…and, so, where does yesterday's victory leave us with ‘7 to go’; following other weekend results and with 2 more Sunday league games to play?
Makes for decent reading at the mo…
I’m unlikely to be doing a post-weekend analysis every week from now until the end of the season but with it-being the first of what I recently called a mini-season; I thought I’d quickly ‘put one out’.
Firstly, I thought our performance yesterday afternoon was very good on the whole – high-pace-energy for most of the game; good pressing and calm, assured defending.
Notable performances are plentiful from yesterday’s South Coast trip; I personally would 'give a nod to' Willy Caballero for a fine display in the ‘green jersey’, Nicholas Otamendi who displayed the talent we all knew was there (stepping up & out of defence with class at times) and both Fernando & Fernandinho for both-excellent defensive and attacking work respectively.
David Silva had a superb first half before fading slightly in the second; Kevin De Bruyne looked like he’d never been away with a skilful execution for most of the 57 minutes he was on the pitch (and away from home too!) and Sergio Aguero capped of a workmanlike and Pep Guardiola-like performance with some excellent retrieving / supporting work both deep & wide-right; with a delightfully looping-headed goal for our 3rd.
Even a mention for Aleks Kolarov - who, when he came on, looked-to-me-like he’d gained some weight and looked a little ‘plodding’ after so few appearances in recent weeks – suddenly, and with some real skill, burst through the Bournemouth defence and blasted an angled shot into the very top-far corner of the net. Excellent goal!
Good to see Samir Nasri get a run-out too; covering lots of ground yesterday and with a smile on his face.
With Chelsea (still) so far away from us in the league I wasn’t bothered about their game against doomed Aston Villa just before our match; aside from wanting The Pensioners’ keeper to keep a clean sheet for my Fantasy Football team.
But there were so many other results we needed some help from on Saturday and, for the most part, we got ‘em too!
The worst result was seeing Arsenal also blast themselves to a 4-0 victory at home to rapidly-fading & falling Watford. Aside from that – and so far this weekend – it was pretty good.
With Stoke City not…THAT far behind us before the weekend (just 5 points), 2 ‘dropped points’ at home to 15th-placed Swansea City was a very welcome sight. And thanks to a 75-minute Crystal Palace equaliser against West Ham United; The Hammers too dropped the same amount of points at home, which was a slightly shocking, but again, very welcome outcome indeed.
Want more dropped points? Well this next one is kind of a ‘double whammy’.
Liverpool were “only” 7 points behind us before Saturday and with a game in hand…and, so, a 1-1 draw at Anfield against Tottenham Hotspur was another dent in their European-chasing, season-end run…and another boost to us! On the flip side of that, Spurs’ Harry Kane has already stated that the outcome was, to them, 2-dropped points rather than a ‘good away point’ in their pursuit of Leicester City in the title race…and we’ve gained on them too of course; closing the gap to 8 points and with a game in hand over the North Londoners.
Decent weekend then…and with Manyoo at home to [their] bogey-side Everton this afternoon, we might see even MORE ‘dropped points’! C’mon you Toffees!
Now…here’s a dilemma. League Champions elect, Leicester, host Southampton today and so those, like Manuel Pellegrini and City fans who are even more ‘glass half full’ than I am most of the time, will be urging The Saints on this afternoon in the earlier of the two KOs. However, is that such a good thing?
Surely with just 21 points to play for and being 12 points behind Leicester we’re not gonna win the league this year. I never say never…but I did give up on ‘the title’ for the most part after our unhelpful & dismal draw at Carrow Road the other week.
Being realistic, we’re now in a scrap for 3rd or 4th place…maaaaaaybe a chance of 2nd…but that’s very unlikely also (whilst also 'fending off' pursuers in a fight also to avoid slipping into a Europa slot or worse I might add).
And so baring in mind our league form - in terms of us-struggling to put back-to-back wins together - being as painful as it is; do we REALLY want Southampton to pull just 4 points behind us again…even though we’d still have a game in hand? I don’t know about you but the least amount of teams ‘breathing down our necks’ the better…
So there you have it – some excellent results (ours included) yesterday and with-still the possibility for a couple more belters this afternoon.
And with me predicting us to-end that dreary record of not-having won back-to-back Premier League games since October 2015 at home to West Bromwich Albion next Saturday (5:30pm KO BST); with Arsenal having to go to West Ham AND with Liverpool / Stoke & Spurs / Manyoo all slugging it out between them; I’ve got a feeling we’re in for another league-boosting weekend to come.