In what was among the most clinical and confident performances seen on the football field in a long time, Manchester City made a quick meal of Shakhtar Donetsk, drubbing the home side on their way to a 3-0 win. City have now won back to back matches in Europe, leaving their shocking loss to Lyon well behind, and securing the top spot on the group F points table. Considering that City had to wait until the very last minute to edge out a confident and stubborn Hoffenheim side, this victory is bound to put their Champions League dream run into overdrive.
Key Moments from The Match
There was scarcely anything from Shakhtar Donetsk that would have worried a thoroughly clinical Manchester City side for the entire duration of the contest. The three goals:
30th minute: Shakhtar’s defence leaves a lot to be desired as Kevin De Bruyne, making his first start of the season, sees a deflection duly deposited in the goal by David Silva, stabilizing any nerves the side might have had.
35th minute: It’s dangerous leaving a player Laporte unmarked from a corner and a flustered Shakhtar Donetsk made that mistake, making it easy for Laporte to head the ball in the bet from 10 yards out.
70th minute: A scintillating sprint from Gabriel Jesus confuses the defence, and just on the pitch, Bernardo Silva charges through the midfield and plants the ball in the bottom left corner, via a stunning low drive from 20 yards. That it’s only been minutes since he rose from the bench makes the goal extra special.
Manchester City – The Bookmakers Favorite
When Shakhtar manager Paul Fonesca announced that two key players were to miss the clash against Manchester City on Tuesday (23 October, 2018), the odds would have risen in favor of Manchester City, even though it would have started favorites had Shakhtar sported a full-strength side. The sentiment was obvious from the pre-match analyses coverage of major broadcasters, as well as the queuing of online sports betters to bet heavily on a comfortable City win. Manchester City is already the bookie’s favorite for the Champions League title. Our suggestion – go with City, it’s a no-brainer, as easy as no deposit free spins.
The Game That Got Pep Guardiola Talking?
Maybe it’s time for Pep Guardiola to stop dousing expectations, and start boasting about his side’s almost unparalleled run in the season. Guardiola rarely lets conversations steer past his stolid and rather conventional quips about City lacking Champions League pedigree, the strengths of the opposition, the need for a bit of a luck, and dozens of unknown variables coming together well to create environment conducive for a City win.
Thankfully, the ruthlessness his side showed against Shakhtar Donetsk got Guardiola speaking a lot more freely, as he acknowledged that City played their best game of the last three seasons. “We can control our destiny now,” says Guardiola, though not without a passing mention of the pressure his side faced against Lyon in the first group game.
Rival manager Paulo Fonesca was also appreciative of the immaculate display of football by City, and said that his team was outplayed, and it’s just not enough to merely try to control the ball against a team as special as Man City. It will be even tougher for his side to compete against the team when they meet again later at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester.
Manchester Stands United for City!
The mood in the Manchester City camp is in utter contrast to that in their neighbour, Manchester United’s camp. Whereas City sits at the top of the Premier League table, United are down in the doldrums, occupying a measly 10th position in the table. They had an outclassing of their own to deal with, the one they received at the hands of a ruthless Juventus team at Old Trafford, the same night as City’s heroics. A testimony to the awesomeness of City’s play this season is the fact that they’re attracting admiration from all quarters. United’s manager Jose Mourinho was quick to admit that his side is a level below their ‘noisy neighbors’ from across the city, in a serious nod to the immense craft and class displayed by Manchester City.
Could It Be Any Better?
Trust the grounded Guardiola to always see scope for improvement. In his post-match press conference, City’s manager remarked that the team could have converted more chances into goals. As the pressure rises in the later stages, it’s important to convert the tiniest of opportunities into goals; that’s what sails teams through against tough opponents. The expectations are getting loftier with every game; will Manchester City live its dream and go on to become the champion? We shall all find out.