It’s one of the most difficult things to achieve: Out-doing yourself when you have done a lot already. After last season’s accomplishments, Manchester City needs to add another weapon to the armoury: Efficiency.
The team broke records last season by becoming the first to win the domestic treble in a single campaign. When you add the Community Shield to the collection, it becomes even more remarkable. But then, there is still more to do.
Retaining the Premier League title is one thing. Winning it back-to-back for the third consecutive year is another. It’s something special.
Only lifting the Champions League beats it.
These are the goals manager Pep Guardiola and his men are pursuing. And so the stakes are as high as could be. The big question remains: Can City do it? The answer: We will have to wait until season’s end to know.
For now, the team must use each game as a stepping stone to glory.
Having began the new Premier League campaign on a high against West Ham, much was expected from the team as Tottenham came visiting. The Lillywhites put a dent on City’s success last term. Knocking the Cityzens out of the Champions League hurt. It still hurts many a City fan to date. What could possibly soothe that pain for me is for the Sky Blues to beat Tottenham in a major final and lift the trophy. The should pay for deny the club it's first Champions League crown.
Until then, coming to the Etihad Stadium to hold City to a draw rubs salt to the wound.
Much has been said about the role of VAR in the whole matter. Yet, no one really cares about VAR that much when the team wins, comfortably. Guardiola has wondered why there has been inconsistency regarding its application. For whatever reason the technology seems determined to work against City. And that’s especially so when the team at the other end is Tottenham.
But the main reason for City’s pain is losing out as a result of fine margins. Nevertheless, the blame is still more at our doorstep than at anywhere else. The game on Saturday could have quite easily ended 5 or 6-2. The Sky Blues were unbelievably wasteful. The match statistics tell it all.
In a game where City dominated from start to finish, Tottenham deserved nothing more than a defeat. With 30 shots, 10 on target. Overall ball possession at 56%, 13 corner kicks to the opponent’s 2, there’s no reason to settle for a draw and quarrel over a last minute equaliser that was disallowed.
To put things into perspective, Tottenham had just three shots all game. Two of them were on target. And guess what? They were both goals. That, right there is efficiency. It’s something the home team lacked. And in the spirit of looking inward rather than pointing the finger anywhere else but home, we’ll have to admit the truth. Man City lost two points on the day as a result of wastefulness, not VAR.
Moving forward, fixing that should be the focus for the manager. Not on factors outside our control. Rules are rules and can work against anyone. As was the case against West Ham, VAR didn’t affect City. When a team, any team has 30 shots in a game and scores just two goals, it’s time for some shooting practice.
That will definitely come in handy in difficult situations, especially against other top teams on the continent.