Manchester City need just one point to maintain their current form to stay ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool as the season reaches its conclusion. The final point tally and goal differential could play a deciding factor in who qualifies for next year’s Champions League.
The Blues have continued to build momentum during the spring of 2017. Tuesday’s game against West Bromwich Albion was another testament to the future at City and the undeniable challenges of the Premier League.
Here are three things we learned:
1 - City won as a team
City were excellent for most of Tuesday’s match. They appear set to end the season on a high note that will set up next year’s squad for a bright start. A number of individual players have made a mark on the team, giving the Sky Blues a potency at both ends of the pitch that they have lacked.
The collective work against West Brom felt like a celebration. The team seemed to be liberated from all the frustration and doubt that has accumulated throughout the season. They moved fluidly and confidently to constantly unsettle West Brom.
2 - City looked hungry
Keeping possession and running rampant in West Brom’s half of the field gave the Blues a significant edge. When City weren't pressing directly toward West Brom’s goal, they did an excellent job of hurrying the visitor’s passes and regaining possession quickly.
The Blues movement in the final third, and their ability to find open spaces to move the ball or shoot was a testament to their confidence and desire to get a win.
3 - Playing out from the back DOES work
There was a great mix of fast counter-attacking and patient build-up but, in every instance, City moved with far more vigor than we typically see. Vincent Kompany’s influence in the back, along with Gabriel Jésus playing on the opposite flank from Leroy Sané, helped Yaya Touré, Kevin De Bruyne, and Sergio Aguero in a powerful way.
Across the board, the team worked incredibly well together to achieve a style that will need to be solidified and developed further for the club to reach its objectives.
Pablo Zabaleta’s farewell made it clear that things will be changing at City in the coming weeks. The team has an excellent mood at the moment but West Brom’s ability to strike in the final moments of the game showed that there is still clear room to improve.
Pep Guardiola and the club’s administration have a vision of building City into a true European contender. Currently, it looks like they are heading in the right direction.
We can only hope that this motivation will carry through the summer.