Manchester City officially began their campaign under their new manager, Pep Guardiola today. The match was equally important for Pep as it was for the Citizens because for many, it was an indication of whether Guardiola would survive in the madhouse that is the Premier League.
Never mind that these things are hardly ever decided at the start of the season, football fans were out in their judgmental best. The talking point began way before kickoff, with reports that Joe Hart would not start as a result of a fallout with Guardiola. Their opponents on Saturday evening were Sunderland and many predicted a whitewash at worst.
In the end, Nolito and Stones got their debuts and Manchester City got down to business in professional fashion. Sterling was brought down in the 4th minute of play and Sergio Aguero coolly stepped up to slot home the resulting penalty- you have a sense he will score a lot of goals this season.
From then it, it was a typical Pep side with lots of high pressing and hogging possession but the City defence looked as fragile as ever. With Kolarov playing in Center back alongside Stones, in one of Pep’s many weird formations, the team looked shaky.
Sunderland hardly ever probed and when they eventually did, City’s defence was easily parted as Jermaine Defoe put the ball past Caballero to draw matters level.
City continued to probe and Iheneacho was brought into the fray alongside Jesus Navas. Eventually, City needed an own goal from a Navas cross to take the lead in the 83rd minute and put the game to bed.
Not the most convincing performance but the three points are in the bag!