Questions about City of ManchesterThe start of work for the Premier League season continues. Why couldn’t they dominate the games and score as they used to? Why not know what Pep Cardiola wants from his players?
Can they expect other point rivals to know clearly when they drop points at home? West Bromwich Albion?
The 1-1 draw lifted City to sixth, just five points behind Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool ahead of Wednesday’s meeting at Anfield, with most of their rivals having one more game to finish. On these midweek circuit devices. Pre-season favorites are still high on betting, but they have the same playing habits as Rance.
Ruben Dias’ own goal – the first time City’s defense had been breached in seven games – earned West Bromwich a point that would be crucial if Slaven Flick’s side were to survive. Others are drowning in the wrong end of the table and don’t expect them to take it. But if anything, this decision and the city’s performance should only give hope to those who have not yet visited Etihad.
Catch? They need a goalkeeper like Sam Johnstone. Ilke Gundogan, who had previously knocked him out, once made two notable late saves by a Manchester United goalkeeper – and Raheem Sterling West Bromwich ensured a share of the points. It is very worthy.
Two winger playing on their normal sides is believed to help extend stubborn opponents, but if it means immediate effect, it is not. City didn’t have a shot on Johnstone’s goal until the 20th minute. In fact, the first half hour was the best – and only one chance fell to West Bromwich.
If Carlon Grant wants to change his form at last season’s Championship to fly over this period, he must finish better than he did when he deflected the ankles of Conor Gallagher’s pass Joa Concelo and sent the ball into City’s penalty area. It was a golden opportunity and nothing came of it, but his shot was so close to Ederson that the City goalkeeper allowed it to be safely palm.
The city slowly began to look like their old looks, and their progress went straight out of Cardiola’s 2017-19 game book. Sterling one-two with Cancello he broke to the pile and took the ball almost out for a goal kick. About having it on the right side of the white line, he positioned himself, raised his head, and saw that Kundokan was unmarked in the middle of that area, waiting to apply a simple but firm finish.
It really should have been. Minutes after Gundogan’s strike, City ran the 10 hour mark in all competitions without reaching a single match. It is a much firmer, more defensive city than in previous years, and the most conservative Cardiola page ever seen. Still, they still have a mistake.
Diaz is the cornerstone on which City’s latest clean sheets were built, but the $ 64.3 million signing from Benfica had two chances to clear the danger just minutes before the break and hit an own goal.
His first pass on Matt Phillips’ free-kick only went as far as the Romain Sawyers, who returned to the City’s penalty area. Dias then helped run the ball and headed straight into the path of the semi-Ajay. The West Bromwich center-half successfully blocked a shot back to his opponent Nathan Ake, his target strike to divert Diaz’s foot and erroneous foot ederson. Admitting is a poor, bad goal.
West Bromwich were delighted and took a spot again in the match, determined to catch what they had. City dominated the second half, but despite Kevin de Bruyne desperately trying to make an impact, they were unable to beat the brilliant Johnstone.
At the start of the second half, his defenders failed to fight in a corner as former United youth product producer Sterling was denied a post. De Bruyne was frustrated in the middle when Johnstone dropped to his right and received a free-kick with both hands. But he saved the best at last. Gundogan thought De Bruyne had found the winner late from the cross, only to stop Johnstone. A carbon-copy opportunity fell to Sterling. Again, Johnston won it.
Cardiola wanted more time – he was frantically catching up with fourth-placed Anthony Taylor on the extra four minutes – but City may have played all night, not scoring. That’s the story of their season so far. Questions about their indifferent beginnings are constantly increasing, and are becoming harder and harder to ignore.