Cardiff City 0 Manchester City 5
Holiday time in Wales
Saturday 22nd September 2018 :
Bryn Lister for GYKO at
Riyad Mahrez scored twice – his
first goals for his new club – and Sergio Aguero
celebrated his 300th appearance with another goal as
Manchester City ran riot at Cardiff.
Any thoughts the rest of the Premier League may have
optimistically harboured that their midweek blip may
usher in a crisis were ruthlessly eradicated in the
champions’ most dominant display so far this season.
City were 3-0 up at half-time through Aguero,
Bernardo Silva and Ilkay Gundogan before Mahrez’s
second-half goals reflected the gulf in class
between clubs at either end of the table.
For Cardiff, still looking for their first victory
of the season, this was a worrying capitulation as
their fell to their heaviest home defeat since Neil
Warnock took charge.
It could easily have been double figures for Pep
Guardiola's men. Jolted by their midweek Champions
League defeat to Lyon, City made three changes with
John Stones, David Silva and Gabriel Jesus making
way Nicolas Otamedi, Leroy Sane and Sergio Aguero.
Sane had been the victim of a crude tackle by
Cardiff’s Joe Bennett when the clubs met in the FA
Cup last January, but there was no immediate
re-match with manager Neil Warnock opting to leave
his full-back on the bench. Warnock brought in Greg
Cunningham and also started with Lee Peltier instead
of Sol Bamba in a re-shaped back four.
City’s possession forced Cardiff into an early
retreating stance, but the first opportunity for the
visitors did not arrive until the 11th minute when
Aguero was given time to measure a cross but Ilkay
Gundogan failed to steer the ball the right side of
Sane’s pace troubled Cardiff, just as it had done
eight months before, and when the German outpaced
the home defence, Peltier’s panic was evident in a
sliced clearance that could have gone anywhere but
was deflected over the bar.
When Cardiff skipper Sean Morrison misplaced a
header, Gundogan should have done better than
side-foot the ball over from 12-yards, but it
appeared Cardiff were using up too many lives.
They duly fell behind after 32 minutes when Gundogan
and Bernardo Silva easily opened up the Cardiff left
flank and from Silva’s low cross, Aguero clipped his
shot first time beyond Neil Etheridge.
Cardiff had offered only fleeting threat at the
other end, chiefly through the energy of Bobby Reid,
but within two minutes City had scored a second
goal. Again, the move began on the right but when
Sane hit a dipping cross it still required an
exquisite flick of the head from Silva, with his
back to goal, to send the ball looping into the far
corner with Etheridge stranded.
City were now playing with supreme confidence and it
showed when they made it 3-0 just before half time.
Gundogan played a neat pass into Raheem Sterling,
took the return, and then curled a superb shot with
minimum effort into the top right-hand corner.
Neil Warnock looked as if he wanted more impact from
his players and he got it, of sorts, when Joe Ralls
scythed down Gundogan to earn a yellow card that
replays suggested should really have been red.
Cardiff’s troubles only deepened when Peltier fell
awkwardly in a challenge with Sane and injured his
shoulder. The full-back received lengthy treatment
before being carried off on a stretcher and replaced
by Jazz Richards.
City were now so dominant it was case of how they
wanted to add a fourth goal, rather than just when.
They opted for something notable, a first for their
summer signing Riyad Mahrez in the 67th minute, six
minutes after he had come in to replace Aguero.
Sterling began the move down the left, the
influential Gundogan got beyond the home defence and
his low cross was swept in at the back by a joyful
The Algerian then pounced on a mistake by Bruno
Manga two minutes from time to step around challenge
and fire a low shot past a dispirited Etheridge.
It was a case of rubbing salt into Welsh wounds, but
the perfect reposte by Guardiola’s side after a
Manchester City 1 FC Lyon 2
French Kiss Goodbye
Wednesday 19th September 2018
: GYKO at the Etihad
So, at the stadium where a home win has become more
of a formality than almost anywhere in Europe, and
in the competition where the group stage is a mere
procession for the super-clubs, we see a shock. And
an alarming jolt for Manchester City. They open
their Champions League campaign with a 2-1 defeat to
That still might not prove too worrying for their
chances of progression or even topping the group,
but what was worrying was how they seemed to lose
their edge as much as losing the game. This was a
bad, subdued display.
With Pep Guardiola suspended and in the stands after
his frustrated dismissal in last season’s
elimination to Liverpool, City just had none of the
energy he radiates. They were mostly flat, largely
unable to match the life of the excellent Nabil
While that might just be coincidental and
unfortunate for stand-in manager Mikel Arteta, this
was a match where other absences might have mattered
for the first time this season. City badly lacked
Kevin De Bruyne’s poise, and maybe even lacked a
stand-in for Fernandinho, who had what was probably
his worst game since Guardiola came to the club.
It all meant there was nothing fortunate about
Lyon’s win. They seized the opportunity, seized
control of the group, and fully deserved it.
The even deeper worry for City was how lethargic
they were from the start, how they’d allowed an
apparent complacency to sink into their game so
The warning signs were there long before Maxwell
Cornet’s opening goal.
Most worryingly, it was as if City were so sure of
their quality that they stopped displaying any
intensity and were instead just waiting for
something magic to happen.
Is this Guardiola's real value? Is his intensity in
the dressing room needed for City to maintain it on
the pitch? Only Sterling was striking out from this
in any way, and he was constantly their biggest
threat, but not really striking from the best
positions. He was only ever fashioning half-chances.
Some of that was admittedly down to how sturdy Lyon
were at the back at the first half, led by a former
City player. Having spent five years at the club,
Jason Denayer was remarkably making his first
appearance at the Etihad. He was also making life
very difficult for his former employers - especially
It wasn’t just that City were attacking so poorly,
though. It was also how lax they were all over the
pitch, while playing dangerously high.
Lyon had spotted this with one launch that almost
released Cornet, but it did not lead to City
spotting the problem.
All of this came together for the opening goal.
Fernandinho first played a bad pass, that eventually
saw Fekir race onto it. He completely outstripped
Kyle Walker and while the playmaker’s cross was
good, it should have been easily dealt with by
Fabian Delph. The full-back instead only struggled
with it, allowing an oncoming Cornet to power the
ball into the corner. The finish - and Lyon’s
attacking - had all the conviction that City didn’t.
It seemed like one of those situations when the
opposition sensed vulnerability and vigorously went
So it was when Fernandinho played another bad pass,
and Fekir offered another sublime finish.
They full-blooded way he just roared through the
City half was what we would have expected from the
home side’s many attackers, but this was all just so
Then there was the actual passing. It must be a long
time since a Guardiola side missed so many square
balls, with Fernandinho the main culprit.
The Brazilian’s performance was so
uncharacteristically bad that it was one of those
nights where it was impossible not to wonder whether
they will regret not getting that extra midfielder
in the summer, even if they didn’t get who they
really wanted in Jorginho.
City did step it up a bit at the start of the second
half, but there was still the space for Lyon to
exploit, and that saw substitute - and former
Manchester United player - Memphis Depay hit the
With Lyon edging closer to this big opening
surprise, it was far from a surprise that Arteta
introduced the nose for goal of Sergio Aguero and
pure pace of Leroy Sane.
It had an immediate effect. Sane used that pace to
get in down the left and cut back for Bernardo
Silva, as he slotted in one of those typical
Except, the typical siege didn’t follow. City still
couldn’t generate that intensity. Lyon still stood
strong. The most dramatic moment of the game’s
climax was probably when Ederson almost got caught,
but got out of it with a Cruyff turn of his own.
City couldn’t pull it off at the other end. The best
they had was an Aguero effort saved.
This was a long, long way from City’s best - and any
claim to be the best in Europe.
Manchester City 3 Fulham 0
In a Canter
Saturday 15th September 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
has taken a little time but Pep Guardiola's
marvellous Manchester City machine moved up a gear
as they engineered a victory of such dominance that
even the opposition manager was left bewildered and
Leroy Sane marked his return to the side with the
opener before David Silva and Raheem Sterling
confirmed a resounding victory.
After one of their 28 shots on goal, Fulham manager
Slavisa Jokanovic turned to his bench and shrugged
It was as if to say, how do you stop the seemingly
Using the match programme to deliver a message to
the supporters, City owner Sheikh Mansour had said
the Premier League champions were 'halfway up our
Everest' with a desire for greater success.
Here, it was Fulham who had the greater mountain to
climb when they fell behind with just 98 seconds on
There seemed little indication of a threat when
keeper Marcus Bettinelli played a clearance out to
Jean Michel Serri on the right. The midfielder was
slack and slow with an intended pass to Denis Odoi
and suffered as Fernandinho nipped in, drove forward
and crossed low for the unmarked Sane to tap into
the empty net.
It was the German's first start of a season riddled
by uncertainty following his heroics and PFA Young
Player of the Year award in the previous campaign -
and subsequent omission from his country's World Cup
With questions raised about his attitude, coinciding
with the recent birth of his daughter, Sane had much
to do to justify Guardiola's faith.
This was a big step towards that and the way he
effortlessly rolled in the opener was daddy cool.
Heartened by that stunning start, City turned on the
style with no one more influential than Bernardo
Silva, a princely presence in the heart of midfield.
Cunning and clever, he provided the class that
should have produced another goal for Sterling in
the 15th minute.
Collecting a ball on his chest, a series of impudent
touches and flicks followed before he released his
team-mate with a delicious left-foot pass.
Sterling raced clear, but again showed evidence of
hesitancy as he allowed Bettinelli to advance and
tried to drive a finish through the visiting keeper.
A strong touch from Bettinelli was enough to divert
the ball onto the bar.
Six minutes later, though, City did get a second to
confirm their superiority.
Bernardo, again, was involved, taking a Sterling
pass, turning Alfie Mawson and teeing up Sergio
Aguero for a shot blocked by Odoi. The other Silva,
David, pounced, taking the ball on his chest before
slamming into the net for a goal to mark his 350th
appearance for the club.
Fulham, without a clean sheet in their previous 20
top-flight games, were defensively vulnerable and
restricted to long-range shots in attack.
Three came from Andre Schurrle, the first on target
in the 30th minute before Ederson's vital touch
denied the German's curling effort.
That scare seemed to awaken City from the slumber
induced by their period of control.
Sane teased Cyrus Christie on the left before firing
against the legs of Bettinelli while Sterling
produced similar good work on the opposite side only
to see his shot pushed away.
The break afforded the Cottagers a respite that
lasted little more than a minute when Aguero found
space on the right and crossed for Sterling,
unmarked and unchallenged, to tap in a third goal in
four league games.
Having lost 5-0 on their last appearance at the
Etihad in 2014, Fulham dug deep to avoid similar
Bernardo should have sealed a performance full of
poise with a goal, but slashed horribly wide when
set up by Gabriel Jesus.
Manchester City: Ederson, Walker,
Otamendi, Laporte, Delph (Gundogan 67),
Bernardo Silva , Fernandinho, Silva, Sterling
(Mahrez 74), Aguero (Gabriel Jesus 54), Sane 7.
Subs not used: Stones, Zinchenko, Foden, Muric.
Fulham: Bettinelli, Christie, Odoi, Mawson,
Ryan Sessegnon, Seri (Zambo Anguissa 56), McDonald,
Johansen, Schurrle, Mitrovi, Vietto (Ayite 69).
Subs not used: Chambers, Le Marchand, Fosu-Mensah,
Referee: Stuart Attwell
Manchester City 2 Newcastle Utd 1
Saturday 1st September 2018 :
GYKO at the Etihad
DeAndre Yedlin found an unlikely leveller for
Newcastle United on the half-hour mark, it briefly
seemed as if Manchester City might drop two points
for the second consecutive weekend and cause the
pundits up and down the country to reconsider their
pre-season predictions of another Pep Guardiola
procession towards the Premier League title.
Indeed, like after last Saturday's draw at
Wolverhampton Wanderers, there were enough miscues
to suggest that, despite their undeniable
excellence, City may not have it all their own way.
Yet a sublime, clean-cut Kyle Walker strike from
range at the start of the second half restored the
one-goal advantage established by Raheem Sterling's
brilliant, curled opener and marked the 10th
anniversary of Sheikh Mansour's takeover with a win.
City were not at their dazzling best but were still
dominant, as they invariably are against the
top-flight's lesser sides, and that dominance often
proves more than enough to see them over the line.
The reigning, record-breaking champions will not be
worried that they enter the first international
break two points off the early pace-setters, though
after Yedlin's first-half scare, will also be
relieved they are no further behind.
One pre-match point of intrigue was Leroy Sané's
omission from the matchday squad, apparently due to
reservations about his attitude in training. Last
year’s PFA Young Player of the Year is yet to start
a game for City this season, having been left out of
Germany’s World Cup squad amid similar concerns
about his level of application.
Newcastle, meanwhile, were expected to employ the
same ultra-conservative approach that was labelled
"embarrassing" after the late defeat to Chelsea last
week. Benitez adopted the same tactics against City
last season, going down at both St James' Park and
the Etihad. The pre-match price of 25/1 for an away
victory said everything about their chances of
success this time around.
If Benitez's plan was to work, mistakes had to be
kept to a minimum. Jamaal Lascelles could not, for
example, afford to misplace a sloppy pass deep in
his own half after just seven minutes. Benjamin
Mendy pounced on the Newcastle captain's error and
released Sterling who, on his 100th Premier League
appearance for City, cut inside from the left and
bent the ball around visiting goalkeeper Martin
It was still early, of course, but given Newcastle's
conservatism and City's sheer dominance, the result
already seemed settled. This is not the 'Typical
City' bought by the Abu Dhabi United Group a decade
ago and leads are rarely relinquished at the Etihad
nowadays. Still, the club's tendency for the
tragicomic rears its head every so often and so it
did on the half-hour mark.
On a rare counter-attack, Newcastle managed to pick
their way through a City defence that was either too
slow or too disinterested to fall back into a
coherent shape. Kenedy's delicate touch allowed him
to lay the ball off to Salomon Rondon out on the
left and the Venezuelan, on loan from second-tier
West Bromwich Albion, slid an inch-perfect square
pass to the far post. Yedlin, having evaded Gabriel
Jesus' leisurely attempt at marking, applied the
Guardiola's side may have enjoyed three-quarters of
the ball but as it stood, the spoils would be shared
evenly. It was a reminder that, for all the debate
about Benitez's backs-to-the-wall approach,
Newcastle boasted a better record against 'top six'
sides last season than any team that finished below
them. The visitors' low block repelled and
restricted City for the remainder of the half and
their supporters spent the interval daydreaming of
an unlikely point.
Seven minutes into the second half, however, the
first goal of Walker's City career sent a
sledgehammer to that building sense of hope. The
emphatic drive into the bottom left-hand corner
could hardly have been hit sweeter, flying low and
true from around 25 yards out, through Benitez's
mass of black-and-white bodies. Sergio Aguero,
scorer of 14 goals in 11 league games against
Newcastle, was the provider for once.
City could and would have extended their lead
shortly after the hour mark if not for the
athleticism and fast reactions that have made
Dubravka so popular on Tyneside. The Slovak, signed
permanently this summer after impressing on loan
from Sparta Prague last season, first denied
Fernandinho then twice prevented David Silva from
adding City's third with a remarkable triple-save.
Silva went close at the far post a few minutes
later, yet failed to make enough of a connection of
Riyad Mahrez's cross. Newcastle could not conjure up
another dangerous counter and as the minutes ebbed
away, began to look vulnerable again. Aguero sought
to add to that excellent personal record he has
against these opponents, darting through in stoppage
time, but his attempt was wide thanks to pressure
Man City (4-4-2): Ederson, Walker, Stones,
Laporte, Mendy, Mahrez (Gundogan 76), Fernandinho, D
Silva (Kompany 89), Sterling, Aguero, Jesus (B Silva
Subs not used: Muric, Delph, Otamendi, Foden
Newcastle (5-4-1): Dubravka, Yedlin,
Lascelles, Fernandez, Clark (Murphy 81), Dummett,
Kenedy (Atsu 54), Diame, Ki, Perez, Rondon (Joselu
Subs not used: Darlow, Muto, Sterry, Longstaff
Referee: Kevin Friend 7
Wolverhampton 1 Manchester City 1
Wolves tame the Sharks
Saturday 25th August 2018 :
Guy Shepherd for GYKO at Molineux Stadium
It says much for Wolves that the last time
Manchester City endured an afternoon as frustrating
as this away from home in the Premier League was way
back in February. Pep Guardiola’s side had racked up
seven successive top-flight wins on their travels
since drawing at Burnley six months ago but Wolves
were in no mood to roll over just because the
champions were in town.
Nuno Espírito Santo’s side played with tremendous
energy, belief and courage, and fully deserved a
point that was celebrated like a victory at the
final whistle. “We’re on our way back” reverberated
from the massed ranks of gold shirts inside Molineux
and it was hard to disagree at the end of a
thrilling game of football.
There was a slice of good fortune with Willy Boly’s
goal, which clearly went in off the central
defender’s arm and should also have been disallowed
for offside, but it was hard to begrudge Wolves that
bit of luck on a day when they caused City plenty of
problems with their pace on the counterattack.
Guardiola’s side dominated the ball – they had 79%
of possession – but Wolves certainly could not be
accused of parking the bus. They were prepared to
commit players forward at the right time – the pace
of Hélder Costa and Adama Traoré caused plenty of
problems – and Wolves may even have snatched three
points at the end, when Diogo Jota’s ferocious shot
flashed inches over the bar.
Aymeric Laporte heads the equaliser past Wolves
goalkeeper Rui Patrício.
Having levelled through Aymeric Laporte’s first goal
for the club, City could also have won it at the
death, with the relief among the home supporters
almost tangible when Sergio Agüero’s 25-yard
free-kick hit the top of the crossbar. That was the
second time Agüero hit the woodwork and the third
occasion for City in total, with Rui Patrício
producing an outstanding save in the first half to
tip Raheem Sterling’s swerving half-volley on to the
Yet the champions were far from free flowing here
and although Guardiola said he was happy with the
chances City created against a 5-4-1 system that has
proved difficult for them to break down in the past,
the Spaniard admitted his side were nothing like as
comfortable without the ball. Vincent Kompany had a
particularly poor opening 45 minutes.
“We didn’t control the counterattacks quite well
today, but it is a good point because of the quality
of the opponent,” Guardiola said. “I think we
created enough chances to win the game. But I’ve not
too many regrets. Maybe a bit of a lack of rhythm
sometimes. But in general I am satisfied with the
Although Guardiola could be seen speaking to Martin
Atkinson, the referee, immediately after the match,
the City manager had no desire to discuss Boly’s
controversial goal or get involved in a debate about
whether the Premier League should have implemented
video assistant referee technology. City also had a
couple of penalty appeals turned down, although on
one of them Agüero was lucky not to be booked for
From Espírito Santo’s point of view, his game plan
worked perfectly. “I think it was a good performance
overall,” the Wolves manager said. “We were playing
against the best team, so we had to stick together,
cover, reduce the space and always have balance.
There are tasks for the players – rules – that give
you order and safety and confidence to play. So when
we had the ball we created chances and played good
football. If there’s a but, after we score we should
manage better the next few minutes that put City in
control of the game.”
In a bright opening 25 minutes that set the tone,
Raúl Jiménez had a goal ruled out for offside before
City went straight up the other end and hit the
woodwork twice in quick succession. Agüero swept a
low shot against the upright and then came that
Sterling effort, which was swerving towards the top
corner until Patrício, stretching every sinew,
flicked it on to the bar.
Boly’s dubious goal arrived after Costa, scampering
clear on the left, saw his angled shot pushed into
the side-netting by Ederson. City seemed to be
caught out by the short corner that followed, with
João Moutinho’s delivery exposing some poor marking.
Matt Doherty got the faintest of touches before Boly,
attempting a header, nudged the ball over the line
with his right arm.
City were behind for only 12 minutes. Ilkay
Gündoğan, who was later replaced by Leroy Sané as
Guardiola chased victory, swung in a fine free-kick
from the right and Laporte, with a free run at the
ball, headed powerfully home. Gabriel Jesus, another
City substitute, later nodded straight at Patrício
but Wolves held on for a point that felt like three.
Wolverhampton: dos Santos, Patrício, Bennett, Boly,
Coady, Castro, Otto (Vinagre 84), Santos, Moutinho
da Silva, Neves, Doherty, Jiménez, Teixeira da Silva
Sousa, Costa (Traore 70)
Unused subs : Saïss, Gibbs-White, Hause, Ruddy,
Silva, Bonatini Lohner Maia
Manchester City 6 Huddersfield
Town 1 Yorkshire Puddings Sunday 19th August 2018 : GYKO
at the Etihad
goals, a dominant yet flamboyant performance and the
threat of more commanding wins to come. Manchester
City returned to the Etihad as reigning Premier
League champions on Sunday and ended the day back on
top of the table, having laid waste to a poor and
often calamitous Huddersfield Town.
This was their first outing since news of Kevin De
Bruyne’s three-month lay-off with a knee injury, but
City showed no signs of missing their most
influential player. Sergio Aguero’s ninth Premier
League hat-trick, alongside Gabriel Jesus and David
Silva strikes and a Terence Kongolo own goal, had De
Bruyne applauding from the stands, crutches close to
City were helped by an erratic showing from
Huddersfield’s goalkeeper Ben Hamer, who spent the
last four years as a reserve at Leicester City and
has now conceded nine times in two games. Hamer will
be disappointed with his role in City’s first three
goals. All three were easily preventable.
Such was the disparity between these two sides,
however, even a goalkeeper at the very top of his
game could not have prevented defeat. Huddersfield
spoiled City’s coronation on this ground back in
May, claiming a crucial point for their survival
bid. There was little sign of such resilience three
months on and this limp display may cause early
anxiety about the campaign ahead.
Huddersfield almost made the worst possible start
after just two minutes when Steve Mounié sliced an
attempted clearance towards his own goal and onto
the top of his own crossbar. Jesus spurned two
presentable opportunities in a short, frantic period
of City pressure that followed.
Gradually, the visitors gained their composure and
slowed the rate of City’s attacks, but with Pep
Guardiola’s side patiently dominating the ball in
enemy territory, it became a question of when their
breakthrough would not come, not if. Hamer’s first
error of the afternoon gifted them it.
Ederson, Hamer’s opposite number, was the architect,
picking Aguero’s diagonal run out brilliantly from a
goal kick. Christopher Schindler held Aguero up but
Hamer’s mindless decision to rush off his line left
City’s all-time leading scorer with more than enough
space to aim at.
One goal up, numbers two and three quickly followed
and the adventurous Benjamin Mendy was key to both.
One typical, surging run down the left from his own
half and a neat one-two put him in on goal, only to
be dispossessed. Jesus followed up immediately,
beating Hamer at the near post.
Four minutes later, a low cross from Mendy’s wicked
left foot proved too much for Hamer to handle, quite
literally. In attempting to collect the ball, he
instead spilled it, providing Aguero with a chance
to add his second of the afternoon. The Argentine
would make no such mistake.
“We want 10,” chanted the Etihad, perhaps requesting
a repeat of City’s 10-1 victory in this fixture in
1987, which remains Huddersfield’s record league
defeat. Helpfully, Huddersfield soon got their one.
Stankovic, who spent last season sidelined through
injury, tapped in Mounié’s flick-on.
It was the travelling support’s turn to make their
voices heard, promising to “win 4-3” but the
excellent Silva rendered that scoreline an
impossibility at the start of the second half with
an expertly-taken free-kick whipped into Hamer’s top
left-hand corner, leaving the Huddersfield
goalkeeper rooted to his spot.
For Silva, this was a goal to mark not only his
250th league appearance for City but the first
witnessed in the flesh by his eight-month-old son
Mateo, who was born prematurely midway through last
season. Guardiola granted Silva time off as and when
to care for his partner and child. With every
majestic display, Silva seems determined to repay
Aguero completed his hat-trick a quarter-of-an-hour
from time with a deft touch. Again, Mendy was the
provider but this time, the cross fell a little
awkwardly for its intended target. No matter. Aguero
stabbed the ball into the ground with the outside of
his boot, sending it spinning backwards, around
Hamer’s outstretched hand.
There was still time for another. Leroy Sané,
Aguero’s late replacement, darted through on goal
from the left flank, hoping to add his name to the
scoresheet, but his poke at goal was blocked by
Hamer’s body. Kongolo, covering, could not get out
of the way in enough time and inadvertently diverted
the ball in
MANCHESTER CITY (4-3-3): Ederson,
Stones, Kompany, Laporte, Mendy; D Silva (Mahrez
64), Fernandinho, Gundogan (Foden 82), B Silva,
Aguero (Sane 76), Gabriel Jesus
Subs not used: Bravo; Otamendi, Sterling, Walker
Goals: Aguero 25, 35, 75; Gabriel Jesus 31; David
Silva 48; Kongolo OG 84
Arsenal 0 Manchester City 2
Sunday 12th August 2018 :
Daniel Roberts for GYKO at the Emirates Stadium
Amid all the talk of a new era at Arsenal, it looks
like that best describes Manchester City. The
champions just so effervescently offered even more
evidence that they are going to really dominate and
repeatedly win this league in a way no one has done
since Sir Alex Ferguson. An ultimately disappointing
Arsenal still looked somewhere between his
rival Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery, as they were so
often caught between two approaches and positions,
and just so often caught out by a truly exceptional
side. This completely commanding 2-0 win away to one
of the top six - and that after the win over Chelsea
in the Community Shield - was some way to begin a
Kevin De Bruyne could even sit on the bench and
Sergio Aguero could still miss a sitter, because
City just had too much, and could have had more than
the two goals scored by the relentless Raheem
Sterling and delightful Bernardo Silva.
It was, however, no way to begin Emery’s
reconstruction of this Arsenal defence. Given that
this was a first game against the champions, and
champions as sensational as this Manchester City,
Emery can be given a pass for a lot of this… but not
all of it.
There were still frustrations. The Basque is
renowned as a particularly brilliant defensive coach
above anything else, and one big change expected to
come at the Emirates is that the back line is
properly drilled; that they don’t give up easy
Sterling’s opener should not have been easy given
the position he was running from, but it was made
so. The forward was allowed to just cruise past
Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi with barely a
challenge and, once he got what was a strong but
still fairly central shot of, there was barely an
attempt at a stop from Petr Cech. Unsighted, the
goalkeeper didn’t even stick his arms out as the
ball flew in.
It wasn’t Cech’s only error and that pointed to
another question about Emery’s approach here: the
personnel. Only two of Arsenal’s new signings
started the game, and that was understandable given
Emery probably didn’t want to overload the side with
new faces, but what was less understandable was who
If Bernd Leno is inevitably going to usurp Cech in
goal, why delay the decision, especially if it makes
the Czech himself seem so indecisive? To his left,
Ainsley Maitland-Niles over the experience of
Stephan Lichtseiner, who eventually came on. Ahead
of Cech, Sokratis was probably always going to start
but ahead of him? Was this really the match to start
a 19-year-old brought in from Ligue 2 in France in
Matteo Guendouzi? In this midfield… against that
midfield? And with someone like Lucas Torreira on
The game did seem to get to Guendouzi early on as
his first major contribution was a 10-yard
miscontrol to put the ball out for a throw-in and
his second was ushering Sterling through for the
The teenager did show character by persevering and
it was telling that, within minutes of that, and
right in the midst of that midfield, he still had
the composure and presence of mind to keep the ball
and pick out a fine pass for Pierre-Emerick
This attempt to get in behind was Arsenal’s only
properly visible attacking pattern, and it was
logical… but there were also two very logical
reasons it failed. Arsenal are now yet anywhere
cohesive enough to be that kind of rapid countering
side, even if may well come.
City, however, are beyond cohesive. They’re almost
organic with the way the players seem to understand
how to instantly change up to fit into a new
Guardiola plan, while maintaining the same
magnificent qualities. And there may be more
evidence of evolution here.
That ball behind the back of a high line has
previously exposed the biggest weakness in any
Guardiola side - going right back to his best
Barcelona - a necessary risk in his approach, and in
some more hysterical times has been seen as his
teams’ glass jaw. Not here. They were rock solid.
There were four occasions when the game was still
alive when Arsenal looked like they might get in
behind, only for the slight sliver of a hope from an
instant’s opening to evaporate in the thunder of a
lightning interception. They came from John Stones,
Kyle Walker and - twice - from Aymeric Laporte.
This was something else so impressive about City,
the sharpness going right through the team, at this
stage of the season. They are just so
high-functioning. The pace of Walker down the right
was a particularly striking element of the game, but
was here - and now surely for this season to come -
matched by Benjamin Mendy. It was the French
international’s surge that set up the second goal,
flicking the ball into the box for Bernardo Silva to
so effortlessly fire the ball into the top corner.
Again, mind, it seemed all the more effortless
because, well, little effort was required to evade
anyone. There was no one to evade.
Silva was somehow left with yards of space in the
box, as this still looked so much more like an
Arsenal defence than an Emery defence.
That all must be put in the context of the
likelihood that this is going to be the strongest
title defence in years. Maybe the strongest team in
MAN CITY (4-1-4-1): Ederson; Walker, Stones,
Laporte, Mendy; Fernandinho; Gundogan, Bernardo,
Mahrez (De Bruyne 60), Sterling (Sane 86); Aguero
SUBS NOT USED: Bravo, Kompany, Otamendi, Gabriel
Jesus, Foden BOOKED: Sterling, De Bruyne
Referee Michael Oliver Attendance
Chelsea 0 Manchester City 2
Sunday 5th August 2018 : Nigel
Whittaker for GYKO at Wembley Stadium
Manchester City showed just how brilliantly good
they still are, and thereby showed Maurizio Sarri
just how much work he has to do. The Premier League
champions claimed the 2018 Community Shield with two
divine finishes from Sergio Aguero, but the reality
was the gap so often felt greater than 2-0.
It would be difficult to be critical of Chelsea
here, as a coach as distinctive as Sarri has only
had two weeks to work with this squad in contrast to
Pep Guardiola’s two years, and was also missing two
of his best players in N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard.
There’s also the likelihood that they won’t be the
only side to look so far behind City this season.
If there was some disappointment that none of
Sarri’s hallmarks or any imprints were seen in this
match after progress in pre-season, it was all the
more striking that City looked so on it a mere three
weeks after the World Cup. And this was without many
of their stars, too.
The absence of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva,
however, allowed the space and stage for players
like Bernardo Silva and - most promisingly - Phil
Foden to impress, something they did in so many
City were just so good, even allowing for the fact
this was a mere pre-season friendly and one or two
hapless moments from Claudio Bravo. In fact, they
might actually end up imbuing this fixture with more
meaning. The decline of the Shield as any kind of
notionally competitive match has been illustrated by
the fact it is eight years since a side won it and
then went on to win the league in the same season.
That looks likely to change given City’s excellence.
The difference in drive and energy was personified
by Benjamin Mendy, whose return instantly made City
look more physical and powerful, such was his thrust
down the left. This is something that should be even
more ominous for everyone else. There is still space
and scope for the champions to improve. Mendy’s
contribution was so good that it reminded everyone
just how much City had missed - and yet this was of
course still a team that barely missed a beat.
Then there was the way Foden at last got to step in,
and more than stepped up. The young midfielder
offered a lot of the match’s most luscious moments,
particularly the run to set up Aguero for the
opening goal and then a delightful ‘sombrero’ over
That was all the more pointed because of City’s
failed pursuit of the Brazilian, and what it said
about where the teams are at.
Jorginho didn’t have his best match as he struggled
to impose himself in any way, and Chelsea repeatedly
got caught in behind midfield. It showed that Sarri
still has a lot of work to do with the cohesion of
this team, but also just how many big players they
That is another big caveat to go with the fact this
was still just a pre-season game. Had Kante been
there, his very running would have immediately made
Chelsea look more cohesive by virtue of his ability
to improbably fill so many gaps, while the absence
of Eden Hazard meant Sarri’s side had little cutting
It wasn’t all negative for the Italian, with Callum
Hudson-Odoi notably making his presence felt. He
again displayed why he should be in this squad
rather than going on loan and how Roman Abramovich
might finally have the youth graduate he has long
It’s just that the Sarri regime has barely started,
and this was as strong a reminder anyone could have
had of that.
So, it wasn’t long until City strengthened their
From City’s many nifty creative midfielders, it was
this time the turn of Bernardo Silva to set up
Aguero. The Portuguese once more worked the space
beautifully, and Aguero once again finished so
This was the story of the game. Everything worked so
well for City, in a way Chelsea were never going to
be able to compete with.
Vincent Kompany on
a mission in the Congo - If you ever wondered if the modern
footballer is all take and no give, just watch this series of
video's taken from the Man City Official website. I make no excuses
for listing them here as I for one wish to promote both Man City FC
and any worthwhile cause, and they don't come much better than
Vincent's efforts to give the kids of his father's homeland a chance
to change their lives. Click on the links to watch these four short
Latest DVD's Now
GORNIK ZABRZE v CITY
Cup Winners Cup Final
YORK COSMOS v MANCHESTER CITY
1980 (quality - well watchable).
Email me for details - A great chance to see our greatest
triumphs at home and abroad.
FOLLOWING ARE BACK UP DVD's with
covers and printed labels
Pay with PayPal - email@example.com
Only the result spoils this superb quality DVD.
Marvellous goal for Jackie Milburn is worth seeing
on it's own. £3.00
All the memories are there but the quality of this is
very poor. However it is very watchable and
gives you a chance to see the old heroes once
v Manchester City
1972 Lg Cup Final plus
1980 Wolves v Forest
Volumes 1 - 2 and 3 Buy all 3 for £6.00
last game at Maine Road Slide show CD.
This CD contains over 60 images in a slide show with a
great version of Blue Moon playing in the background. As
a bonus I have included another slideshow with more
pictures from the 2002-2003 season with a fabulous
backing track. Email me now to order a copy of this
great piece of memorabilia.
Buy it now for £1.50 including postage.
Manchester City The Album
fantastic compilation of songs and styles, normally
football albums are cringe worthy but this is superb,
and has a variety of styles to suit all age of fans. I
particularly like The Invisible Man, The Best Team in
the Land, and Jon Christos' City Till I die. A must for
all City fans and well done - by far the best of any
club album released to date.£3.00 only incl p&p
v Gornik Zabrze European Cup Winners Cup
finest hour - or hour and a half, whichever way you look
at it. Played in Vienna, Austria in the pouring rain
this match as far as I know was the only European Final
involving a British club not to be shown live on TV, at
least in England. I badly want a copy of the programme
so if anyone has one that they wish to unload on me
please get in touch. This is a very rare copy of the
Video filmed in black and white with a German
1969 FA CUP Final
DVD of City's FA Cup Final Win in 1969
action + the goals from the 1956 final
DVD charts the success of the season so far, following
the arrival of new owner Dr Thaksin Shinawatra and
Manager Sven-Goran Eriksson back in July. At that point,
they were coming to a club that only avoided relegation
by four points the previous season and had failed to
score a league goal at home since New Years Day. A few
months later, City were a club transformed, thanks in
the main to the spectacular impact of Eriksson and his
management style. New signings such as Brazilian star
Elano and Bulgarian flyer Martin Petrov have
complemented Academy Graduates like Micah Richards and
Michael Johnson. The Blues have made their best start to
a league campaign for years and put together an
incredible number of successive home wins that took them
to third in the Barclays Premier League. Much more on
here in the extras section - TOP DVD Quality
£3.50 including Post and Packaging
Manchester City Jubilee
Years - A great Man Evening News Slide Show of great
Various Football DVD's
LIFE WITH THE
BLUES - A look behind the scenes at
City in 1987. Maine Road memories. 100 Great
moments of the Kop -
Liverpool's famous kop memories
FC Bayern v
Leeds United - The European
Cup Final 1975 played at the Parc des Princes - Paris.
Leeds were incredibly unlucky to lose this final. Here's
a chance to watch a rare copy of this classic match,
with French commentary and a pretty good quality
Germany 1966 World Cup Final Black &
Manchester Uni£ed v Manchester City Munich
Tribute Feb 10th 2008
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