The most obvious factor was the lack of a regular striker due to injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. – GETTY IMAGES
One of the strangest topics from the opening quarter of the Premier League season was Manchester City’s toothless attacking performance, who only scored 10 goals in their first eight games and finished 13th in the 20-man standings. Place occupied.
This is the same city that looted 102 goals last season and ended the top scorer in England’s top division for the seventh time in the last 10 campaigns.
The same city that has scored 303 goals in the last three seasons, 45 more than the next team on the list during that time, Liverpool.
How can a team with such an offensive pedigree struggle so hard to score a goal with one of the most expensive lines of strikers led by one of the most offensive managers in football history? five goals in the last six games and behind Crystal Palace and Brighton on the Premier League goal chart?
« We’re the same, but that’s football, » said city manager Pep Guardiola after his team failed to score for the first time this season in a 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Saturday.
« Sometimes one season is completely different from another. We’ll find the way to get better a little bit. «
City is far from being « the same » as Guardiola suggests. The team lacked important ingredients that could explain its problems in advance.
The most obvious factor was the lack of a regular striker due to injuries to Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus. Aguero, the club’s most successful goalscorer, was limited to two starts and 110 minutes this season due to injury.
Jesus was only available for three league games after missing six weeks with a leg injury. Both players are back but it may take some time to get sharp again, especially 32 year old Aguero who has made five appearances in eight months.
« I want Sergio to be fit because I know how important he is to us and what he did in the Premier League, » said Guardiola.
That could come on Wednesday against Olympiakos in the Champions League, in which City has scored nine goals in three games in a cheap group.
Another change is the absence of David Silva, the midfielder who ended his 10-year stint at City to join Real Sociedad in Spain in the off-season. Guardiola broke form by playing Silva and Kevin de Bruyne as two playmakers in a central midfield three, giving City creativity and vision on either side of the field.
Now the team’s creativity is completely through De Bruyne and this over-reliance means attacks are easier to read. De Bruyne, who does not have a suitable striker, has also missed a focus for his search crosses.
« We play the first two thirds of the pitch very well, but the ending needs to be sharper. «
This should be the season Phil Foden thrived after a breakthrough in the 2019-20 season, but it seems that the highly rated English striker still needs Guardiola’s full trust.
The 20-year-old Foden has not started any of City’s last four league games despite the threat he poses while playing.
In a few minutes he has scored two goals from City so far. With Ferran Torres and Riyad Mahrez battling for a spot on the forward line off-season, Guardiola seems uncertain on his top three fronts, which is why Foden should expect to remain on the team and drop out.
City notably have a negative goal difference after eight games and only six teams have scored fewer goals. These stats seem incredulous for a City’s quality team and do not do justice to some of their games.
City beat Tottenham 22: 4 on Saturday, but still lost 0: 2. With 23 shots, City doubled the number that Leeds tried 1-1 in their exciting match in early October.
De Bruyne missed a penalty in the first half in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool that could have changed the game.
However, the overall quality of the opportunities is very low with Understat. com, which is recording the expected goals and assists and assessing Guardiola’s team, only expected 8 points. So far 5 goals from the open game this season.
Expect that to change though: City’s next four home games will be against Burnley, Fulham, West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle, all below the last six. If the attack situation doesn’t improve on this stretch, City really has problems.
Manchester City F. . C.. . , Pep Guardiola, Lionel Messi, FC Barcelona, Premier League, UEFA Champions League
EbeneMagazine – AU – The productive Manchester City is struggling to score again