Wednesday, 27 November 2019

Man City are miles off their brilliant best & if they don't improve - and fast - it's Liverpool's title

Pep Guardiola's side have qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League but they are far from the heights they hit over the past two seasons

Manchester City may well have secured their place as a top seed for the Champions League knockout stages but that is about all that can be said about their drab 1-1 draw with Shakhtar Donetsk. 

It was an instantly forgettable game; the sixth meeting in three years of a long-running saga between the two sides that has failed to capture the imagination. 

Europe remains the last unconquered frontier for City under Pep Guardiola, and the competition could yet become the priority when the knockout games start in February. 

That will depend on the next three months and how much City can cut into Liverpool’s nine-point lead at the top of the Premier League. 

But the big worry is that City are currently struggling to get anywhere near their incredible heights of the past two seasons and Jurgen Klopp’s side are barely putting a foot wrong. 

Guardiola’s team have now gone six games without keeping a clean sheet after Shakhtar snatched an equaliser that gives them an advantage in trying to join City in the last 16 going into matchday six. 

Injuries have undoubtedly had their impact on Guardiola’s options with Leroy Sane, Aymeric Laporte and Oleksandr Zinchenko enduring lengthy absences while Sergio Aguero will now miss a crucial period of the season. 

Guardiola said he will not use those absences as an excuse for failing to compete for silverware - a sentiment echoed by goalscorer Ilkay Gundogan after the draw with the Ukrainians. 

“When you want to become a top team and fight in all the competitions, you are not allowed to concede goals in every game,” the Germany international said. 


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