Manchester City dismantled a resolute Southampton team to stay on pace for a Champions League place next season. It took a while but the Sky Blues were able to produce a performance that makes the end of the season look much brighter than many had begun to predict.
Here are three things we learned from Saturday's victory:
1 - Rhythm
City’s stray chances in the first half created a degree of anxiety. They have controlled the pace and possession of most matches this season, but too many minutes have been spent without scoring like we saw for nearly an hour at St. Mary’s Stadium.
Once Vincent Kompany found the net in the 55th minute, City’s control was easily turned into domination. Although they have controlled so much time this season, they haven’t clicked into a rhythm like they did in the final half hour of Saturday’s match.
2 - Optimism
As we reach the end of a long season that has the Blues achieve certain aspects of their desired revolution, the optimism of City’s team is fun to watch.
Rejuvenated veterans and sparkling youngsters are working to create a new look for the Sky Blues. One particular example of the current optimism at the club is Kevin De Bruyne. His lack of goals could be seen as a deficiency, but his overall excellence was proven again with incredible assists to Leroy Sané and Sergio Agüero.
Across the board, the team’s willingness to push past struggles and failures makes the future look bright.
3 - Productivity
Vincent Kompany’s glorious celebration on Saturday is yet another reminder of the health and productivity of the ‘City Project.’
Jesús Navas’ work, Claudio Bravo’s opportunities in recent fixtures, and many other examples show that the team is relaxed and ready to improve their chances of winning British and European trophies in the future.
It’s obvious that inevitable changes to City’s squad are not distracting players from continually increasing their productivity.
After weeks of successful rotations across the line-up, Pep Guardiola has a full week to train his top eleven players to take down the Gunners at Wembley.