Man City will face Borussia Monchengladbach tonight in a rescheduled Champions League clash after last night’s game at the Etihad was cancelled due to poor weather.
City are in a virtual group of death along with Barca, Celtic and Gladbach and the Catalans, previously coached by current City gaffer Pep Guardiola, thrashed Celtic 7-0 last night to send a stern message to the rest of the competition.
City are the ONLY Premiership team with a 100% league record so far, and Guardiola got one over old foe Jose Mourinho when he beat bitter rivals Man United in the derby over the the weekend
Being favourites to win the Premier League counts for nothing in the modern game, as Leicester emphatically proved last season, but City have made a fantastic start to the 2016/2017 campaign under Guardiola. Any suggestion that the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager would struggle to adapt to life in English football may have been well and truly quashed early doors, with the club playing a level of football that has made everyone sit up and take notice. The early pacesetters have been a joy to watch, with an air of dominance in their possession play and superb attacking movement in the final third making them so pleasing on the eye. Guardiola may still have work to do in the defensive department with his team failing to keep a clean sheet in their opening four fixtures, but if they continue to blow teams away in the manner that they have so far, then many bookmakers will be vindicated in their decision to consider Guardiola’s side title favourites ahead of their city rivals Manchester United and Antonio Conte’s Chelsea.
City 2-1 United Goals
Some would argue that Jose Mourinho got his team selection and tactics wrong in the Manchester derby as he suffered defeat at the hands of Guardiola once again, but the manner in which City outclassed United in the first half was unquestionably a statement to the rest of the Premier League. Despite Claudio Bravo’s error which led to a wonderful second half in which both teams had a real go at one another, Manchester City were superb in the opening forty-five minutes; John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi looked extremely solid at the back, while David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne were at their mercurial best as City looked dangerous every time they went forward, taking advantage of some poor passing from Manchester United who were thoroughly outplayed and outclassed. Bravo may have received praise from his manager for his performance, but the game could have been much more comfortable if it were not for a number of erratic moments that almost cost his team, with his tackle on Wayne Rooney in the area sparking debate over whether it should have been a penalty and red card.
Bravo tackle on Rooney Video
It proved immaterial in the end as City maintained their 100% record, with a number of players coming to the fore under Guardiola. New signing Nolito already looks to have settled into life in English football, while Raheem Sterling looks a completely different player; the 21-year-old has played well within his capabilities since arriving at the Etihad Stadium, but the winger looks revitalised and mentally stronger since Guardiola took charge. De Bruyne has also earned praise for a string of superb performances, with the highly-talented midfielder appearing destined to be a Premier League star this season. The Belgian star could have easily scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford but was twice denied by the woodwork, and the odds on him scoring at Betway in their upcoming fixture against Bournemouth look good value at 11/10 (9/2 to open the scoring). The sky is certainly the limit for a player who could be integral to Guardiola’s plans this seasons, and with Sergio Aguero set to return from suspension when City face Swansea at the Liberty Stadium, Manchester City could prove unstoppable.
City have certainly made a blistering start to the season, but with thirty-four Premier League games remaining, there is still a long way to go before the title returns to the Etihad Stadium. It should be remembered that the Citizens made a similar start to the 2015/2016 campaign under Manuel Pellegrini, with his team winning their first five games without conceding a goal; some believed that the title race was over before it had even begun, but injuries to key players, along with a distinct lack of consistency and composure, ultimately derailed their season as they not only finished fifteen points behind eventual champions Leicester, but also clung onto fourth point on goal difference ahead of Manchester United.
Guardiola appears to have got his team firing on all cylinders early doors, but with the manager stating that Manchester City must improve if they want to achieve success, it is a daunting prospect to the rest of the Premier League and Europe to think that they may have another gear or two to utilise.
City v Borussia M’Gladbach
Etihad Stadium, Manchester (14 September, 2016, 19.45 local KO) Referee Bjorn Kuipers