Manchester City 4 Wolves 1

On 2 March 2021 Manchester City defeated Wolves 4-1 at the Etihad. The scoring started in the 15th minute with an own goal (netted by Dendoncker). Coady equalised 16 minutes into the second half but goals from Gabriel Jesus (80 & 90+3) and Mahrez (90) gave City the victory. The win extended City’s winning run to 21 games in all competitions.

City were 15 points clear at the top of the Premier League after this game. Afterwards Guardiola told the press: ‘In winter time in England it’s hell and in that time we did something incredible. It’s more than remarkable. The players have all my compliments but Liverpool have the crown. To win the Premier League we need those points.’

Manchester City 2 West Ham 1

Today (27 February) in 2021 Manchester City defeated West Ham United 2-1 at the Etihad with Ruben Dias opening the scoring for the Blues after 30 minutes. Antonio equalised 13 minutes later but John Stones’ third league goal of the season ensured a City victory. The win meant City were 13 points clear at the top of the Premier League

City’s win was Pep Guardiola’s 500th as a manager and his 200th win as City boss (273rd game in charge – the fewest games needed by a manager of an English top-flight side to reach that mark).

The win also meant that City were unbeaten in 27 matches and this was their second-longest run in their history.

Antonio’s equaliser was the first home Premier League goal City had conceded since 15 December (a Dias own goal against West Bromwich Albion) and it ended their 629-minute run.

Foden’s Late Winner

On this day (26 February) in 2022 Phil Foden’s late winner for Manchester City at Everton gave Manchester’s Blues a six-point lead over Liverpool at the top of the Premier League.

The game had followed a defeat to Tottenham and some had suggested the initiative in the title race would soon switch to Liverpool but Foden’s goal ensured City retained in control. Everton fans thought their club should have had a penalty as they felt City midfielder Rodri handled a dropping ball inside the area, but a VAR check determined he hadn’t.

Despite considerable noise from the home fans, the first half had been fairly even but in the second City demonstrated their superiority time and time again. Everton ‘keeper Jordan Pickford had to make a number of significant saves, including a double stop to deny Kevin de Bruyne and Bernardo Silva in quick succession. It looked like City were going to be frustrated but in the 82nd minute a Bernardo Silva cross was blocked but not cleared well enough and Phil Foden nipped in, rounded Pickford and scored the only goal of the game.

After the game City manager Pep Guardiola commented that after a difficult first half City: ‘Deserved [the] win and three more points. Goodison Park has always been so difficult. When a striker go with Rodri and they defend really well it is always difficult. You have to find the situations and the second half was much better. We moved the ball a bit quicker, we attacked quicker. The second half they were a little more tired. We were solid behind, we don’t concede much.’

There had been a show of solidarity with Ukraine, where war was taking place following an invasion by Russia. The City players wore Tee-shirts with the Ukraine flag on the front and the message ‘no war’ on the back and City’s Zinchenko received some good applause from both sets of fans as he warmed up as substitute. Pep: ‘What a moment. Thank you so much for all the people. Zinchenko was very pleased. He was warming up. It means what the people want to say. That is why thank you so much for the all the people here and we are looking forward to the next week at home in the derby we can show to Zinchenko and to the Ukraine citizens, what we want.’

The City victory meant that they had their last ten matches against Everton in all competitions, making it Pep Guardiola’s joint-longest winning run against an opponent in his managerial career (equalling 10 v Watford). Highlights of the game here:

Midfielder Kevin De Bruyne made his 200th Premier League appearance in this game and his 80 assists was the most of any player within their first 200 matches in the competition’s history.

Everton’s manager was the former City player Frank Lampard who had been appointed on 31 January 2022. He commented: ‘One of the reasons I took the job was my feeling of growing up and understanding the history of the club and seeing them as First Division champions and playing here and feeling what the crowd can do. They affect games and I love working in those circumstances. The next two or three weeks will be hard but from what I have seen today, if we keep doing that we will be alright.”

Within a year there were demonstrations against Everton’s owners and Lampard was dismissed.

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Trophy Winning Pep

On this day (25 February) in 2018 Pep Guardiola won his first major trophy in English football when his Manchester City team defeated Arsenal to win the League Cup. The goals came from Sergio Aguero (18), Vincent Kompany (58) and David Silva (65). Afterwards Pep told the media: ‘The first half was not good – too many mistakes with simple passes – but the second half we played with more courage, more personality. That is why we were outstanding after the break.

‘It was so important we won this after going out of the FA Cup. Now we have to focus absolutely on the Premier League and trying to win the games we need to win the title and try and progress to the Champions League quarter-final. This win is not for me, it’s for Manchester City.’

Manchester City v RB Leipzig

It’s RB Leipzig v Manchester City tonight (22 February 2023) in the Champions League. The first time these two sides met competitively came on 15 September 2021 at the Etihad Stadium in the competition’s group stage (Group A). It was Pep Guardiola’s 300th game as manager and City achieved a 6-3 victory which meant that the Blues became the quickest English team to achieve 50 wins in the Champions League. Nice work!

Nathan Ake opened the scoring with a powerful header in the 16th minute, becoming  the tenth different City player to score that season. The lead was increased twelve minutes later when Nordi Mukiele scored what was described by the BBC as a ‘calamitous own goal… The France defender got his angles horribly wrong as his attempted header back to his keeper following Kevin de Bruyne’s delivery ended up in the net.’

Nkunku scored for Leipzig three minutes before half time but City restored their two goal lead by half time with Riyad Mahrez netting a penalty (45+2) awarded after Lukas Klostermann handled.

Leipzig’s Nkunku headed home his second to reduce the deficit six minutes after the restart, but City hit back five minutes later as Jack Grealish scored with a delightful finish on his Champions League debut. Afterwards he commented about the whole experience: ‘I loved it. I’ve been waiting a while. The past few weeks, I couldn’t wait for this game. It’s a great night.’

Talking about the goal Grealish said: ‘The ball came to me and when I’m in that position, running into the area I’d back myself one on one against anyone to have a go and it paid off. I had a few in the first half that were blocked.’

Former Paris St-Germain player Nkunku scored again (73rd minute) to complete his hat-trick, but Joao Cancelo added a stunning 25 yard effort for City two minutes later. The former City player Angelino was dismissed for a second bookable offence four minutes later and then substitute Gabriel Jesus tapped in at the far post to make it six for City with only five minutes of normal time remaining.

The match ended 6-3 but in truth City’s victory was much more convincing than the three conceded goals suggest. Grealish loved the whole experience of his first Champions League match: ‘It was one of those games. It had absolutely everything. In the end we’re delighted to get the win against a good team full of energy and young players… I’m delighted to come away with the three points – and the goal and assist… I went to check the result from the other game [Club Bruges 1-1 PSG] and it shows anything can happen in the Champions League. It’s why it’s such a wonderful competition.’

Leipzig’s hat-trick scorer Christopher Nkunku was not as positive as Grealish however: ‘Every mistake was punished. We made a lot of individual errors. I scored three goals but every time they scored again right away. We needed to show more concentration. We knew the quality Manchester City have.’

For City boss Pep Guardiola there was disappointment that three goals had been conceded and he admitted: Leipzig never give up. They have a special way to attack. They play all or nothing. You never have the feeling it’s over. We scored a few minutes after they scored… and it helped us a lot. They have a young team, so aggressive, so strong. A fantastic team. Leipzig give a good message to football. The quality of the players was better today and that’s why we won.’

Manchester City 2 West Ham 0

The 19 February 2020 saw Manchester City defeat West Ham 2-0 at the Etihad. The game had been scheduled to be played ten days earlier but had been postponed due to the weather and this was the first time City had played in 16 days. Details and highlights below:

Goals from Rodri (30 mins) and De Bruyne (62). The win came shortly after UEFA had banned City (later overturned of course) from European competition and their were several banners and chants directed at this unfair decision. After the match Pep Guardiola was asked about UEFA and Manchester City: ‘We are professionals on the pitch, what happens off it we cannot do much. We talked about what we have to do until the end of the season, especially for the people who love this club. We will play our game the best as possible. We have a lot of interesting things to play for… I love this club. I like to be here. This is my club and I will be here, no matter.

‘We appeal. When someone believes they are right they have to fight. The club has to fight and I trust the club 100% what they have done and they have explained to me. This situation is not finished and we will wait. But until it is resolved you have to play and play, and that is what is going to happen.’

Here are the highlights of the game:

Ten Consecutive Wins Record

Manchester City became the first English side to record 10 consecutive top-flight league wins at the start of a year on this day (17 February) in 2021. They defeated Everton 3-1 with goals from Phil Foden, Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva. These were those odd days when we weren’t allowed to go to games but you can see highlights here:

Incoming: Pep

On this day (1 February) in 2016 after increasing speculation from the media Manchester City announced that Pep Guardiola would succeed Manuel Pellegrini as their manager in the summer. The BBC’s Phil McNulty said at the time: “The combination of the charismatic Catalan’s coaching brilliance and the financial backing he will receive makes this a partnership the rest of football world could come to fear.”

Here’s the BBC Report from that day:

Newcastle 0 Manchester City 4

On this day last year (Sunday 19 December 2021) Manchester City (the Premier League leaders) defeated Newcastle 4-0 at St James’ Park. City were on a run of seven consecutive league wins but this was not the easy, walkover the score suggests.

Ruben Dias scored an early goal with the second coming from Joao Cancelo – an incredible strike. In the second-half, a Riyad Mahrez volley made it 3-0 and the fourth came from Raheem Sterling.

Here are the highlights:

A Foden First

On this day (25 September) in 2018 Phil Foden was compared to Andres Iniesta after a thrilling performance in the League Cup at Oxford United. Here’s the story of that game:

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Above photo by Steve Daniels for Oxford United.

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