Manchester City stumbled to a 1-1 draw at home to Everton after completely dominating the match. Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero missed a penalty each as City dropped points for the second successive league game.
Pep Guardiola has to arrest this slump in form
It might sound crazy to say about a team that has started so well but Manchester City haven’t been convincing in quite some time. The draw today proceeds the loss to Spurs, the draw with Celtic and two victories over Swansea where we didn’t look completely in control. Now before anyone starts seething foam from their mouths, this isn’t a criticism or some sort of a crisis call of any kind. However, I do think Pep should start to worry that it could be four games without a win when we play Barcelona on Wednesday.
We had the best ever start to a Premier League season and we’ll still be level on points, at the top of the table no matter what happens this weekend. We’ve looked the best team in the division so far and no-one can take that from us. But this past month has been shabby to say the least and if Pep wants to meet the extremely high expectations we have of him then he’ll need to buckle up some good results and that starts against Barcelona on Wednesday night.
Sergio Aguero needs to chill
It can be hard being Sergio Aguero sometimes. When half of your nation blames you for your poor qualifying campaign and the media at home think you’re only getting called up to the national team because you’re best buddies with Messi, it can get to you. And then your manager benches you for playing with an injury and you suddenly forget how to take penalties, it can all feel like a little too much.
Sergio Aguero is going through some of the most turbulent times in his career, particularly with Argentina and it doesn’t look like he’s coping well with it. The goals still stream, like they always will but Kun looks a lot less happy these days and that killer mentality has evaded him in recent weeks. His penalty miss today was his fourth miss of the season, fifth of the calendar year and his second is three days. As I said in my Player Ratings, perhaps a little time off penalty duty and that added pressure off his back will do him the world of good.
Pep’s formation worked – to an extent
There was a lot of chat about what formation Pep was going to use when the teams were announced. City’s official twitter account had a whacky looking back three in their graphic while others thought Fernandinho would simply come in at right-back. In the end, Pep’s nutty formation came to life and manifested itself in the shape of a 3-2-2-3 formation with Fernandinho and Gundogan sitting deepest, De Bruyne and Silva ahead and a trident of Sterling, Sane and Kelechi spearheading the attack. It was fascinating viewing with Pep completely abandoning any sort of wide-defenders against a team stacked with quick, tricky wingers in Deulofeu and Bolasie.
For the most part it worked brilliantly as City produced the most one-sided first half you’ll ever see. It’s just that, there was absolutely nothing to show for it. While Pep won the midfield battle hands down and bossed proceedings of the ball, there was no incisive play in the final third. Pep often tells his players that he will get them to the final third but from there he cannot help them.
Even though Everton keeper Martin Steklenburg played an absolute blinder, it’s hard to see Pep not placing some blame on his attackers. Aguero and De Bruyne missed a penalty each, Kelechi failed to offer a presence in the box while Sane and Sterling failed to capitalise out-wide. Pep would have believed he did more than enough to help his team beat an Everton side that were riding their luck playing for a smash and grab point.