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Manchester City Season Review – September

Blues Survive Tough Month

Oxford United v Manchester City - Carabao Cup Third Round Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Having navigated two tricky away ties, the blues faced a tough month, with six league and cup matches, and would call on the resilience of the entire squad if they were to continue to challenge on all four fronts. First up, Newcastle.

1st September - Newcastle

A busy September began with a visit from struggling Newcastle. The Toon had lost two and drawn one of their opening matches and were third from bottom in the league. The blues had won their last ten home games against Newcastle, and went in search of a win that would keep them in touch with early pacesetters Liverpool.

The winning run looking likely to continue as Raheem Sterling gave City the lead after just eight minutes. Benjamin Mendy intercepted an attempted clearance and passed to Raheem Sterling, who cut inside and curled his shot beyond the keeper into the back of the net.

It seemed like the blues would coast to yet another victory and should have been out of sight by the 30 minute mark, when the visitors made them pay for missing a host of chances. The City defence backed off from a Newcastle attack to allow Saloman Rondo’s cross to be met unchallenged for DeAndre Yedlin to drive home.

But seven minutes into the second half, City restored their lead. Sterling squared to Aguero, who thought about a shot, but instead laid the ball across to Kyle Walker, whose right foot shot flew past the Newcastle defence and keeper to nestle into the bottom corner.

The blues continued to miss a whole host of chances, but in the end, Newcastle had no reply and City recorded another three points to keep pace with Chelsea and Liverpool at the top.

Final Score: Manchester City 2-1 Newcastle

15th September – Fulham

The second of the newly promoted sides to face the blues, Fulham arrived in Manchester with a plan to stifle the blues attack. It last around 90 seconds.

Fernandinho broke forward and laid the ball to Leroy Sane, who scored after just 92 seconds. City looked like they would blow the visitors away but again failed to take their chances, until David Silva made to 2-0 on 21 minutes. Bernardo Silva, who was instrumental throughout the match, got away down the right and his ball into the box was met by Silva to score his 50th Premier League goal.

Sensing this season would closer than last, the blues went in search of goals, and Sterling duly abided two minutes into the second half, converting Aguero’s cross from close range.

The blues continued to press, but couldn’t make their superior possession count, and settled for just the three goals and their first home clean sheet of the season.

Final Score: Manchester City 3-0 Fulham

19th September – Lyon

City had been handed what looked like a generous Champions League group, facing Lyon, Hoffenheim and Shakhtar Donetsk for the second season in succession. The blues were expected to qualify convincingly, and maybe were a little complacent against the French side.

Last season, City won five out of six Champions League matches as teams crumbled before us. But Lyon were made of sterner stuff and took the lead on 26 minutes. An attack down the left was met by Cornet at the far post to rifle home and stun the home supporters.

On the stroke of half time, City lost the ball on halfway and Lyon surged forward in a move that ended with Fekir driving home to make it 2-0. It wasn’t exactly the start the blues wanted.

City fought back in the second half, but were almost destroyed as a brilliant Lyon move ended with the woodwork being struck on 59 minutes. The visitors feared they would rue that missed chance as Leroy Sane danced along the left side before passing to Bernardo Silva, who fired home to give blues fans hope. But as always, it’s the hope that kills you and the blues couldn’t find another and ended with a first defeat of the season.

Final Score: Manchester City 1-2 Lyon

22nd September – Cardiff

The last time City went to Cardiff in the Premier League, Manuel Pellegrini’s side were defeated 3-2, and Pep Guardiola’s outfit were not only eager to avoid a repeat, but there was a desire to avenge their shock defeat to Lyon. And they did it in style against the Premier League’s new boys.

But it took the blues32 minutes to break Cardiff’s resistance, and once it happened, the floodgates opened. Aguero swept home the opener, finding a yard of space in the penalty area and firing into the bottom corner. Three minutes later, Bernardo Silva made it 2-0, meeting Leroy Sane’s deft cross and cleverly flicking the ball with his head over the keeper.

A minute before half time, Ilkay Gundogan got in on the act and made it three. Sane, who was injured on this ground in last season’s FA Cup tie, started the move, passing to his compatriot, who played a quick one-two with to Sterling, before curling home from the edge of the area.

A slick City move resulted in Riyad Mahrez claiming his first City goal following his summer move from Leicester. Sterling played in Gundogan on the left, and his cross was met by Mahrez to tap home number four.

City weren’t finished and on 89 minutes, Mahrez made the most of a defensive error, picking up a poor clearance in the Cardiff box and curling in City’s fifth of the afternoon.

Final Score: Cardiff 0-5 Manchester City

25th September – Oxford United

The League Cup holders faced a potential banana skin in the form of League One Oxford. City had lost in previous rounds to lower league opposition, and blues fans were fully aware of the threat their hosts posed, despite their lowly league status.

But despite the hype, and the hope of the pundits, Oxford rarely posed a threat and it was no surprise when the blues took the lead. Working from the back, the ball found its way to Phil Foden, whose magnificent diagonal ball picked out Riyad Mahrez, and his dinked cross was headed home by Gabriel Jesus to make it 1-0.

City looked to kill the hosts off, but again were missing good chances to increase the lead, until a bit of Foden magic made the game safe. Charging forward, Foden played another diagonal ball across field to again find Mahrez, and the Algerian converted to send City through.

But Foden wasn’t finished and he capped a marvellous display with a goal of his own. Collecting a pass inside the area, Foden’s smashed a left footed shot beyond the keeper that nestled into the bottom corner. City were safely through, but it was clear that City had unearthed a gem in Foden.

Final Score: Oxford United 0-3 Manchester City

29th September – Brighton

City hit top spot on goal difference with a simple victory over Brighton. The result was never really in doubt once Raheem Sterling had given the blues the lead on 29 minutes. The visitors attacked, but City won the ball back and raced away on a lightning break, which ended with Leroy Sane’s cross being converted by Sterling.

Brighton offered little in return as City laid siege to the Brighton goal, and got their reward on 65 minutes. Aguero surged forward and laid the ball off to Sterling, who returned the pass to guide the ball home.

The blues went top, albeit for a few hours until Chelsea and Liverpool draw, which meant City stayed there for another match at least.

Final Score: Manchester City 2-0 Brighton