The pressure of the big fish that everyone wants to swallow? It seems that it is slipping on the skin of the champions of England and Europe, author of a brilliant treble with the English Cup and impervious to shocks before returning to C1, which he won for the first time in Istanbul on June 10 against Inter Milan. Had won once.
His very long last season harmed the organization of a squad that called for development on all fronts. The holidays were very short, with the Community Shield having to be played on 6 August (losing against Arsenal on penalties), which was a prelude to another extremely busy practice.
The first matches were sluggish, with the ignition coming “sometimes a little late” in the game, as explained by Erling Haaland after his hat-trick against Fulham (5–1) in early September. For the Norwegian striker the explanation is simple: “We played the last matches (of last season’s calendar) because we are the best team,” he said in reference to European finals.
Despite this, the Citizens have swept all their opponents so far: five wins in five Premier League matches, fourteen goals scored and three conceded, a good series boosted by the crowning victory in the European Super Cup against Sevilla FC.
The heavy schedule remains a problem of which Pep Guardiola is fully aware. “The problem is not today, it is in three, four, five games,” commented the Spanish coach after Saturday’s 3-1 win over leader West Ham at the top of the table.
At the London Stadium, he lined up his Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson and his Argentinian midfielder Julián Alvarez, who had just returned from selection in South America, as well as Kyle Walker, who had been used by the England team against Ukraine and Scotland. Was completely against.
Belgian creator Kevin De Bruyne’s lengthy unavailability has been managed perfectly by City for the time being, having to make do without Bernardo Silva, with John Stones, Mateo Kovacic and Jack Grealish also missing through injury. The departure of former captain Ilkay Gundogan to FC Barcelona and winger Riyad Mahrez to Saudi Arabia were also well-digested.
4 matches in 11 days
For example, unlike Chelsea, the Citizens did not increase the number of transactions in the transfer market this summer, but three key reinforcements (Kovacic, Josko Guardiol and Jérémy Doku) provided complete satisfaction.
After a “little timid” first goal against Fulham, Doku was “incredible, aggressive, very determined from the first minute” against West Ham, scoring the first goal as a bonus (equal at 1–1), I praised Guardiola. , who summarized the instructions given to the young Belgian striker: “Use your skills as a winger. One on one, two on one: go for it. If you don’t feel it, go back to Josco and start again.