After a rough night at the Molineux, Manchester City bounced back at home, coming out 2-0 winners against a high-flying Sheffield United side at the Etihad Stadium.
Here’s what we learned on Sunday evening in Manchester…
Aguero Opportunistic As Always
Although it wasn’t an all-time great performance from the Argentine, Sergio Aguero provided a touch of class when Manchester City needed it most, slotting home a match-deciding goal in the 52nd minute. The finish itself was classic Aguero, slotting home Kevin De bruyne’s through ball first-time at the near post. It was clear from watching he’s not back up to full match fitness just yet, but the effort was there from the opening whistle until his substitution in the 81st minute.
VAR Stars Once Again
Officiating was a huge factor in the match at both ends of the pitch. First, Lys Mousset had an opening goal ruled out by VAR, after he was adjudged to have been millimetres offside.
City were then the beneficiaries of some officiating controversy when referee Chris Kavanagh appeared to obstruct a Sheffield United defender in the build-up to Sergio Aguero’s opener. Kavanagh allowed play to continue, as he did not actually touch the ball – a decision VAR upheld. While both were the correct decisions, seeing Manchester City benefit from VAR at the Etihad was surprising considering recent history.
Garcia Takes His Chance
18-year-old Eric Garcia was rewarded his first Premier League start by Pep Guardiola and did not disappoint. The teenager looked wise beyond his years, playing out from the back with confidence and demonstrating poise throughout the night. With a lack of fitness and quality at centre-back, for Manchester City, the sky is truly the limit for the former Barcelona academy star.
De Bruyne a Dual-Threat Once Again
It was business as usual for the Belgian as he set up Sergio’s strike, while adding one of his own in the 82nd minute, deservedly picking up the Man of the Match honours. Guardiola needs to find the right personel to allow De Bruyne to play further up the pitch if he wants to make the most of his offensive abilities. His assist tally is now up to 12 for the season (although Kevin seems to disagree), which has him just eight shy of the all-time assist record (20) set by Thierry Henry in 2003. With 18 games remaining, he has a real chance of breaking the record if he can avoid injury in 2020.
Claudio Bravo Keeps a Rare City Clean Sheet
For just the second time in their past 15 matches in all competitions, Manchester City were able to hold their opponents off the score-sheet for an entire 90 minutes. Claudio Bravo will be thanking his back-line as the Chilean keeper didn’t face a single shot on target all night. While Sheffield are known more so for their solidity at the back, Pep and co. will be happy to have kept a clean sheet regardless, especially after conceding three times away to Wolves on Friday night.
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