Pep Guardiola led the Citizens to the King Power stadium for their away fixture against Leicester City, in a bid to recover from the devastating loss last weekend to Chelsea. After a flying start to the season, Pep and his troops had fallen off the wagon, being unable to replicate their early form. Despite their poor showing in the League, Leicester City were still reigning champions, and a threat to City's recovery. Could Man City break free and find their form? Or would the Foxes sneak in a victory and stop them in their tracks?
Before the Manchester side could even settle into their slick passing game, Leicester City pulled out their biggest guns in a span of 4 minutes, absolutely destroying City's back-line. The Foxes used their pace on the counter to exploit the early spaces in City's formation, to slice open chances.
Two minutes into the game, Riyadh Mahrez made an easy run through City's midfield before finding Slimani in front of the defence. The Algerian found Jamie Vardy, who ran faster than every one else on the pitch to get past his marker and put a thundering shot past a surprised Claudio Bravo.
Before City could gather themselves to build their comeback, Leicester were already on the lookout for their second goal. Islam Slimani laid the ball off for Andy King just outside the box, before the Welshman put a rocket past Bravo to double Leicester's lead. If the stadium was loud after the first goal, it was surely deafening by this point.
Nobody could believe the amazing 4 minutes that had just passed by, and for good reason; The Foxes had breezed through their opposition like a hurricane, wrecking the Citizens to shreds. Any game-plan that Guardiola might have had for the match went swiftly through the window. Suddenly, Manchester City were looking slow, with no intent or purpose; their movement was slow, they were misplacing passes, and they just didn't seem like they were prepared for Leicester's cataclysmic counter-attack.
After a brief exchange of possession between the two teams, Vardy vandalised CIty's back-line once more, as he ran around a stretched out Claudio Bravo, to score his second of the night. Jamie Vardy hadn't scored in 16 matches before this one, but he looked absolutely lethal every time he ran for goal.
City were shell-shocked; in a span of twenty minutes, they had gone down by three goals, with little hope for recovery. City continued to apply pressure, and create chances, but the blow from the initial rampancy had stunned them into oblivion.
As half time approached, one could only hope that the manager had something up his sleeve; if he didn't, Man City were looking at a long half ahead.
The players emerged after the break, with no changes to either side.
The second half began with City bombarding Leicester's defence with shots and chances. The Citizens looked hell-bent on finding the net and establishing some control over the match. An exciting passing move from City set Gundogan up, but his shot was inches-wide. Moments later, Zabaleta curled a shot from just outside the box, but his attempt was off-target.
Having stood their ground against the early onslaught, the Foxes looked to threaten once more as they attempted to butcher City on the counter. Vardy pressed City's back-line, forcing John Stones to misplace his back-pass under pressure, as he scorched around Bravo and got his shot into goal from a tight angle.
With less than ten minutes of regular time left on the clock, Fuchs fouled Silva at the edge of the box. Kolarov took a beautiful curling shot to open the scoring for City on a difficult night. Minutes later, Kolarov made a run on his flank, before teeing the ball up for Nolito, who buried it past Zieler for the visitor's second of the night.
After a long match filled with goals, the Citizens could finally slow down and reorganise, as they heard the referee blow his whistle.
One could imagine Ranieri's men making life difficult for Pep's side at the King Power, but few would have expected the one-sided affair that they got to witness on the night. Ranieri's counter-attack obliterated Pep's defences in an entertaining game of football, that unfortunately ended in a loss for the away side.
While Pep is the best coach in the world, he is still human, and one must remember that the road to success isn't easy. For Pep's vision to come to fruition, one must accept that there will be losses along the way. It might be hard to be a part of the fall, but it will make for an exhilarating ride to the top.
Here's to hoping that day comes sooner than it appears...