As tough weeks go, that was one of the toughest yet. Hoffenheim in the Champions League, followed by a trip to Anfield was a true test of City’s character, which they passed…just.
We start in Germany where City looked to get their Champions League campaign back on track after the home defeat to Lyon. Were you aware City had lost to Lyon? The media may have made the odd few thousand references to it prior to this match, but if you missed it, don’t worry – we have a home match against Shahktar soon so I’m sure you’ll hear all about it then.
And it looked like the blues of old had resurfaced when they conceded a goal within the first minute. The Germans found space in the City defence and Belfodil bat the offside trap to slot under Ederson. Not the start the blues wanted after the Lyon defeat!
But the blues were level within six minutes. David Silva’s pass released Leroy Sane into the area, and the German drew the keeper before squaring to Aguero who slotted home the equaliser. The blues pressed but Hoffenheim still looked dangerous. A major talking point arrived in the 73rd minute. Bernardo Silva’s pass was cut out by the defence, but fell into the path of Sane, who raced into the area and was brought down by the keeper. The referee failed to award a penalty, but then curiously didn’t award a corner (if the keeper get a touch on it), nor did he book Sane for diving. Even the keeper looked like he’d conceded a penalty and was about to be sent off. UEFA conspiracy against City or just crap refereeing?
It just wasn’t going City’s way and a draw was on the cards. That was until Merlin stepped in. A cross into the box found the Hoffenheim defender, who dallied on the ball, allowing David Silva to nip in and whip the ball from him, before firing into the goal for the winner. It was a difficult match, but one they had to win. They had, of course been beaten by Lyon last time out.
By far the biggest match of the season so far, saw the blues visit their least favourite place. Anfield. City haven’t won there since 2003 and were beaten twice at Anfield last season. This may also have been noted once or twice prior to the game. The blues changed the route for the bus after last season’s quarter final idiocy by Liverpool fans and the result was much different.
Maybe it had something to do with Liverpool playing in Italy in midweek. According to one commentator, that will definitely have made a difference and is the reason Liverpool didn’t win. But if you cast your mind back a coupl;e of seasons, the blues travelled almost 1800 miles to Bucharest to put five past Steaua, then travel to Stoke four days later to bag another four. I don’t recall anyone complaining then!
The blues were the better side for much of the match, and could have take all three points if Riyad Mahrez had scored a late penalty. But they came away with a point and a clean sheet, something that hasn’t been achieved since the 1980’s, so blues fans will be happy with that.
But after the match, social media was full of anger for Mahrez, so let’s get one thing straight. It is true that the unwanted winless run could have ended on Sunday, but it didn’t. Anyone could have missed that penalty. Jesus has missed before now and Aguero has certainly missed a few. It happens every now and then. But Mahrez had the balls to stand up and take the responsibility, and I for one will not vilify the man for missing. It’s football. It happens and we’re still top of the league.
I don’t know what it was though, but I got the distinct feeling that the media actually wanted us to lose those games. Hoffeneim were built up before a ball had been kicked, and they went into overdrive for the Liverpool match. I dread to think of what they’ll be like by the time we play Chelsea.
We now go into another international break (yawn) and don’t face Burnley until 20th October at The Etihad, when hopefully we will remain at the top of the league. Until then, keep the faith blues