Man City are finally getting reward for what they’ve worked at in Premier League title race – Simon Bajkowski


Man City get reward for beating Leicester away

A dangerously in-form Manchester City ran into a worryingly patchy Leicester and the contest took less than 25 minutes to become a rout – even if the second half did threaten an incredible comeback. Keep this sort of form up and Pep Guardiola’s side will surely be champions again.

But it is also important to remember back to September, when the Blues travelled to the King Power without a win to their name away from the Etihad – including a Community Shield defeat to the Foxes at Wembley.

It was a tight match that could have gone either way but City scrapped for every ball and Bernardo Silva snuck in to get the only goal of the game just after the hour-mark.

If Guardiola’s players hadn’t fought so hard when they were understrength and out of form, they may not have had the platform they do now to stretch their lead at the top of the table.

Beating Leicester away will have been as important as Leicester at home if City are to be champions again.

Sterling back to his best

Raheem Sterling now has five goals in consecutive league games for the first time since September 2017 when he was turning himself into the goalscoring machine that Guardiola wasn’t convinced was in there.

It hasn’t been a happy 2021 for Sterling at club level but he has shown his determination and quality to fight his way back into the side and is now seeing the rewards for him and his team.

Even more promising than the goals is the confidence. From the first minute, he was tearing into opponents to leave them running scared of diving in. When Youri Tielemans carelessly did in the box, it brought the penalty for Sterling to smash home.

Walker absence reveals his consistency

This was the third straight game that Kyle Walker failed to make the City matchday squad, and before that he was an unused substitute against Wolves.

The last time City went four games without using Walker it was because he was still under contract at Tottenham. England’s right-back wants to play every match, and it is to the credit of his fitness and consistency that in more than four years at the Etihad this is the longest he has had out of the team.

City collapse can’t stop momentum

Six out of six wins for December with a game to go and nine league victories in a row for City. Another five goals and another win for the annual tallies that have already smashed records in the top flight of English football.

City were not as sharp as Guardiola wanted in the second half as they needlessly gave Leicester a route back into the match, but they did enough to keep improving their position in the table and the record books.

Cancelo puts in the defensive work

Leicester were cut to shreds every time City went at them in the first half but they did trouble Ederson at the other end. By half-time they had had eight shots at goal to City’s ten.

Cancelo made fewer attacking contributions than he did against Newcastle but he did produce a few moments in his own box that are less likely to make Match of the Day but were important in helping City keep control of the game in the first half. It won’t get him fantasy league points but it will keep him in favour with Guardiola.

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