As Manchester City exterminated yet another record in Kharkiv last night, becoming the first English team to win on the pelouse of Shakhtar Donetsk and join the small number of to score three goals against them in the Champions League, we were left to wonder if City’s profligacy in front of goal might be their biggest enemy this season.
It sounds rather daft after the systematic destruction of Burnley at the weekend added to the sweeping aside of one of Europe’s more robust teams last night, but there will be matches, especially in this competition, where the Blues might only get a handful of chances and need to take most of them.
City beat Burnley 5-0, but Aguero could have had 5 goals on his own. City beat Shakhtar 3-0 and the same could be said as Mahrez, de Jesus and Silva all failed to take easier chances than the one David Silva finally executed. A wonderful headed goal by the bargain centre back Laporte and a typical Bernardo Silva strike ended the Ukrainians night, but it would have been no surprise to see Shakhtar on the end of the kind of whacking handed to Stretford’s finest seven years ago.
So, after the comic cuts performance at home to Olympique Lyonnais, City have possibly exploded the anti-Champions League myth and now sit in control of the group with Hoffenheim having helped themselves to a stoppage time equaliser against the French.
One only had to look across the town boundary last night to see what happens if you don’t create chances and then don’t take them. A single goal was enough for Juventus to sweep past a rather useless looking United at the Pit of Misery.
On the plus side for City, we have now been seeing for almost the entire “Reign of Pep”, the Blues do create chance after chance and it has naturally followed that eventually one will go in and it usually followed by a second soon after. Like most City fans, though I would like to see an earlier opportunity converted so the Blues can get into their scoring stride sooner.
A great away win, heralded by Pep as among his best since he arrived at the Etihad. Next stop is Wembley against Spuds. I’m not a fan of Monday night football and I don’t like the way the Premier League have pushed our fixtures around to accommodate another team. In the end, however, it gives City an extra day’s rest and if City are in the same mood, I suspect Lloris will be a busy man and will have to be at his very best to stem the tide.