Guardiola sees promising signs despite frustrating draw with Spurs
Amid the furore over refereeing decisions, Pep Guardiola would be pleased with what he witnessed in Manchester City’s last league outing against Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs pegged the Sky Blues back to a 2-2 draw, but there were signs of City’s future on show at the Etihad Stadium.
Last summer, with the advent of Guardiola at City, the club brought in a few new faces. Among them, John Stones, Ilkay Gündogan, and goalkeeper Claudio Bravo have been starters, while the likes of Leroy Sané and Nolito have made the starting line-up sporadically.
While Bravo and Nolito are on the wrong side of their thirties, the other new signings are yet to reach their respective primes, something that lends a bright side to an otherwise underwhelming 2016/17 season for City.
Sané showed some of his explosiveness and spark against Spurs, the same way he did against Arsenal a month ago. January arrival Gabriel Jesus almost scored on his debut only to be flagged offside. Stones didn’t start but his regularity of appearances means Guardiola sees him as his side’s defensive mainstay.
Gündogan had started 15 out of 17 games before his untimely injury, while Kevin De Bruyne’s worsening of form had had a direct hand in City’s struggles since December. Raheem Sterling has been at his most prolific under Guardiola. It is clear that a spine is emerging at City which will take time to grow.
De Bruyne, Sterling, Stones, Gündogan, Sané, and Jesus are intriguing prospects if allowed to prosper together, and that could be in the club’ long-term interests. If the title looks out of reach this season, a silver lining is the emergence of the new core. One that looks young, hungry, and, as of now, inconsistent.
The Premier League title aside, City lifting the Champions League looks a long shot as well, and any hope of comfortably finishing in the top four has been dented by a highly competitive top end of the league.
However, the fixture list favours City more than the other top clubs, and that could make a difference between finishing inside and outside the top four places. City are currently fifth but are a good bet to finish fourth or higher ahead of Liverpool or Arsenal, and you can put this free bet offer from William Hill to good use if you're going to back City in the Premier League.
It was City’s performance against Spurs that could prove to be the watershed moment in Guardiola’s reign at City. With Sané and Sterling stretching opposition defences and De Bruyne picking holes from deep, it was a peek into City’s future.
That future promises so much, only if the emerging spine stays together without being affected by the game’s increasing kneejerkism. Stones and Sterling continue to get pelted after every average display, yet Guardiola continues to keep his trust on them.
City have been reliant on the likes of David Silva, Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany, and Sergio Aguero for too long now. Guardiola might not bring the title back to the club this season, but he has laid the foundations for a bright future by building a new and exciting core.