A few weeks ago, while debating the sanity of Guardiola, I wrote that “having 10 excellent attackers in your ranks is at best, greedy, and at worst, unsustainable.” I was wrong. I was very wrong. Since those words appeared online, Manchester City have won all 6 of their games, scoring 24 goals and conceding just 1. Who would have thought playing Kevin De Bruyne in a holding midfield role was a good idea? It’s the football equivalent of using your Aston Martin for the school run. In any other side this would seem like a waste of talent, but in Guardiola’s garage of Lamborghinis and Ferraris, it actually makes sense.
I thought Aguero and Jesus couldn’t play in the same team, with a vision of two South Americans treading on each other’s toes dancing a ballroom samba; a bit like the Gerrard and Lampard conundrum for England, except on that occasion it was more like two drunk dads jostling for approval on the dance-floor at a distant relative’s wedding. Unlike great-uncle Frank and cousin-in-law Steven, it turns out Sergio and Gabriel can perform quite the tango, and with accompaniment from David Silva have been dancing their way through defences with consummate ease.
This weekend Guardiola takes his show on the road to Stamford Bridge, with City facing their toughest test of the season so far in Chelsea. Fresh from releasing their ‘prisoner’ Diego Costa, football’s 3rd favourite criminal after Wayne Rooney and Nile Ranger, the London club have settled into the season with the return from injury of Eden Hazard and a consistent supply of goals from Alvaro Morata.
While I was coming to terms with my horrifically inaccurate expectations regarding City’s fortunes on the pitch, it was Chelsea who brought me happiness in the unique shape of Michy Batshuayi. So often the scorer of irrelevant and/or own goals, the Chelsea man finally bucked his own trend as he popped up with a very important one. Winning away at Atletico Madrid is no mean feat – until Wednesday night they had lost just one Champions League tie at home under Simeone – so Batshuayi’s 94th-minute winner may just have earned him another 10 minutes on Saturday afternoon.
With any luck, Chelsea vs Manchester City will provide an exciting attacking display from the away side, culminating in a last-minute Batshuayi equaliser from an Eden Hazard cross. However, given the inaccuracies of my predictions over the last month, I wouldn’t be surprised by a dire 0-0. Your guess is as good as mine.