Before the international break, Manchester City had beaten Barcelona 3-1 at the Etihad Stadium, creating a memorable night in the club’s history. Then the following Saturday, City faced Middlesbrough in what many fans thought would be an easy challenge. Unfortunately, this ended in a 1-1 draw after a late equaliser from Marten de Roon dampened spirits at the end of what had been a fantastic week.
As usual, some sections of the media were quick to criticise Pep Guardiola’s men, labelling their situation a crisis and City were suddenly the subject of terrible banter from rival supporters.
Man City can't keep clean sheets & have a weak bench. Truly speaking they are a few injuries away from crisis. STILL MAN CITY ARE FAVS. How?
— Abhinav Katkam (@LFC_Joker) November 7, 2016
Man City have won 2 of their last 9 games
Man Utd have won 3 of their last 8 games
But only one club is considered 'in crisis'#FanVoice
— Jamie Spencer (@jamiespencer155) November 7, 2016
— A.I.M Fitness (@AIMFittness) November 5, 2016
When that late goal of Middlesbrough’s went in, there was a split inside the stadium in how fans reacted – some were annoyed whilst many, including myself, laughed it off as a classic example of ‘Typical City’.
This so-called crisis has been talked about since City drew 3-3 with Celtic back in September and when looking at the results since then, it’s not good reading for City fans.
The Blues have only won twice in eight matches, which includes the victory over Barcelona.
When Guardiola arrived at City back in July, I was expecting it to take at least a year before we saw City in full Guardiola mode. However, since the opening day victory against Sunderland, it was clear that Guardiola’s philosophy was already taking shape.
With their quick passing, constant pressure and general new lease of life, City are already looking like a team which in a few years could dominate European football. There are a few problems such as tiredness and defensive errors but they can be minimised in due course.
Even though there is a feeling of patience around club, football fans and the media are losing their minds which has resulted many City fans including myself getting annoyed.
Guardiola is a legend in world football already and when it was announced he would be coming to City, the Premier League and English football fans went into overdrive with excitement at the prospect of some Barcelona stars arriving at the Etihad.
In the end, there was no sign of any Barcelona giants, but the team seems to be getting on fine without them, despite the mixed results over the past few weeks.
The mixed results are also down to the intense nature of the Premier League, playing matches almost twice a week along with being in the Champions League, and the team cannot be expected to blow everyone away with scorelines like 4-0 each week.
City have also had their share of injuries so far with the likes of Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne not being short of a knock and when they’re not on the pitch, it is obvious that Guardiola’s side lack their creative flair.
The better teams in the league (sorry West Brom) have found solutions to combat Guardiola’s style of play. Take City’s 2-0 loss to Tottenham for example. The main way Spurs frustrated City was by applying constant pressure whenever the Blues were in possession. Against teams with better players who will in turn have better fitness levels, City will struggle to pass the ball freely and will have to wait for the right time to pick off their opponents.
Suggesting City are in a crisis is harsh from the media and football fans because they are still in a transitional period. Guardiola’s style will take time to come into full effect so City fans, do not get frustrated, the team will be miles better a few weeks and months down the line.
Keep the faith.
Written by Matt Astbury
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