September 19, 2017

FREE KICKS: Man City has some Pep in its step

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

It is games like Saturday’s that remind us just what Manchester City is capable of.

On the road, against a Watford side that has being doing well to start the season with a  2-1-1 record and +4 goal differential, the Sky Blues came out and absolutely dominated.

City scored three goals in ten minutes during the first half and didn’t pack it in for the second, potting three more.

Sergio Aguero notched a hat trick and set up another goal while Gabriel Jesus, Nicolas Otamendi and Raheem Sterling each had singles. It was the type of dismantling that we should be seeing more often from a side that features such amazing quality in attack.

Manager Pep Guardiola has his team atop the table, despite much criticism for his side after struggling to crack open some lesser teams so far this season. A 2-1 win over Brighton probably should’ve been by more, a 1-1 draw with Everton is shocking now, as is another 2-1 result against 19th-place Bournemouth.

But now, City has won its past three games, including its mid-week Champions League match at Feyenoord by a combined score of 15-0.

A four-game-in-10-day stretch looms with Chelsea waiting at the end of it. That should give us an idea of how ready this squad is for a go at the title.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

It’s Kun, obviously.

If you net a hat trick and have a chance for a fourth, giving up a chance from the spot to Sterling, it’s going to take a lot to knock you off the top spot.

Aguero now has a league-leading five goals this season and looks to be in his finest form. It will be interesting to see how lowly Crystal Palace tries to contend with him and the Sky Blues on Saturday.

AROUND THE LEAGUE

If anyone was doubting that Jesus is the real deal, since joining City in January, he has 11 goals and four assists in 15 appearances. That’s a pretty incredible ratio, if you ask me … After picking up some wins midweek in their European ties, Arsenal and Chelsea fought to a feisty 0-0 draw … Does is seem like Chelsea has a player sent off every game? And this is without Diego Costa stirring the pot, either … Perhaps Frank de Boer wasn’t the problem? Palace didn’t score again this week, losing 1-0 to Southampton … And perhaps Huddersfield Town is actually OK? It drew Leicester this week and remains in the top half of the table … Philippe Coutinho made his long awaited debut and looked pretty decent before being subbed off for precautionary reasons. The big question for Liverpool going forward will be how it will fit all of its attackers on the field. When Sadio Mane returns from suspension, who drops to the bench? Right now, I’d guess Daniel Sturridge … Coutinho’s debut wasn’t even for the Reds to take care of Burnley thought. I’m not even sure we can call it a trend that Liverpool can’t beat lesser teams. It has been happening for too long now … After a midweek win at Wembley in Champions League, Spurs proved they still haven’t truly figured out their new home yet, drawing the Swans … Rafa Benitez has Newcastle rolling, picking up its third straight win … Xherdan Shaqiri has a neat streak going: His past six goals have been from outside the box. The record is eight by David Beckham and Tugay Kerimoglu … A 0-0 draw is often expected from West Brom. It certainly isn’t from West Ham. The Irons are far too prone to allow a weak goal or two.

THE LAST WORD

It was really nice of Manchester United to wait until former club legend Wayne Rooney was subbed off to do the most damage to his new club, Everton.

He had to meekly watch from the bench – with a camera seemingly always trained on him – as United went on to score three goals from the 83rd minute on. Included in that scoring flurry was a goal by Romelu Lukaku, who whooped it up in celebration after potting one against his former club. Not exactly the picture of class, there. Lukaku, if you’ll recall is actually the Toffees top career scorer, so it should’ve been double-hard to see him celebrate so wildly while beating Everton.

It wasn’t the only humbling moment of the week for Rooney, either. The striker pled guilty to drinking and driving and won’t be allowed behind the wheel for two years, among other punishments.

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