Two 1 all draws away to Nottingham Forest in the Premier and a score draw in the Champions League second round away to Leipzig and a resounding 4-1 win away to Bournemouth the results since the win away at the Emirates.
I’ll take a look at Manchester City’s performances in the three games since that win.
Nottingham Forest 1 Manchester City 1
The draw away to Forest a week ago saw Manchester City relinquish top spot back to Arsenal after their late win away to Aston Villa last weekend.
Performance wise the team looked more like itself again, but for some poor finishing twice from Erling Haaland, a slip at the wrong time from Phil Foden, Aymeric Laporte heading straight at Keylor Navas from point blank range and rumour has it Kevin De Bruyne is still trying to hit the target at the City Ground.
Manchester City should’ve had a resounding win over Nottingham Forest. Instead City left the door open for Forest to steal a point with a late Chris Wood equaliser after a Bernardo Silva cracker had opened the scoring just before half time.
It was one of the better performances minus the finishing from Manchester City for some time. The fluidity of movement and passing was back, chances were created (just not seized upon) and all round I felt it resembled a Manchester City performance at their best.
The shame and disappointment came from the fact to many gilt edges chances went by the wayside, thus handing Arsenal a two point advantage at the top of the table, with their game in hand.
There will be more twists and turns to come in the remaining 13 Premier League games, but the dropped points really grated after the Arsenal result. That game lead into the Champions League Second Round first leg away to a tough RB Leipzig side.
RB Leipzig 1 Manchester City 1
Manchester City next travelled to the Red Bull Arena to face a in form RB Leipzig in the first leg of the Second Round of the UEFA Champions League.
A competition Manchester City are determined to win after a catalogue of infamous results in the competition for Manchester City the past 5 seasons.
It would be no easy game as predicted by some and played out as such. Kevin De Bruyne & Aymeric Laporte both missed this one through illness.
The game was definitely a tale of two halves, and the failure to get Erling Haaland involved in the game a story post the game.
The first half was a typical Manchester City performance, following on from the positive signs seen at the City Ground against Forest.
Manchester City dominated possession and rarely looked threatened by Leipzig at all. Chances were few and far between though. City deservedly took the lead through Riyad Mahrez after Jack Grealish has seized upon a mistake by RB Leipzig in possession at the back.
The half continued that way after the goal, with a Rodri header going wide late in the first half.
The second half was a complete different story to the first. RB Leipzig came out with more intent to get at Manchester City. Benjamin Henrichs was introduced for Lukas Klosterman at right back at half time, and Henrichs immediately offered more of a attacking threat.
RB Leipzig got into Manchester City from the very off of the second half and dominated possession and created chances, one in particular Henrichs put wide from a good position.
Leipzig were buoyed by the home crowd, and well and truly up for the fight in the second half. Erling Haaland put his only chance of the game wide after being put through by Jack Grealish mid way through the second half, and minutes later Josko Gvardiol gave Leipzig a deserved equaliser with a towering header in the 70th minute.
After the Leipzig equaliser Manchester City regained a semblance of control in midfield and Illkay Gundogan had a shot saved which would amount to the last great chance of note for Manchester City in the second half.
A late penalty shout for Manchester City came in the 92nd minute, but it wasn’t to be and the game ended in a 1 all draw.
The result for me wasn’t the worst for the first leg being away in the Champions League. RB Leipzig are a tough side to play, especially at the Red Bull Arena and to go home to the Etihad for the second leg knowing a result will make certain of progression into the Quarter Finals isn’t the worst position to be in.
Jack Grealish in my opinion was Manchester City’s best player on the night, continuing his surge in form post the World Cup. It’s great to see Jack playing so well and putting the doubters to bed and silencing the critics.
The biggest concern for me during the game was the lack of service for Erling Haaland, and the refusal it seemed for Manchester City midfielders to play Haaland in behind the defence.
It’s not a new issue, it has been seen in other games this season. Haaland cut a frustrated figure for the majority of the 90 minutes.
Pep Guardiola has acknowledged this issue post the Leipzig game and previously, and hopefully it is rectified for the remaining games this season. Haaland is virtually Manchester City’s biggest weapon in attack, and without service he can’t provide what he’s paid to do. His goals will be vital in this competition and for the remaining games in the title chase.
Next up for Manchester City was a away trip to the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth who are fighting for their lives to stay in the Premier League.
AFC Bournemouth 1 Manchester City 4
Lastly Manchester City ventured to the Vitality Stadium for a crucial Premier League fixture. Following on from Arsenal’s 1 nil away win to Leicester, three points would be vital for Manchester City to maintain the title chase, and keep pace with Arsenal.
Laporte was still out with illness and De Bruyne returned to the bench post his illness.
Julian Alvarez and Phil Foden returned to the starting line up in attack with Erling Haaland after missing the RB Leipzig tie. For me the trio of Haaland, Alvarez and Foden are City’s most dynamic attacking trio, with their pace and movement always a constant threat to the opposing defence and we saw that again in this one.
All three got on the score sheet in the first half, and the pressing in particular from Alvarez & Foden caused Bournemouth all sorts of problems and created the third goal, which Foden put away brilliantly.
It was great to see City put their chances away early in this one, as compared to the Forest game thus making the game a lot easier and having it put it to bed by half time a chance presented itself to use the substitutes, and get some minutes into other players legs.
A fourth goal came just after half time, with a Julian Alvarez strike deflecting in for a Chris Mepham own goal. It was no more then City deserved up until that point of the game.
Rico Lewis returned at right back for this one after missing the past few games with a return to the team and to form from Kyle Walker. Lewis was again outstanding in his inverted full back role, and it’s hard to believe the lad is 18.
He was the man of the match for me, I thought he was outstanding and continues to show talent well beyond his years. He’s been one of the highlights for Manchester City so far this season, and he fully deserves his spot in the squad.
The substitutes were used in this one, as compared to none being used against Leipzig. That’s been a bone of contention for some City supporters of late but today was the perfect opportunity to get some minutes into other players legs and rest key players for the bigger fixtures coming up.
Rodri and Gundogan were withdrawn on 55 minutes for Kalvin Phillips and Sergio Gomez to get a run out. Phillips looked rusty, he did pick up a booking and put himself about he just needs minutes in his legs now to get up to speed with how City play. Gomez showed a bit, firstly playing in midfield, then back to left back in the final 10 minutes.
Maximo Perrone made his debut for the club after signing from Velez Sarsfield in January. The Argentinean midfielder showed some glimpses in the 20 minutes he was on the pitch, with his passing and movement catching the eye.
He looks a shrewd piece of business from Manchester City so hopefully he can get some games for the rest of the season as he looks a real talent.
Looking at the three results post the Arsenal win the Forest sticks out as two points dropped. Arsenal have taken full advantage of that slip up from City.
It’s getting towards the business end of the title chase now, with Manchester City unbeaten in 5 Premier League games it does seem that a run is building from Guardiola’s men. The Bournemouth result was much needed, as was a drastic improvement in the finishing from Manchester City.
The RB Leipzig draw for me isn’t the worst result, as it’s now a home leg for Manchester City to settle the tie. The Etihad will be rocking when Leipzig come to town in a few weeks time, I have full faith in the squad to finish the job at home.
Next up is a away tie to Bristol City in the FA Cup on Wednesday, then a home game in the Premier League against Newcastle. The Newcastle game will be a massive one, especially with their form this season and with what’s at stake in the title chase. Another busy week ahead for Manchester City and I’m looking forward to it.