Manchester City 2 Leicester 1 - Johnny On The Spot
Manchester City's first season under Pep Guardiola was exemplified in what became a war of attrition with deposed and never again champions Leicester. Total control through cruise control to lost control...
This was as massive a three points that a squad who briefly threatened to sweep all before them early in the season could have wished for at this stage of a campaign that has seen their aspirations unravel into a battle to secure a top three or four Premier League finish. Guardiola's fast track bullies have for a second consecutive season been unable to exert authority over England's other top sides and history will serve that Leicester were briefly considered in that category. Ally that to the type of home performance delivered against Leicester that has realised too many drawn games, the Blues dalliance with failure to qualify for Europe's elite club competition should not be too surprising. But against Craig Shakespeare's uncompromising side City at least found the resolve required this time to see the job through. Admittedly, we can be thankful for a huge 'slip' of good fortune as Ryhad Mahrez's hash of a penalty followed some poor Gael Clichy defending, but generally City gave as good as they got against a side set up to take no prisoners. Boy will we take that though, after a tidal wave of important decisions have gone against us all season.
City deserve huge credit for fighting fire with fire and overcoming limited Leicester's abysmal combat rock tactics. From the off they were set up to flatten City's creative players at every turn then hoof it and provided a reminder of precisely where the majority of the Premier League footballing standard is at right now. The gap between 8th and 7th place approaching 20 points speaks volumes. That this crowd were champions is beyond belief.
Aside of Clichy's dreadful faux pas, there can be little doubt that City's defenders look more composed and focused with Vincent Kompany marshalling them. I would go as far as to suggest that without Kompany's timely return City would not be within touching distance of Champions League football ahead of tonight's important showdown with a West Brom side who have won once in their last 10 league fixtures. By contrast, City with Kompany in the mix are unbeaten in 5 league games, scoring 12 goals and conceding only 3. The sudden improvement in Nicolas Otamendi's output is no coincidence.
Ahead of the already on the beach Baggies visit, Pep has declared that were he at either of his two previous clubs and delivered the underwhelming overall results that his #ITBEGINS coronation in Manchester preceded, then he would have been fired. Unsurprisingly an unhelpful media feeding frenzy has ensued, but as we prepare to watch the 55th game of his City tenure, talk of whether or not it is the personnel or the tactics deployed that have undermined City's ambitions this season will be revisited shortly as a week which is key as to how next season will be prepared for unfolds.
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