What a season. Champions of England no less in Pep’s second season in charge. It’s a season that will live long in the memory of every City fan, so let’s go on a journey back to August where it all started and relive one of our best season’s ever.
August 12th 2017 – Brighton and Hove Albion 0-2 Manchester City
The opening day of the football season saw City start at Brighton. The blues had bolstered their leaky defence with the signings of Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy, Danilo and goalkeeper Ederson as they sought to win the Premier League for the first time under Pep Guardiola. For newly promoted Brighton, it was a baptism of fire against one of the favourites to lift the Premier League.
For long periods it looked like the blues would be denied an opening day victory as Brighton stood firm and City failed to break the new boys down. The blues never looked like losing, but failure to win and questions would already start to be asked, such is the fickle nature of the game.
So it was met with relief when two of the old guard combined to score the opening goal. David Silva’s pass was received by Sergio Aguero, who rifled the ball past the Brighton keeper on 70 minutes. Five minutes later and the blues secured the points when Brighton defender Lewis Dunk put past his own keeper.
It was a routine win, with City digging out a less than impressive victory, but three points nevertheless.
August 19th 2017 – Manchester City 1-1 Everton
If the Brighton game was unimpressive, then City’s next match against Everton was even less so. The blues hadn’t lost an opening home fixture in the top flight since Southampton beat the blues 2-1 in August 1989, but a first half goal from Wayne Rooney, which was also his 200th Premier League goal sent the Toffees in 1-0 at half time. To compound matters, Kyle Walker was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession.
But the ten men eventually found a way through, with Raheem Sterling scoring his first goal of the season with eight minutes left to play. Everton had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off with two minutes to go and City sought a winner. However, Everton left with a point, just as they had the previous season.
But already, doubts were being cast as to whether City could mount a serious challenge for the title. Little did those questioning know what was about to come.
August 24th 2017 – Champions League Draw
The Champions League draw saw City facing Italian side Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk from the Ukraine and Dutch outfit Feyenoord. The blues had already played Napoli in their very first season in the Champions League, drawing the home match 1-1, before losing the return 3-1. Napoli and were regarding as City’s the main opposition, but the Ukraine side were also a dangerous opposition. Potentially, another group of death for City, but it could have been worse.
August 26th 2017 – AFC Bournemouth v Manchester City
Bournemouth were the next opponents for the blues and it wasn’t without a little controversy. Charlie Daniels had given Bournemouth the lead with a stunning effort after thirteen minutes, but the blues were back on level terms eight minutes later. David Silva again the architect setting up Gabriel Jesus for his first goal of the season.
It looked like another stalemate was on the cards and Bournemouth had an opportunity to win the match in the dying embers of the game, but Joshua King shot straight at Ederson. It was a chance he regretted not taking. City went down the other end and Raheem Sterling’s shot deflected off a defender and looped over the keeper to give City the lead.
Sterling then celebrated the last minute winner with the travelling fans, and when the celebrations died down, the winger was promptly sent off by referee Mike Dean, to which manager Pep Guardiola demanded an explanation for. Pundits also joined in the condemnation of the red card, with Alan Shearer particularly incensed. “Don’t give me ‘it’s the law’ nonsense. Mike Dean has clearly never experienced scoring the winning goal. And for all saying ‘but it is the law’ if we are going to rigidly apply law with no common sense, why did he only book Sterling?” he tweeted, while former west Ham striker Bobby Zamora said “Can’t celebrate a goal now? Absolute joke.”
And in another bit of controversy, Sergio Aguero was accused of hitting a home steward after the goal. However it emerged the Argentine striker was trying to stop the steward from hurting a City fan who was on the pitch and the allegation was later withdrawn.
An eventful August ended with City third in the league, two points behind leaders Manchester United and level on points with second placed Huddersfield. Two late wins and a scrappy draw, gave no foresight into the football the blues were about to play.