Well, after all the hype that the first day of the Premier League season brings, all the excitement of seeing Jack Grealish in a Blue shirt and all the anticipation that a clash with Spurs – considering the ongoing Harry Kane saga – brought, it turned out to be something of a damp squid for City.
The blues crashed to a 1-0 defeat, which was fairly predictable considering the blues have visited Spurs’ new stadium four times and lost all four without scoring once. And with Harry Kane, Pep Guardiola’s new number one target, being left out of the Spurs squad, the feeling was that the England captain would be signing for City at some point this week.
That may well still happen, although the noises coming out of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is that a deal won’t be struck before the transfer deadline and Kane will be staying in North London. It will be a big blow to City as the blues need a striker – and soon.
Last season saw a different dimension to City’s game. Teams had learned how to play against the likes of Aguero and Jesus, although it can be argued that the latter would simply to catch him offside. Guardiola mixed it up a little and the fact that City played without a recognised striker may have thrown a few teams a little.
This provided City with another outlet as the goals continued to fly into the back of the goal. City scored 55 goals in a 21-match winning streak that sent them flying clear at the top of the league. However, City slowed a little towards the end of the season with defeats at home to Leeds, three losses to Chelsea and a surprise defeat at Brighton, and it looked like teams worked out how to play against a striker-less side.
That now seems evident again as City have played two games and lost both without scoring a goal. A striker, one in the form of Kane or the powerful presence of Erling Haaland would add a new and different dimension to City’s game. Both are strong n the air but also good with their feet with a powerful shot, meaning teams would have to adjust again to try and contain the blues.
No Need For Panic
Looking at social media yesterday and today and you’d be forgiven for thinking we were back in the 90’s and on the brink of relegation. Yes, the blues lost but come on, it’s not like we have never seen them lose before. We’ve won the opening game for the last ten seasons and haven’t failed to score on the opening weekend since a goalless draw at White Hart Lane in 2010 and, just like last season, it had to end at some point. Last season, we lost our first top division home match for the first time since 1989 – a run of 30 years which was bound to end at some point.
On Sunday, it felt like Spurs needed to prove a point – that they didn’t need Harry Kane in order to beat one of the best teams in the league and, after a difficult start for them, they achieved it. But there is absolutely no need for the faithful to panic over one result on the scale that we have seen.
City players have had less than ideal pre-season time to prepare for the rigours of the Premier League, just like last season and it is likely that the blues will take some time to find their feet again. City have not only had players at the Euros, but also at the Copa America, so it is only natural they may be a little jaded.
After Norwich, we face Arsenal, Leicester and Chelsea all within weeks of each other. These three could all feature in the title race, and securing points against them is a must. I’m not saying City threw the game against Spurs, but it is entirely possible a game plan was in place by Guardiola. Who really knows?
The important thing to remember is that a season is a long hard slog; it’s not won on the first weekend with a 5-1 home win or a 3-0 away win against a newly promoted team!