First of all, I would like to apologise for the lack of coverage this weekend. Two of our writers have been away, another hit by technical difficulties and I was completely floored by a heavy chest infection. Rest assured, normal services will now resume.
So what’s been happening over the last seven days?
The blues faced Bournemouth last weekend at the Etihad and it was hard work against the Cherries to secure the points. The blues took the lead against Eddie Howe’s side, but Bournemouth silenced the home crowd with an equaliser just before half time. It was a bit of a shock, but thankfully, Raheem Sterling and Ilkay Gundogan scored in the second half to maintain the blues 100% home record and remain unbeaten so far this season in the Premier League.
Bournemouth had been beaten 4-0 on each of their two previous visits and also lost 5-1 on a previous visit, so the omens were not good for the Cherries. But under Howe this season, Bournemouth have become a stronger team and it was a real test for the blues.
City remained at the top of the table, but the warning signs were there that injuries and number of matches were beginning to catch up with them.
Another fixture where the blues had previously won handsomely, turned into another battle at Vicarage Road. The blues had scored eleven goals in two matches at Watford, and blues fans would be forgiven for expecting another goal glut.
It looked like being just another one of those games for the blues, up against a Ben Foster in inspired form. Thankfully, Leroy Sane gave the blues the lead just before half time to send the blues 1-0 up at the break. When Riyad Mahrez made it 2-0 six minutes after the break, it looked possible that floodgates may well open.
But for some inexplicable reason, the blues started to lose it. They conceded a goal five minutes from the end, and were under the cosh a little towards the end. Although they never looked like conceding again, it seemed like a return of the blues we know and love – grabbing a draw from the clutches of victory. City hung on to stay top, but it was a nervy finish, and blues fans could relax again. But with an away game at Chelsea on the horizon, the blues had to improve their performance if they were to take anything away from Stamford Bridge.
UEFA And FFP
UEFA revealed this week that they are taking the Football Leaks story into City’s alleged financial irregularities seriously, with president Aleksander Ceferin describing it as a concrete case.
The blues have claimed the emails referred to were obtained illegally, which should surely mean the blues have no case to answer to, despite any ‘evidence’ to the contrary. The blues were find £49m in 2014 after agreeing a settlement with UEFA and it is more than plausible that UEFA shifted the goalposts, possibly in order to catch City out. If this is the case, then the threat of legal action by the blues will almost certainly have led to the £49m settlement.
But I for one say this – if UEFA want to punish the blues again, then just get on with it. Punish us, kick us out of the competition if it makes you feel better and satisfies Europe’s elite. If you’re not going to do anything, just come out and say it so we can all move on.
It’s getting boring now.
If there was ever going to be a defeat this season, it was likely to be at Chelsea. In the 2011/12 season, the unbeaten blues went to Stamford Bridge and lost 2-1, and by Saturday, Chelsea hadn’t lost a home match against defending champions since 2002, winning five and drawing six. And they deserved to extend that record for another year.
The blues dominated but couldn’t find a way past the Chelsea keeper, and when Kante gave Chelsea the lead just before half time, it seemed inevitable the blues would return home empty handed. Sure enough, Chelsea doubled their lead towards the end and inflict a first league defeat on the blues this season.
But the attention was on Raheem Sterling, who took to Instagram today to lash out at the British media for fuelling racism in British football. The winger was captured on TV being shouted and abused by a section of Chelsea supporters as he retrieved the ball for a corner. This morning’s post indicated the abuse was racial and the media were responsible for continually writing inflammatory words against young, black players, and you can read my take on it here.
The blues face Hoffenheim at the Etihad on Wednesday, before a home match against Everton next Saturday.
Have a good week blues.