With the international break interrupting real football, the blues returned to Premier League action with a bang at the weekend by thumping Joe Hart’s Burnley. However, there was also the small matter of a certain Mr Sterling silencing a few critics. Let’s take a look back and see what happened.
Spain 2-3 England
After losing the home match 2-1, few gave England hope of coming back with anything from their trip to Spain, let alone believe that Raheem Sterling would be their match-winner. Last Monday however, the blues winger turned out to be England’s hero, scoring two of the Three Lions three goals. Sterling had endured a torrent of abuse every time he pulled on an England shirt, but silenced those critics with a brace to give England their first win on Spanish soil for 31 years.
But despite the winger ending his goal drought, the media still seemed to focus on how many months, years, days and even minutes since Sterling last scored for his country. But the young City man has taken the criticism in his stride, continued to put in excellent performances for England and was justly rewarded for his perseverance. Hopefully, the whole country will now get behind him, and not before time too.
City 5-0 Burnley
With most of City’s international contingent returning safely, the blues faced a home match with Burnley , as they attempted to retake top spot in the Premier League from Chelsea. And what a way to return to the summit by thumping the Clarets and kicking their backsides all the way back to Lancashire.
But it was harsh on for City keeper Joe Hart, who had been honoured with a pitch named after him. Even harsher was the fact that City’s second goal appeared to be out of play, and it’s understandable that Burnley manager Sean Dyche felt a little aggrieved. But even before the first goal went in, Dyche wasn’t happy. In the first thirty seconds, Vincent Kompany was lucky to avoid a red card as he went into a tackle with his studs up and his foot high. Some claimed it was ‘big club syndrome,’ where a player from a big club wouldn’t get sent off so early in the match.
Does he have a point?
Maybe the referee felt it was too early to send someone off, or maybe it was Kompany’s reputation that kept him on the pitch. Kompany is a classy person, on and off the field, and maybe if it was a nasty, usually aggressive player, it would have been a different outcome. I remember way back when City played Sheffield United at Maine Road, and a certain Vinnie Jones lined up for the Blades. Jones went into the book after just five seconds for a hard tackle on Peter Reid. But was it big club syndrome? If the situation had been reversed, would the outcome still have been the same? I think it would have been, but we’ll never know until it happens against us.
But those incidents aside, it was a commanding performance from the blues and City would still have found a way through.
Next up for City is Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, followed by a trip to Spurs next Monday, meaning my weekly review will be on Tuesday. It’s going to be a busy week!
See you next week.