FA CUP: Manchester City Go From Panic To Paradise
By Mac Izu Nelson
In the last six games, Manchester City has lost just once; the 1-0 loss to Liverpool.
But because their season so far has been stop start, that defeat created an aura of panic, and feelings of pressure all through the squad.
This was most witnessed in Pep Guardiola’s interview after the Burnley game.
It was a game which Manchester City had just edged with a 2-1 win, but despite the victory, Pep Guardiola appeared ready to burst, like a lid had been placed over a volcano.
He was on the edge there, he had just watched his expensively assembled team suffer against a recently promoted Burnley team. Those were exactly the type of games he was employed for…to create a juggernaut of a team which would walk over relatively easy fixtures.
But what a difference a few days makes.
Because last night’s FA cup encounter against West Ham saw Manchester City get their groove back.
The 5-0 bashing of West Ham was a timely display of Manchester City at their flabbergasting best.
West Ham, a strong Premier League side, whose sole purpose is to consistently remain a thorn in the sides of the traditional Premier League giants, were ripped apart by incisive Manchester City play.
Such was the fluidity to City’s play that every attack seemed capable of producing yet another goal.
The first goal was the result of an exquisite yet cliché David Silva pass; a cut back to an arriving full back, which in this case was the aged Pablo Zabaleta who was deployed in midfield for the game.
It was a contentious penalty decision but Yaya Toure did not mind. He dispatched it with all the swagger of a man at the prime of his life.
The second goal was more of the same kind of incisive play.
West Ham were opened up on the right by clever and intricate passing by Manchester City, before a Barcary Sagna cross led to an own goal by West Ham defender, Harvard Nordveit.
The third goal arrived shortly after that, a through ball from midfield found Raheem Sterling who cleverly isolated and dribbled past the West Ham defenders before laying on a pass for the impressive David Silva. Calmly, Silva tucked the round leather into the net.
Fourth and fifth goals were more fortuitous than the first two.
Fourth goal which was scored by Sergio Aguero was the result of a scoffed Yaya Toure shot, and the fifth goal was a header by John Stone which just crossed the line before the West Ham defender cleared the net bound effort away.
The City players, who elected not to go on a warm weather break to the Middle East after this game, now have the weekend off and nine days before their next match. After the crazy Christmas schedule, it will feel like a whole summer off, whether they spend it in Dubai or Didsbury.
In the space of four days they have gone from panic to paradise.