sit on the bench and be the 3rd one in pecking order for the center-back slot. Dias, Stones and the keeper Ederson have kept 12 clean sheets in the 13 games they have played together with the one goal coming from Mo Salah 's penalty.
The right back Joao Cancelo has been vigorous in the defensive duties and also while going forward. Osklandr Zhincheko 's revival has also one of the big talking points as he has done everything right to be given a permanent slot in the starting XI going ahead.
Emergence of iIkay Gundogan -
Sergio Aguero hasn't got going at all this season, Kevin de Bruyne just came back from an injury , Gabriel Jesus & Riyad Mahrez have blown hot and cold .. Still the team has not felt a lack of goals coming mainly since mid December. The biggest reason for that is the German central-midfielder iikay Gundogan, who has been practically playing a no. 9 's role recently and is the top scorer of his team with 11 goals , many of them coming in important games like the brace against Liverpool and another one against Spurs. His numbers and performance put him right up there alongside teammate Kevin de Bruyne and Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes as the best midfielder of the season. As of now it looks like a 2 way race between him and Ruben Dias to win the Premier League Player of the year trophy when it all concludes.
Pep marshalling his troops -
It was mid December only when people ruled out Manchester City from winning the league. This was taken as a challenge by Pep and you know by now how he has responded to it . Safe to say this all overhaul and 18 straight wins would've never happened without the man incharge marshalling his squad perfectly. Yes he has a very good bench strength but keeping all of them fresh and giving them proper game time without tinkering with the balance of the team on pitch is an essential quality of Pep which isn't talked about much. Guardiola 's decision to play without a striker and use de Bruyne, Gundogan and Bernardo Silva as a false 9 has proven to be a masterstroke and they have looked the most dangerous attacking wise ever since this little tweak was made. Rodri has been impactful as a defensive midfielder in the absence of the experienced Fernandinho. The only thing he needs to worry about is who to put on penalty duties. De Bruyne, Gundogan, Sterling have all missed from the spot at least once this season and there was a talk of goalkeeper Ederson coming forward to take this duty. Rodri was the last one to score from the spot but even his penalty was almost saved by the goalkeeper. This has not proven to be costly for them yet but with UCL knockouts coming this week, a single error from the spot can ultimately cost them in a huge manner.
Manchester City are about to play their Round of 16 UCL match against Borussia Monchengladbach on Wednesday where they will look to extend their winning streak to 19. With most pundits putting Pep Guardiola 's side as favorites to win the prestigious European trophy for the first time in their history, the pressure will be on them to overcome it and deliver the goods. Given the current form along with returns of De Bruyne and Aguero , Man city truly will be the team to beat in the competition and who knows where will this incredible winning streak be put to an end.....
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2021 Sid S