Vintage Pep has City fizzing

Pep Guardiola’s side has served up plenty of champagne football this season, albeit the last couple of wins weren’t quite vintage stuff – but nonetheless, palatable.

100% penalty not a shred of doubt – Bernardo was clearly fouled against Burnley.

The stout resistance of a bus-parking Burnley was quite rightly ended by a 100% bona fide penalty, dispatched by record-equalling Sergio Aguero, followed by a quick two goal salvo from Nicolas Otamendi and Leroy Sane.

177 and counting – Sergio scores his record-equalling goal against Burnley.

It didn’t come anywhere near the smooth flowing, sweet tasting spectacle of seeing Stoke succumb 7-2 just seven days earlier, nor the downing of a classy Italian number, as Napoli choked on a Champions League night when Manchester City mesmerised and delighted in equal measure.

Sweet Jesus – Gabriel scores as City were irresistible against highly rated Napoli.

The drinks trolley was running a tad flat as Wolves rolled into town to contest the ‘Thai Fizzy Drinks Concoction Cup’ – but a fine Chilean was ‘dusted off’ from the cellar to engage Sky Blue taste buds and save the ‘day’  for a much-changed City team.

As City head to the Hawthorns in search of a 13th consecutive win today – hopefully unlucky for WBA Club Shop wearing Tony Pulis  – Guardiola’s men have won 13 and drawn one of their opening 14 games this season.

Together – This Is What It Means To Be City…

They’ve scored 43 goals and conceded just six, sit five points clear at the top of the Premier League, as well as occupying first place in the Champions League Group F.

After Eight – Sterling put City ahead against Napoli with his eighth goal of the season and the prospect of many more to come.

It’s ironic that despite reaching the last eight, Pep more or less conceded the League Cup is a waste of energy – a competition sponsored by Carabao – an energy drinks manufacturer, who plainly couldn’t organise the proverbial in a brewery after a farcical quarter final draw.

City last lost a competitive game – controversially so in the FA Cup semi final on April 23rd – and haven’t suffered a Premier League reverse since April 5th at Chelsea, a run of 16 games undefeated.

Magnificent Seven – City smashed Stoke 7-2 in what Pep described as his finest match as City’s manager.

So when the media tried to tempt Pep with the question of whether City could go unbeaten all season long, he swiftly and quite understandably stamped on the question saying:  ‘Forget it…Next question…’

The man is a football genius, but he’s also a pragmatist, one who has learnt well and fast in respect of the pitfalls of the Premier League.

Jesus bagged a brace against Stoke, taking his season’s tally to eight.

That said, nobody expects City to come a cropper against Albion – it’d be a huge upset were it to happen – but Pulis will take encouragement from their narrow 2-1 League Cup defeat to City in September, and also from Wolves stoical resistance for 120 minutes on Tuesday night.

Statistically Albion are on a hiding to nothing having lost the last 11 league meetings with City, their last win over the Sky Blues coming back in December 2008.

Perhaps of more relevance will be the return of Ederson, Delph, Otamendi, Fernandinho and David Silva – all rested from the exhausting Wolves battle – and starting berths for Tuesday’s quartet of substitutes Stones, Walker, De Bruyne and Sane.

KDB at your service – how may I assist you? De Bruyne plays in an inch perfect pass for Jesus to score against Stoke.

Whether Sergio Aguero – veritably itching to finally hit his 178th and record-breaking City goal – starts alongside Gabriel Jesus, remains to be seen, especially with a tough trip to Naples next Wednesday.

A German international on penalty duty…there was only ever going to be one outcome as Sane buried his spot kick into the Wolves net.

Pep has attacking and midfield options with Sterling, Bernardo Silva, Gundagon and Yaya Toure, as well as defensive back up in Danilo and Adarabioyo.

Kompany is once again ruled out, but is scheduled to be back in contention within the next two weeks – great news if – if – he can stay fit and display his previous good form.

England’s number 7 and City prodigy Phil Foden has a World Cup to win this afternoon.

Had it not been for the not insignificant matter of playing for England in the U17 World Cup Final against Spain in India at 3.30pm BST today, you get the impression Phil Foden would be in the frame for some first team action.

The prodigious youngster from Stockport would undoubtedly have played against Wolves, along with the injured Brahim Diaz, and it’s clear Pep wants to see the pair push on to gain more first team experience this season.

Oustanding – Ederson and Stones have been cornerstones in Guardiola’s and City’s success so far this season.

At the other end of the spectrum you have a certain 34-year old veteran with well over 100 international caps who has finally discovered his true self in M11 3FF.

Bravo Bravo – Claudio finally won the hearts of the City faithful.

It was a case of bravo Bravo, as Claudio showed the City fans what Pep Guardiola thought he was getting from Barcelona 14 months ago.

It may only have been the Carabao Cup but with nearly 51,000 in the Etihad, Bravo’s brilliance didn’t go amiss as he successfully went one-on-one with attacking ‘Wolves’ three times, keeping City in the tie during the 90 minutes.

The night Claudio stood tall and City loved him for it. Bravo repels another Wolves attack.

Bravo was already Man of the Match long before his heroics in the penalty shoot-out, but should we have been surprised that he saved two of the three spot kicks?

He’s been his country’s hero on many occasions, not least in two Copa America Finals where he’s seen off Messi, Aguero, Higuain and Co.

At least this time Sergio and Claudio could celebrate being on the same side.

When your 178th goal isn’t your 178th goal – Sergio seals the penalty shoot-out win over Wolves.

Aguero’s ‘Panenka’ penalty – an audacious deft chip over the goalkeeper – was the magic record-breaking 178th goal that never was, because penalty shoot-out conversions don’t count as ‘real’ goals – even if it did secure City’s best ever run of 12 wins on the trot.

Sergio’s the legend eternal, but it was the much maligned Bravo who had his ‘day in the sun’ on a night of pouring rain in Manchester.

Penalty Kings – Claudio and Sergio embrace.

Parallels with Willy Caballero – another oft criticised City keeper – were there for all to see. What is it about League Cup penalty shoot-outs that transforms City ‘villains’ into heroes?

Whatever it is, mine’s a pint, with a ‘party-can’ to go.

Oh Willy Caballero – the Argentine keeper was City’s hero I another League Cup shoot out in 2016.

If Aguero comes good by ten-to-five this afternoon with even a solitary goal and another City win, there’ll be more than a case for breaking out a case of Argentine Mi Terruno Torontes 2014.

Bottoms up Sergio and hands down on City pulling away at the top of the league.

By David Walker

Dedicated to Wilfred Hornby aka ‘Wilfie Boy’ a true Blue coming to terms with two traumatic losses in recent days and weeks. Your City ‘family’ are here to help ease your pain.

 READ BUT NEVER RED COMPETITION…

We STILL have a superb Manchester City framed Mini Kit to give away in our easy to enter competition. All you need to do is tell us when do you think Sergio Aguero will FINALLY break City’s all-time goal scoring record?

The unique framed City Mini Kit, complete with City badge and Etihad backdrop, could be yours if you can predict when Sergio Aguero will break City’s all time goal scoring record.

Sergio needs just one more goal to eclipse Eric Brook’s total of 177. We want to know when you think Aguero will net his 178th goal? If you can guess the match when he reaches this momentous milestone you’ll have a chance of winning the framed Mini Kit. It doesn’t matter if you’ve entered before and gone for Napoli, Burnley or Wolves, have another go – who cares?

You have three ways to enter:

  1. Make your prediction here in the Comments section.
  2. Tweet @ReadButNeverRed #SergioRecordbreaker and your prediction
  3. Read But Never Red Facebook #SergioRecordbreaker and your prediction

You could win a framed Manchester City Mini Kit if you can predict when Sergio Aguero will break City’s goal scoring record. Graphic by Stiz of the BlueRoom.

The winner will be contacted via social media once Sergio has finally put the record to bed, and the framed Mini Kit either posted out or collected in person at the Etihad Stadium on a City match day.

www.readbutneverred.com @ReadButNeverRed @djwskyblu

20 Comments

  1. October 28, 2017  8:50 am by Andy Reply

    Great article as always. Not read any media today but expecting Tony to continue his moans about money (yawn). Not sure there is a place in this team for Kompany no more. The right sided CH is very much now owned by Stones and as each week goes by his leadership at the back continues to grow. I don’t like the 3 at the back probably required to accommodate VK so maybe his return is for cup games and help introduce young players?

    • October 28, 2017  9:06 am by David Walker Reply

      As ever, interesting analysis Andy - thanks fella.

  2. October 28, 2017  8:52 am by Andrea Kiernan Reply

    Great read as always Dave.
    #SergioRecordBreaker
    WBA

    • October 28, 2017  9:07 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks AK47 -let's hope today's the day for goal number 178.

  3. October 28, 2017  9:13 am by Neil logan golding Reply

    Top read David, let's hope this magical football continues!

    • October 28, 2017  9:37 am by David Walker Reply

      Oh yes! Hope to see you on our City travels at some juncture this season.

  4. October 28, 2017  9:18 am by Doug Henshaw Reply

    Great article as always Dave. Would love us to smash Wba, can't stand Pulling all he ever goes on about is the money we spent. He's never got over us beating Gillingham, it would be great if King Kun gets the record breaking goal today. That prize will look nice on my wall lol. We are looking certainly good at the moment long way to go yet but some of the football is breathtaking.

    • October 28, 2017  9:36 am by David Walker Reply

      It is rather splendid isn't it? Cheers Doug.

  5. October 28, 2017  9:22 am by Lynn Mollekin Reply

    Great read!!! #sergiorecordbreaker. WBA

  6. October 28, 2017  9:49 am by Wilbur Reply

    Great stuff Dave. That run by Foden v Brazil was magic. He is our best homegrown local lad since Lakey and we must nurture him through to the first team. Diaz looks great too but an irony that it is a lad from our doorstep that looks to be top prospect. This will become more important post BREXIT when presumably young Europeans will no longer be able to join our Academy? Guess that's why we have Girona.....

    • October 28, 2017  10:59 am by David Walker Reply

      Foden is going to be a star - thanks Will.

  7. October 28, 2017  11:18 am by Richard Cooper Reply

    Had better keep this brief David as we are getting ready for the Southbound M6.
    I don't reaaly look at statistics because at the end of the day it is 2 teams for that 90+ minutes, and past records and current form doesn't feature.
    Am sure Pulis has watched the Burnley and Wolves game so expect a Bus appearing early on. Expecting a win of course and an early goal will ease any frustration.
    Yes, Bravo was superb, without his saves I think we can all agree that Wolves could have won that game in normal time.
    Good mention for Wilfie, saw him last Saturday.
    As always a very good artice David.

    • October 28, 2017  11:20 am by David Walker Reply

      Thanks RC - hopefully see you at the Baggies later on.

  8. October 28, 2017  1:32 pm by Jon cantrill Reply

    It'll be today against WBA
    #SergioRecordBreaker
    Great read as always... City lost to Bradford on Tuesday so that's our unbeaten run finished ?

    • October 28, 2017  7:02 pm by David Walker Reply

      Just back in from the match and the #SergioRecordBreaker Show rolls on...

      As for Tuesday night...Stupid Boy Pike ;-)

  9. October 28, 2017  7:00 pm by GeorgeInIsrael Reply

    Great article, as always. I hope that Foden is allowed to develop properly and not pushed too fast.

    I'm changing my #SergioRecordbreaker guess to Arsenal. If I win, can you please arrange for the mini-kit to be auctioned at a suitable occasion with the proceeds to be donated to The Christie Hospital.

    • October 28, 2017  8:01 pm by David Walker Reply

      Thanks George and absolutely if you win I will liaise with The Christie Hospital and seek to raise as much money as we can. Thanks again - always a pleasure.

  10. October 29, 2017  5:07 pm by Pete lynch Reply

    That shirt got my name on it! Loving our verve at the moment, unstoppable

    • October 29, 2017  11:24 pm by David Walker Reply

      There must be a few Blues out there saying the same - great response with hundreds of entries across all social media platforms. Cheers fella.

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