The festive period is truly upon us, and games are coming thick and fast. Following the Champions League win against Dinamo Zagreb midweek, City travelled to London to take on Arsenal. Pep Guardiola’s side were ruthless in the first half, bringing three points back to Manchester with a comfortable 3-0 win. The clinical nature of the first half is something we have not see much so far this campaign.
We’ve got a hectic winter schedule coming up, but before all of that, here are five things we learned from City’s victory at the Emirates…
Kevin De Bruyne is quite good at football…
Whilst Manchester City have struggled to find their top form, De Bruyne was performing at the high level we expect from him. The Belgian has been in stunning form this campaign and took it to another level tonight at the Emirates. With two goals and one assist, he was the centrepiece of every City attack, with us looking threatening every time we got forward. City will be looking to call on their catalyst more and more as the season goes on, especially in the coming weeks. So far, De Bruyne has shown every indication that he is up for the task.
Phil Foden NEEDS to start more often
With a goal and an assist in midweek, Foden earned a start in this match with the youngster being frustrated at a lack of time this season. Guardiola has maintained that Foden is ready and that his time will come. Now, with the chance to prove his place in the side, Foden provided exactly that. The 19-year-old took his opportunity to further prove this against Arsenal. He consistently linked well with the likes of Jesus, Sterling and De Bruyne. As well, he showed his versatility, as these four often worked interchangeably depending on the situation throughout the match. Foden will be looking to carry on in this manner during the winter period, with a good amount of rotation needed during the flurry of matches.
Fernandinho’s defensive presence
He needed a little time to get a full understanding of his new role, but Fernandinho has become City’s best defender by a comfortable amount in the absence of Aymeric Laporte. The Brazilian is a massively calming presence besides the revolving position beside him between Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones. With 6 recoveries and 2 interceptions capping off his defensive duties, he also allowed City to bypass Arsenal’s attempted press.
Finding form for the holidays?
Two positive performances following last weekend’s disappointing Manchester Derby have set up City nicely for the holiday period. In both games, we have seen flashes of the free-flowing attacking play City have had on showcase for the past two years, which has been lacking to begin this one. The attacking players were given the freedom to move around the pitch as they saw fit. Sterling drifted from side to side, Foden and De Bruyne interchanged between playing in these wide positions and in the centre of midfield. It was clear to see in the first half that they were all on the same page, which is a very good sign.
Benjamin Mendy getting back on track?
Mendy has had a torrid time this campaign, as he’s looked to regain the form he had before injuries took their toll. With Oleksandr Zincehnko injured, the Frenchmen has been battling with Angelino to gain a hold on the starting place on the left side of defence. Against Dinamo Zagreb, Mendy looked like he could be turning a corner. An assist on top of a positive performance meant he kept his place in the side for Arsenal. While he’s still a long way from the Mendy we saw storm the Emirates on the first match of last campaign, he is continuing to make progress and gaining his feet in the side.
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