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Five wins out of five, who's going to stop Manchester City?

Monday 19th September 2016
The Citizens have played out their fifth game of this season, and they've hardly put a foot wrong. Begging the question, who and what is going to stop them?

The Sky Blues are singing at the sight of a blue moon, last weekend it eclipsed the red half of Manchester and just a few days ago they looked very comfortable against Bournemouth as they ran out 4-0 winners. Everything seems to be coming up Man City, and there's little weakness to exploit. They are currently on an eight-game winning streak across all competitions and it's going to take some stopping them now.

There have only been two games this season where they haven't won by more than one goal, most recently the Manchester derby and the opening day against Sunderland. They won both games but they were only 2-1 wins.

Manchester United and Sunderland have similar footballing qualities, even if they are worlds apart. (Saying that both are on losing streaks at present). David Moyes' team and former team enjoy taking a lot of shots; fruitful or not they do take a lot of chances in front of goal. That stems from both team's creative play; as the Black Cats and Red Devils get forward a lot and given the chance can control in their opponent's half. Pep Guardiola famously likes to control the ball, with short passes and high possession and doesn't really like it when other teams try to simulate that.
It's hard to assign Manchester City with any weaknesses at this moment in time, although one could be the lack of aerial ability. After all, this season's citizens are altogether a shorter bunch than most teams. Both their aforementioned opponents enjoy a lot of height and henceforth an aerial advantage. Bigger (height) teams should look to exploit that potential trump card.

It's also notable that the two games City haven't looked absolutely fantastic; have been on bigger occasions. The game against Sunderland was the first game of the season, potential first-night nerves there. The Manchester United game will always be a huge affair in the contemporary game and undoubtedly has that “big game” feeling about it. It's a fair comment to say that both of those matches had a lot of media intrigue, a lot more than other games. Manchester City could suffer from the aura of importance, and could find it hard against the other marquee title contending teams.
Their next league game is against Swansea City, in Wales. A mere three days after they would have played the exact same fixture, but in the League Cup. The two sides have a history of proving good matches against each other. In addition to that, the Swans carry an aerial threat as one of their major threats. Llorente and Bastón tower over many players and they use that to their team's advantage. Although when compared to this season, it's chalk and cheese. Swansea City will still be massive underdogs.

The two fixtures that will challenge them in the immediate future will be Tottenham Hotspur and Everton in consecutive weeks. Both teams are currently City's biggest competitors in the league, occupying third and second place respectively. Whilst the league is still in its embryonic stages, these matches will have the “big game” overtones due to the clubs league standings and stature. As previously mentioned, City has fluctuated in the bigger games so far, hinting they might not be as powerful in them. Both teams also execute possession football tactics, something Pep doesn't like to contend with.

Should any of those teams succeed against Man City, it'll blow the table wide open. Any  non-City football fan will appreciate that. Whilst we've looked at the potential pitfalls in their game, it's important to remember they still won every game. They could of course just have all their players banned, as this is happening at an alarming rate. Both Agüero and Nolito have both received three-game bans. Discipline could become an issue throughout the season. Should they still be able to field a team, it'll take something special to unhinge the citizens this term.
Warren Smith

A British and J.League soccer enthusiast, now local to Yokohama, Japan. A keen Arsenal supporter. Has been known to play the game every once in awhile, once likened to Xherdan Shaqiri. 

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