After months of inevitability, Man City finally secured the premier league title with four games to go. A thumping 3-1 away to Spurs suggested that Man City were back.
As a Spurs fan, I didn’t really have massive expectations of the game but thought we would compete and if we kept it tight could maybe sneak it. Instead, I saw my side get comprehensively outplayed and dominated. City scored 3 but could have had 6 or 7!
Pace, power, guile and quality all over the pitch has seen City dominate the league this year and I fear this dominance is only going to continue.
The worst thing for fans of Chelsea, Utd, Arsenal and Spurs was City losing in the champions league to Liverpool.
Like PSG, and Abramovich in his early years at Chelsea, the board will certainly take Premier leagues and Carabao cups but it is European Glory they crave. Therefore the investment will continue and the very best players will be targeted.
Champions league success is the benchmark that this City team will be judged on. Next year this will be the main target and I don’t see any let up of City’s desire to win absolutely everything.
Liverpools 5-1 demolition in the quarter finals revealed the weakness the team still has. A defence that still has a tendency to creak. I have no doubts that Pep will look to the transfer market to strengthen his defence and team once again.
The standard response to City this season is that they have bought the league. To some extents you can’t argue against it. At the end of the January transfer window, Sane was to be out for 6 weeks. City’s response? A 60 million bid for Mahrez! A 500 million net spend would also indicate that City should be winning the league each season, but it is clear that Pep has improved and developed his players considerably.
Raheem Sterling is the prime example. On Saturday, Sterling was a constant nuisance, consistently getting behind the Tottenham defence. Sterling looks like he is quickly becoming the real deal, his rawnesss is quickly being smoothed out.
He has scored twenty plus goals this season, which is a very decent return. Yes, his finishing does need to improve, he missed a chance from two yards out that everybody reading this would have scored BUT, there is no doubt his game has improved under Guardiolas guidance.
The other argument to the money is the way they play. Each player is clear on their roles, they suffocate you with and without the ball and the team spirit is second to none – see Bernard Mendy’s twitter timeline for further proof.
City swaggered around the pitch at Wembley, they exuded confidence in every area. They are slowly starting to remind me of Roger Federer. Let me build on that…..
When Federer was at his peak 7 or 8 years ago and now, the feeling was that his opponents were already a set down before they stepped on the court. City have the same aura. Teams seem to turn up to just try to limit the defeats to under 3 goals. Against the majority of teams this season the game has been won before the game actually starts. And who is to say this won’t continue.
The other area of concern I had when watching City on Saturday was their bench. City were missing Aguero, Fernandinho and Mendy but the bench read Bravo, Bernardo Silva, Otamendi, Zinchenko, Foden, Toure and Diaz. Strong? Yes. But could the depth of the squad be improved? Worryingly, yes. This squad can still be improved.
Fast forward to next season and City will be short price favourites to win another league title.
The feeling from pundits is that the gap will be reduced as clubs will be more tactically aware to how City play and actually winning the league for successive years is pretty hard to do.
Liverpool have shown the way to beat them and will be very confident of mounting a challenge. Utd will invest and will demand to be closer. Chelsea often bounce back after a poor season, Spurs will be back at White Hart or whatever it will be called and Arsenal will most likely have a new manager which could see a revival and a return to being title challengers.
However, I fear that City could win the league in similar fashion next year. They have the world’s best manager, a team of hungry and more importantly happy players clearly ambitious to achieve, they will invest in top quality and be extremely confident in winning another title.
The hope is that someone from the chasing pack can push them a little closer and keep the pressure on OR they put more eggs into the champions league basket. But, get used to this football fans, the era of City dominance could have just begun.