With Liverpool’s narrow win against Watford, the top four run-in takes on a new significance because the Reds’ final few games contain fewer banana skins than those of Manchester City.
My overriding feeling in City’s recent games has been an impression of sterile domination as the Blues try again and again to score the same type of goal. This involves a patient probing build-up in hopes of releasing a wide player to square a ball across the penalty area for Aguero, ideally, to tap-in.
But our final four opponents look very well drilled and keep men behind the ball. Against Southampton, City could not find a way through until a corner was won from which Kompany nodded in.
Yes, a corner!
As all City fans know this season, winning a corner rarely affords us an advantage. With Edin Dzeko off making hay at Roma, we have established a pattern of away-swinging deliveries from DeBruyne and Silva which come to nothing or the employment of the short pass from a corner which…also generally comes to nothing.
Stones and Otamendi until now have really been the only possibility of a threat from this type of set-piece but it has been a very small threat.
The return of Vincent Kompany offers some hope.
However I suspect that what City must focus on is the ability to accurately strike shots at goal from outside the penalty box.
Now here I don’t mean Kolarov attempting ill-judged Hollywood efforts from 30 yards away but there was a reason why Fabian Delph‘s scorcher against Hull was received with so much joy: we rarely see this kind of goal from City these days.
My contention is that this route to goal should be given greater attention in mid-week training because we often look a very predictable and straightforward proposition for teams set up to frustrate and defend for the majority of the game in the absence of a moment of magic via a KDB/Silva through-ball or a twist of the hips wide left from Sane.
Nothing would give coaches like Allardyce and Pulis greater pleasure in the upcoming games than to watch City passing the ball around impotently in midfield.
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