Manchester City Season Review – November – Bitter and Blue

Manchester City entered November, still challenging on three fronts for silverware. But the month would be a tough one, with two Champions League matches, a League Cup tie at home to Fulham and the small matter of the first Manchester Derby. First up, an attempt to make the League Cup Quarter Final.

1st November – Fulham

The holders reward for avoiding the banana skin at Oxford was a home tie with Premier League new boys and strugglers Fulham. The blues decided to stick with the formula of blooding a couple of youngsters in the team, giving starts to Phil Foden and Brahim Diaz, and it was the latter that took on the goal-scoring responsibilities.

It took the youngster just 18 minutes to get his first, hitting a first time shot past the keeper following Vincent Kompany’s knockdown. Diaz scored his second, 20 minutes into the second half, following up after Gabriel Jesus hit the post.

That was City safely through to face either Southampton or Leicester, but the match ended on a bad note as Kevin de Bruyne, only just back from injury that had kept him out since August, was taken off with three minutes remaining, with an injury that would mean another long spell on the sidelines. A big blow for the blues, but a huge boost for their title rivals.

Final Score: Manchester City 2-0 Fulham

4th November – Southampton

Liverpool had temporary replaced the blues at the top of the league by the time Southampton arrived in Manchester, but it wouldn’t take long for the blues to return to the Premier League summit, and they did it in some style too.

Kevin de Bruyne was ruled out after suffering injury against Fulham, but City took the lead after just six minutes, as Leroy Sane’s cross was turned into his own net by Wesley Hoedt. The blues threatened to blow the Saints away as Aguero tapped in Sterling’s cross and David Silva slammed in a third goal after just 18 minutes.

Saints pulled a goal back when Danny Ings scored a penalty after 29 minutes, but Sterling restored the three goal lead in first half injury time after being set up by Aguero, to send the blues in 4-1 at half time.

Sterling added his second and City’s fifth in the 67th minute as he latched onto another ball from Aguero and Sane made it 6-1 in stoppage time as the blues hit six for the second time this season. City went back to the top of the league, two points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea, but also with a far superior goal difference already.

Final Score: Manchester City 6-1 Southampton

7th November – Shahktar Donetsk

With the top spot in the Premier League secured for another week, the blues aimed to consolidate their position in the Champions League group as Shahktar arrived in Manchester. The blues would qualify for the last 16 if they were to beat the Ukraine champions and Lyon beat Hoffenheim.

David Silva gave the blues the lead after just 13 minutes, before a bizarre penalty award gave Gabriel Jesus the chance to make it 2-0. Raheem Sterling lined up a shot, but stabbed his foot into the turf and naturally went to ground. To the surprise of everyone, the referee awarded a penalty and Sterling’s blushes were spared. Jesus scored and City went in 2-0 up at the break.

The blues continued to press in the second half, and Sterling got on the scoresheet three minutes in, curling his shot beyond the keeper for 3-0. Silva was brought down in the penalty area on 72 minutes for a legitimate penalty, which Jesus again converted, and Riyad Mahrez made it 5-0 chested down Ilkay Gundogan’s pass to hit home. There was still time for Jesus to complete his hat-trick, turning home a pass from Mahrez as City eclipsed the 5-0 win over Steaua Bucharest in August 2016 to record their biggest ever Champions League win, and hit six for the second time in a week.

Final Score: Manchester City 6-0 Shahktar Donetsk

11th November – Manchester United

City’s fourth match in eleven days saw rivalries resumed as United arrived. The reds threw a spanner in City’s title challenge last season, when they came back form 2-0 to win this fixture 3-2, and the blues did not want a repeat performance. With Liverpool and Chelsea both also playing at home, the blues needed the win to keep the pace.

City got off to the perfect start, with David Silva bundled home the opener in the 12th minute. United were furious that City had been allowed so much space, but the warning signs had already been there. Despite their dominance, City only went in1-0 up at the break.

United stepped it up a little in the second half, but it was City who got the next goal. Sergio Aguero, who loves scoring against United, hit a shot that flew past de Gea in the United goal into the top corner.

Ederson gave away another needless penalty, whenhe brought down Lukaku, which gave Anthony Martial a chance to reduce the deficit, which he took in the 58th minute to give United fans hope of another comeback. But it was the blues who would score the final goal and secure the three points, with an amazing goal, worthy of winning any match.

Ilkay Gindogan got on the end of a cross to finish off a 44 pass move with United chasing shadows across the Etihad pitch. The result meant City remained at the top of the league for another week at least.

Final Score: Manchester City 3-1 Manchester United

24th November – West Ham

City’s first away tie of November came at the London Stadium, where the blues were hoping to continue their good run of form against West Ham, who were now managed by Manuel Pellegrini. Sadly for the former City boss, his new club had no answer to City’s goal scoring power as the blues blew them away in the first half.

Not for the first time, David Silva scored the opening goal, which came after just eleven minutes from Sterling’s deflected cross. Sterling then scored the second 8 minutes later, when Leroy Sane crossed to allow the England winger to tap into an empty net. Sane made it 3-0 on 34 minutes, turning the defender inside out and slotting home.

The blues took their foot off the gas in the second half, but still had enough in the tank to grab a fourth through Sane’s second of the game to keep the blues top.

Final Score: West Ham 0-4 Manchester City

27th November – Lyon

City had another opportunity to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League and would also win the group with a win at Lyon. The blues managed to qualify, but being crowned group winners would have to wait until Matchday 6 after an entertaining match in France.

After a goalless first half, the home side took the lead after 55 minutes, but City were only behind for seven minutes as Aymeric Laporte headed City level. The match looked like it would end in a draw, but with Lyon needing the three points, they set out to claim another win over the blues and press to claim top spot for themselves.

Maxwel Cornet again put Lyon in front on 81 minutes, but a flicked header from Sergio Aguero drew City level for the second time. The result meant City qualified and would win the group with a point in their final home match against Hoffenheim.

Final Score: Lyon 2-2 Manchester City

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