More points dropped for Manchester City as Pep Guardiola enjoys his worst start to a campaign in his managerial career.
Both Man City and Liverpool were tested severely on Saturday. The former, unable to create a better fate for themselves. The latter, far from fantastic but buckled up for the ride and brought home the goods.
The previous back-to-back champions are finding life in the Premier League challenging in these early days. They travelled to London Stadium and battled it out against a determined West Ham side.
The worst bit for these two EPL-title favourites (Liverpool and Man City) are playing against teams who sit back and defend with a low block, which is almost every one of their opponents. They enjoy boatloads of possession but one counter-attack, set-piece, or VAR decision gone wrong, and the game flips in their opponents’ favour.
Much like it was on Saturday, Man City enjoyed 70% of the game’s ball possession but could still only manage to secure a point. They had the ball at their feet for almost all of the first half but Murphy’s law prevailed 18 minutes into the game.
Hammerhead of the line, Michail Antonio, scored arguably one of the goals of the season (IMO Manuel Lanzini equaliser against Spurs is still the top contender for goal of the season) to put the home side up 1-0.
But just after halftime (the 51st minutes) Pep’s forced but brilliant switch from Sergio Aguero to Phil Foden paid off with a point. His leveller was the second goal of the game and also the first and last of the second half.
Is Pep’s time ticking away?
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So… Times are changing for the Spaniard as he is no longer feared by the teams sitting below them. Dropping points appear to be a new norm and will probably continue throughout the season if something new isn’t thought up quickly.
From the 15 points played for over five games, Man City have dropped seven and only picked up eight. After their shocking draw against the Hammers, they now sit in 12th place and are still not on double digits in their points tally.
Last season they lost a total of nine games and draw three, collecting a total of 81 points from a possible 114. That’s a huge total of 33 points dropped. They’ve already now drawn two games and lost one, declaring the pattern is real.
Adding to this and over a longer stretch is the Man City curse. A curse they’ve had looming over them for the past 25 years and still counting. They’ve only ever won one away game when chasing it from one goal behind. Not even Pep power can change their fate.
Man City over 25 years
Games played – 104 away games
Wins – 1 Win
Draws – 1 Draw
Losses – 90 Losses
Man City’s away record when losing is astonishing 😳 pic.twitter.com/hAnIg4nTzX
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) October 24, 2020
Any other manager would be gone
A weak challenge for the Premier League title last season, falling behind the race by 18 points and still only able to reach the quarter-finals of the Champions League should be questioned.
Now following it up with his worst start to a season, how long before it’s too late for Pep? We’ve seen managers sacked for less, but it must be reminded, he is a level above many.
Nonetheless, as things stand, should the Citizens be looking at possible Pep replacements? He hasn’t signed a new deal, so a new manager could be on the cards but only next season though.