FootballManchester City

Turning the corner

Guardiola says his team is starting to peak

Hitting their stride

It’s been anything but smooth sailing for Manchester City who are once again playing catch-up in the Premier League.

You wouldn’t know the teams in eighth place, six points back of Liverpool though if you spoke to Pep Guardiola recently.

The Spaniard believes his side is starting to come into its own after a slow start to the season.

Currently riding a six-game unbeaten run in the League and with games in hand City can climb back into the title race.

They may not be scoring at will like in past seasons but Guardiola says his side is playing the way they have to.

“We played the tempo,” says Guardiola following their win versus Newcastle.

“We won games in the recent past but we were not playing the right tempo.”

Picking their spots

They haven’t been blowing teams away with their goals but they’ve shown to be extremely tidy at the back.

In their current six-game unbeaten run they’ve recorded five clean sheets.

Following their 2-0 win over Newcastle Guardiola says the team’s all-around game is starting to take shape.

“Football is about time. Without the ball, everybody runs, but with the ball, we have to play in rhythm – but not too high.

“Everyone passes the ball, knowing his position. At the right moment, when we contact several players in several positions, we make an explosion.

“This was maybe one of the first days that we saw it. That is why I’m happy.

“In the last seasons we’ve struggled against Newcastle but here we controlled everything.

“I don’t know how many millions of passes we had but that is the way we want to play, picking the right moment to attack.”

Silver lining

There are definitely a lot of positives City can take into the New Year in spite of their current standing.

Guardiola’s side does have at least one game in hand on leaders Liverpool, two on second-place Leicester City, and one on Everton who are currently third.

If they can take advantage of that a third Premier League title in four seasons is certainly not out of the question.

This season has been so unpredictable that it’s entirely possible the teams ahead of them can slip up as well.

In a dominating 2019/20 campaign Liverpool lost only three times and had only three draws.

Already this season Jurgen Klopp’s team has five draws and one loss.

Liverpool’s struggled against the teams at the bottom of the table such as West Bromwich Albion, Brighton, and Fulham.

If they keep failing to secure three points against the League’s bottom feeders that can really open the door for Man City.

Historically City’s been at its best in the second-half of its Premier League campaigns.

Last season they lost only four games in the League from January to July.

In their last two Premier League winning seasons (2017/18 and 2018/19) Pep Guardiola’s team has lost a total of three games after January.

City’s first game of 2021 is Sunday from Stamford Bridge against Chelsea at 4:30 pm.(JSL).

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