For much of Pep Guardiola’s reign as Manchester City boss, the Citizens have been an irresistible attacking force. They have scored bags of goals and their forward players have been deadly in front of goal. Attacking football is part of Guardiola’s football philosophy.
The Catalan boss’s philosophy was on full display at Vicarage Road on Saturday afternoon as City hammered Watford 6-0 to move to the top of the Premier League table. The star of the show was striker Sergio Aguero, scoring a hat trick and producing an assist.
However, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and even centre-back Nicolas Otamendi also got on the scoresheet. The game against Watford was City at their masterful best with the Citizens attacking players shining once again.
Silva and De Bruyne key cogs
Manchester City have spent big on attacking players in an effort to dominate the Premier League and the Champions League. When you see performances like the one against Watford, it would be difficult to argue that the money has been well spent.
All City’s attacking players seem to have had some sort of involvement in Saturday’s win. Strikers Aguero and Jesus will get the headlines, but midfield duo Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva also contributed to the victory for the Citizens.
De Bruyne produced another assist. The Belgian is one of the best players in the Premier League for creating goals for his teammates. Even from a deeper position, De Bruyne has still had a big say in the Citizens attacking play in the last few games.
One man that sometimes gets lost in the big spending is Spanish playmaker David Silva. The former Valencia star was once one of the star players at City. However, his teammate’s performances now overshadow the Spaniard’s displays. Silva, though, is still a vital cog in that Citizens team.
Against Watford, he did what he does best by creating two goals and producing a typically dynamic performance. Silva has now produced four assists in five Premier League games this season. The Spanish international is still a key player in that City team, despite numerous new big-money arrivals at the Etihad Stadium in the last couple of years.
Attack is the best form of defence for City
For City, the best form of defence definitely seems to be attack at the moment. The Citizens defence is not the strongest in the league, especially without captain Vincent Kompany. The likes of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi can be unconvincing in that City backline.
The City defence has improved in recent games, though, keeping clean sheets in their last three games in all competitions. However, Kompany’s presence in the heart of City’s defence makes a major difference. When the Belgian international is absence, usually through injury, City are very suspect in defence.
In Guardiola’s glory years at Barcelona, the Catalan giants did not rely on having a solid defence. They did not need to most of the time, as the midfield and forward line controlled games. When they did have to defend, Barcelona had centre-backs Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique who were a superb partnership.
In many ways, Puyol is similar to Kompany in his status in the team. He was captain and a leader at the back. When Barcelona played without him, Pique did not seem the same player.
Such is the sheer attacking options at City, though they may just get away with not having solid defensive foundations, well against most teams anyway.
City remain title favourites
Manchester City started the campaign as favourites to win the Premier League title and they remain favourites at evens to be crowned champions this season.
The Citizens attacking options are lethal and Guardiola has a number of options available to him for each game. The Catalan boss can also rotate his squad, with a number of expensive options available from the bench.
Who knows City’s defence may just continue with their solid defensive displays and the forwards may keep firing. However, if the City defence does revert to their leaky former selves, then the Citizens may just still have enough in attack to negate their defensive vulnerabilities.
Can City’s attack fire the Citizens to the Premier League title?
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