Pep Guardiola’s sensational start at Manchester City has frightened the life out of defenders already
City’s rivals are running scared
It is no coincidence that Manchester City have been awarded four penalties in their first three games of the season.
Pep Guardiola’s embarrassment of riches up front is frightening the life out of defenders in the Premier League and abroad.
Every time Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Kevin de Bruyne or Raheem Sterling enter the box it looks like it will result in a goal or a penalty.
The fluidity of their movement and intricate one-touch play is a joy to watch and is leaving defenders chasing shadows.
Nolito came on as a cameo and still ended up with two goals – while Kelechi Iheanacho provides yet more fire-power from the bench.
With Leroy Sane still to come into the fold and Brazilian sensation Gabriel Jesus set to arrive in January – City’s attack has the potential to be devastating.
Fans still love Hart and Yaya
City fans sent Guardiola a resounding message following his treatment of Joe Hart and Yaya Toure.
First they chanted ‘Don’t sell Hart’ – and were later in fine voice with an ode to Toure.
Hart looks certain to leave after being dropped for Willy Caballero, while Toure’s future is uncertain after being left out of City’s squad altogether for the opening three games of the season
Guardiola has already charmed the City faithful – but they have made it clear that they don’t agree with the decision to overlook two of the club’s stalwarts.
Caballero’s kicking is making a mockery of Guardiola’s Hart claims
Another errant clearance from Caballero was joyously seized upon by Stoke fans.
‘Joe Hart wouldn’t do that’ they chanted.
Guardiola has every right to demand that his keepers are good with the ball at their feet – but his insistence on playing Caballero ahead of Hart is beginning to look a little silly – and more a case of proving a point.
Claudio Bravo is set to sign – and it will be interesting to see the reaction the first time he mis-places a pass.
What’s Fernandinho’s future?
Guardiola is a big fan of the Brazilian – but the question is where he will fit into this system when Gundogan recovers from his dislocated knee.
Ilkay Gundogan is eyeing a return from injury
Fernandinho has been dropping into the centre of defence when City are in possession, with the two full backs tucking into midfield.
With Nicolas Otamendi still failing to convince and Vincent Kompany out injured, perhaps he will take up a position alongside John Stones as soon as Gundogan is ready to take up a central midfield role.
Sterling will need a thick skin
The England international was met with jeers from the moment he first touched the ball at the Bet365 Stadium – a hangover from his performances at Euro 2016.
But he responded in perfect fashion with another display brimming with menace.
He’s made a sensational start to the season, with Guardiola already making him look like a £50m player.