It certainly hasn’t been the joy of six for Pep Guardiola as he has now gone a sextuplet of games without a win (yes I had to look that word up, he’ll be hoping that a win against West Brom this afternoon stops it from being a not so magnificent seven.
A much changed City side lost to their cross town rivals Manchester United in EFL Cup action on Wednesday night. The fact that 9 changes were made showed were exactly that particular competition lied in terms of Guardiola’s priorities with the focus now very much on returning to winning ways in the Premier League.
After beating Swansea in late September we were all ready to hand City the Premier League trophy but what a difference a defeat makes. Losing to Tottenham just before we broke for international duty has sent this City side into somewhat of a tailspin with defeat in North London added to with successive home draws.
Although City still sit top of the table, they do so only by virtue of goal difference with their just being a solitary point now splitting the top five sides. It really doesn’t get any closer than that. At one point everyone thought that Guardiola was invincible now he has been well and truly introduced to English Football.
He will get an introduction to Tony Pulis this afternoon as his City side travel to The Hawthorns in search of their first league win in four matches. Pulis men did City something of a favour a fortnight ago when they held Tottenham to a 1-1 draw at The Hawthornes and you would imagine that they may not be in a charitable mood for City later today.
Last time out West Brom went to another title chasing side in the form of Liverpool and had to make do with coming away empty handed as they lost 2-1 to Jurgen Klopp’s Rock and Roll footballing outfit. That defeat has seen West Brom slip to 13th in what you would define as quite possibly the most average start to the season.
9 games played, 10 points earned, a goal difference of 0. It really doesn’t get much move average does this. But then that is how we come to define The Baggies these days. That said the signing of Nacer Chadli has been somewhat of a masterstroke as he has given them a long overdue spark in the midfield.
Chadli was on hand to score against his former club Tottenham a couple of weeks ago and once again Tony Pulis will be looking for more of the same, that afternoon saw Ben Foster have a world class outing in between the sticks and he’ll need to be at his best to keep City at bay.
City certainly weren’t at their best last weekend when they draw to Southampton. John Stones’ misplaced pass let in Nathan Redmond to open the scoring and once again criticism was levelled at City’s back line. With Claudio Bravo once again in the firing line but I think the criticism has to go to Stones this time around as it would be unfair to give the whole blame to Bravo after his Nou Camp faux pas.
Today we will see if Pep Guardiola is really worth his money as it looks to end his most barren run as a manager. Will Pulis teach him a big lesson or will City finally bounce back to winning ways. I’ll put my money on an away win as City stay top of the table.
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