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Manchester City Season Review: September

Blues Aim For Top Spot

Manchester City v Liverpool - Premier League
Leroy Sane scores City’s Fourth Goal vs Liverpool
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

After two wins and a draw from the opening three games, City sat third in the table. It was early days of course, but pundits and neutrals alike were unimpressed. City had to make a statement and with the visit of Liverpool, traditionally a bogey side for the blues, that statement would likely have to wait. Or would it?

9th September 2017 – Manchester City 5-0 Liverpool

The international break a week earlier had given City an opportunity to reassess. They weren’t playing the kind of football Guardiola wanted them to play, but against Liverpool, that would all change. Raheem Sterling’s sending off against Bournemouth meant he would miss the home match against his former club, but it mattered little as the blues blew the reds away.

Sergio Aguero gave City the lead after 23 minutes. A ball from Kevin de Bruyne saw Aguero beat the offside trap and round Mignolet to give the blues the lead. The goal made Aguero the top sscoring, non-European player in the Premier League of all time. But more was to come from the Argentine and City.

Sadio Mane was sent off in after 37 minutes for a high challenge on City keeper Ederson. It was hotly disputed by the visitors, and it was clear there was no intent, however the challenge left Ederson needing stitches and was replaced by Claudio Bravo.

The blues thought they’d scored again when Gabriel Jesus headed home, however the Brazilian was adjudged to be offside. But the striker wasn’t to be denied, and it was de Bruyne again, crossing from the right and Jesus adjusted himself to head the ball home.

From then on, City took complete control as Liverpool fell apart. Ageuro through on goal would usually result in the striker going for goal himself, but he unselfishly laid the ball to Jesus who slotted in with his left foot. Three become four as Leroy Sane got in on the act, converting Benjamin Mendy’s pass, before sealing the victory with a curling left foot shot from the edge of the area.

If a statement was needed, City had just provided it.

13th September 2017 – Feyenoord 0-4 Manchester City

The Champions League had been a thorn in City’s side. They had reached the semi-final two seasons earlier but fell to Real Madrid. The group stages always seemed to pose problems, so City’s trip to Feyenoord was met with interpidation. But it needn’t have, as City raced into a three goal lead before half time. John Stones headed City into the lead after just two minutes to score City’s fastest ever goal in the competition.

Eight minutes later, Aguero made it 2-0, volleying home Kyle Walker’s cross. It was the Argentine’s 23rd goal in 41 Champions League appearances for City, and put the blues fully in command. Less than fifteen minutes later, City had effectively won the game. Gabriel Jesus, making his Champions League debut, slotted into an empty net after Benjamin Mendy’s shot had been parried by the keeper into his path.

And it was Stones again who wrapped up the game, scoring City’s fourth on 63 minutes with another header. The fans couldn’t believe what they were seeing and the pundits marvelled at City’s dominance. They began to realise that, if City turned in this type of performance in the Premier League, there wouldn’t be a team that could stop them winning it.

16th September 2017 – Watford 0-6 Manchester City

City travelled to Watford on the back of two amazing results, scoring nine goals and conceding none. It was an ominous task for Watford to stop them, particularly since the blues won 5-0 at Vicarage Road on the final day of the previous season, but The Hornets themselves were unbeaten in the league, and boasted holding Liverpool to a 3-3 draw on the opening day. Could they continue their fine form?

Watford themselves could have gone top with a win, but as soon Aguero headed home a Kevin de Bruyne free kick on 27 minutes to give City the lead, there was only ever going to be one winner. The Argentine made it 2-0 four minutes later, once again set up by the brilliant David Silva.

Two became three on 37 minutes as Gabriel Jesus continued his blossoming partnership with Aguero, beating the offside trap and drilling home Aguero’s cut back for his fifth goal of the season. 3-0 at the break and City were rampant. The signs were not good for The Hornets or the rest of the league.

It didn’t get any better for Watford. A City corner was taken by Silva, which found the head of Nicolas Otamendi to make it 4-0. Aguero then completed his hat-trick, poking the ball home after a solo charge into the Watford penalty area, before Raheem Sterling made it 6-0 with a penalty, after the winger was brought down in the box.

After an unimpressive start, fifteen goals without reply in three games propelled City to the Premier League summit and the rest of the league finally sat up and took notice.

20th September 2017 – West Brom 1-2 Manchester City

City started their assault for the League Cup at fellow Premier League side West Brom at The Hawthorns

Leroy Sane gave the blues the lead after just three minutes on the clock, following up after Ilkay Gundogan’s shot had been saved. But the Baggies were not going to take a heavy defeat like City’s previous opponents and equalised after 70 minutes when Claudio Yacob, whose tackle led to Gundogan being substituted, scored for the home side.

But City’s march to Wembley would not be stopped and Sane put City back in front five minutes later with a superb left foot shot that finally beat Baggies keeper Ben Foster

23rd September 2017 – Manchester City 5-0 Crystal Palace

By the time Crystal Palace arrived, City had scored 22 goals in all competitions. Palace by contrast had scored three, all in the League Cup and were yet to find the back of the net in the Premier League this season.

But the Eagles decided today would be a good day to be resolute and kept City’s rampant side at bay for most of the match, and the blues had to wait until the 44th minute to score. Leroy Sane provided a classy finish, latching onto David’s Silva’s pass and chipping it over the keeper, before tapping home. The goal seemed to demoralise Palace, who had worked hard to keep City at bay, but at 1-0, there was always a chance they could come back into the match.

That hope disappeared six minutes into the second half. Raheem Sterling converted Sane’s glorious cross and the revitalised winger made it 3-0 eight minutes later, scoring from Aguero’s cut back. The Argentine scored the fourth with his head following another cross by the excellent Sane and Fabian Delph finished the scoring with a fierce strike in the 89th minute.

It was harsh on Palace, but the City goal machine rolled on. The only blot was an injury to new signing Benjamin Mendy, which would keep him out of action until April. Well, on the pitch anyway as his Twitter account will show there was no way to keep the man silent for long.

26th September 2017 – Manchester City 2-0 Shakhtar Donetsk

City’s second match of the Champions League saw Ukrainian side Shakhtar arrive in Manchester. The blues expected a difficult match against the unpredictable side who could be brilliant one game, awful the next.

And it did prove to be a tough test for City, but the task was made easier when Kevin de Bruyne exchanged passes with David Silva, before curling an effort past the keeper to send City in 1-0 at the break.

Shakhtar had their chances but failed to take them. Meanwhile Sergio Aguero was looking to for the one goal that would break Eric Brooks’ all-time goal City goal-scoring record. But it wasn’t to be as it was Raheem Sterling who wraped up the game following Bernardo Silva’s cutback.

The result saw City top the group, three points clear of their opponents, but with a home game against Napoli on the horizon.

30th September 2017 - Chelsea 0-1 Manchester City

The blues biggest test would undoubtedly come at Stamford Bridge, the home of the current champions. City hadn’t conceded in the league throughout the month and were top of the table on goal difference from Manchester United.

But City were without Sergio Aguero for the match after the striker hurt his ribs in a car accident whilst at a concert in Amsterdam, much to the annoyance of some of the faithful.

However, the blues showed they could play without their star man, and threatened Chelsea on many occasions before Kevin de Bruyne scored the only goal of the game. His terrific left foot shot on the edge of the area flew past the keeper and gave City a lead they would never surrender.

The blues remained top on goal difference and was the perfect end to a month that had seen City win all seven of their matches, scoring 25 and conceding just one.

It was the form of champions, a form they would never really give up.