Although the blues went into October on top of the Premier League table, the Champions League was a different matter. That shock defeat at home to Lyon had made the fans nervous, and although the blues felt they had enough to qualify, second place in the table would see them face a group winner in the last sixteen. The next match was away to Hoffenheim, who were entering the Champions League for the first time in their history.
2nd October – Hoffenheim
Once again, City travelled to Germany for a Champions League tie, but instead of it being against Bayern, the blues faced a debutant team in the form of Hoffenheim. City had no idea what to expect from the German side, but after 43 seconds, they had a good idea. The City defence were opened up and Ishak Belfodil slotted home to send the home fans wild.
The lead lasted for just another six minutes when Leroy Sane’s cutback was poked home by Sergio Aguero. Leroy Sane was brought down in the area in the second half, and it looked for all the world a penalty, but the referee gave a goal-kick, but then failed to book Sane for diving.
The blues looked like they would be taking just a point home, until David Silva pounced on an error in the Hoffenheim defence to rifle his shot across goal and into the bottom corner to put City in front. The blues won 2-1, but were a point behind Lyon, who were held by Shahktar.
Final Score: Hoffenheim 1-2 Manchester City
7th October – Liverpool
It was billed as the biggest match of the season so far as the champions visited the pretenders at Anfield. City hadn’t won on the red side of Merseyside since 2003 and you had to look further back to find their previous win. The blues had lost here 4-3 last season, which was their first league defeat of the season, they had also suffered a 3-0 loss in the Champions League. Extra precautions had been put in place to prevent a repeat of the bus attack by the home supporters before that CL game last season, and thankfully, there was no recurrence.
The bleus were cautious though, as were Liverpool, with neither side wanting to open up and leave themselves exposed, and the closest anyone came to a winner was when City were awarded a late penalty as van Dijk brought down Leroy Sane.
But, with better options available, Riyad Mahrez seemed determined to take it, before blasting his kick well over the bar, much to the relief of the home fans and the anguish of blues supporters, who could have seen their team put a little distance between them and the chasing pack. It wasn’t to be and the match finished all square.
Final Score: Liverpool 0-0 Manchester City
20th October – Burnley
City were desperate to put the disappointment of missing out on all three points at Anfield behind them, so when Burnley arrived, the blues knew they had to take the opportunity. City have had a good record against the Clarets, and that looked like being extended when Aguero put City in front after 17 minutes.
It stayed that way until nine minutes into the second half, when a moment of indecision led to a second blues goal. Leroy Sane went down under a challenge inside the box, but the referee waved to play on. The Burnley defence stopped and allowed David Silva to retrieve the ball before it went out of play. Merlin crossed and Bernardo Silva swept the ball home before the Clarets had a clue what was happening.
Two minutes later, City made it 3-0 thanks to a sublime goal from Fernandinho. City were in cruise control now, and Riyad Mahrez made up for his penalty miss by adding a fourth, before Sane made it 5-0 in injury time. The result was not exactly what Joe Hart would have wanted on his first return to City since moving to Burnley in the summer, but City fans couldn’t have cared less.
Final Score: Manchester City 5-0 Burnley
23rd October - Shahktar Donetsk
The Champions League has a way of making teams repeat old battles, and this one took place almost a year earlier, which turned out to be City’s first defeat of the season in all competitions. On that occasion, the blues had already qualified for the last sixteen, having won their first five matches, but this time around, they weren’t having it all their own way, and a win was imperative for the blues.
The blues took a bit of time to get the first goal, but no sooner had they scored through David Silva, they were scoring again thanks to Aymeric Laporte. 2-0 up at half time, the win would see City go top of the table, so long as Lyon failed to win.
Bernardo Silva made it 3-0 with 20 minutes to go, while Raheem Sterling hit the bar in the dying minutes of the match. With Lyon drawing with Hoffenheim, City went top of the table, and their early defeat to Lyon was now looking like a mere blip on the very distant horizon.
Final Score: Shahktar Donetsk 0-3 Manchester City
29th October – Tottenham Hotspur
City’s second visit to Wembley this season saw them pitched this time against Spurs. The corresponding fixture last season had seen City all but clinch the title with a convincing 3-1 win, but this time, it would be a little closer.
An American football match had taken place 24 hours earlier and the pitch was still in a state of shock by the time Spurs and City took to the field, but the blues wasted little time in taking the lead.
Riyad Mahrez, who seemed to be doing all he could to gain redemption form the City fans, fired the blues in front after just six minutes, and the goal would turn out to be the winner. But City had a host of chances they did not take, and would have rued all of them had Erik Lamela not missed a chance that was easier to score.
It was another message to their rivals, that said the blues were not going to give up their title without a fight, as City went back to the top of the table on goal difference.
Final Score: Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester City