Manchester City closed their historic calendar year with a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United, as they hosted their final Premier League game at the Etihad Stadium in 2023.
It has been a monumental year for the club, and Manchester City began their afternoon parading their accomplishments, showing off all five trophies claimed this year to the Etihad Stadium faithful. City also took time to dedicate their annual respect to loved ones lost this year, with the sentiment remaining the same as the Manchester club showed their class off the pitch once more.
The class didn’t just stay off the pitch for the sky blues this weekend, as they instantly put Sheffield United to the sword, carving out numerous early chances before eventually finding a breakthrough.
When the ball broke perfectly into the path of Rodrigo, a shot at goal felt inevitable, as the Spaniard glided through midfield before unleashing a deadly strike on the edge of the area to give Manchester City the lead.
It was a half of pure control despite just the singular goal, but it wouldn’t take long into the second half before the Premier League champions doubled their advantage, this time through Julian Alvarez. An exquisite, dare we say it, David Silva-esque ball from Oscar Bobb landed into the stride of Phil Foden in the penalty area, who knocked the ball across goal for Alvarez – who was in the right place at the right time to tap home.
Renditions of “Champions again ole, ole,” coursed around the Etihad Stadium, as the home fans enjoyed a party atmosphere, but not nearly as much as they did when Kevin De Bruyne put an orange bib on and lightly jogged down the touchline.
It was the ultimate comfort victory for Manchester City, keeping a much-needed clean sheet while taking the three points without breaking a sweat. With that being said, here are five things we learned from Saturday’s 2-0 victory against Sheffield United.
The invincible fortress
Saturday afternoon’s 2-0 victory over Sheffield United completed a full calendar year unbeaten at home for Manchester City, with their last home defeat coming in November 2022 at the hands of Brentford.
A stadium once mocked for its lack of atmosphere has simply become an impenetrable fortress, with the champions providing the almighty test in world football for any side when they visit the Etihad Stadium.
From Tottenham Hotspur to Sheffield United, with a dabble of Real Madrid in between, Manchester City have been scintillating at home this season, as they embark on a new journey in 2024.
The perfect ending
While Manchester City’s unbeaten streak at home is impressive, their recent bout of games at the Etihad Stadium haven’t quite lived up to those standards, with Saturday’s win the first at home in four games.
As they bid to retain their Premier League title for an unprecedented fourth successive time, City have been considerably below average in their defence as of late, but Saturday’s clean sheet would’ve done wonders for the confidence of the back five.
Alvarez stepping up when needed!
At a time of need, the Argentine World Cup winner has more than fulfilled his prophecy, with Julian Alvarez filling in exceptionally in the ongoing absence of Erling Haaland up front.
Another goal to add to his impressive season tally, Julian Alvarez continues to prove that he isn’t simply just a backup to Erling Haaland, with the talisman becoming an invaluable asset to Pep Guardiola this season.
A new role for Phil Foden?
While the talent of Phil Foden has never been in doubt, the most effective position of the Englishman has always been an unanswered question, with his versatility leaving him unable to lock down a specific spot in the side.
However, in the absence of Kevin De Bruyne, Foden has found his feet in the midfield, once again flourishing there, this time alongside Mateo Kovacic, as he cropped up with another brace of assists on Saturday.
With Kevin De Bruyne’s return to action imminent, it begs the question of where Phil Foden starts in the side, with the Englishman seemingly immovable from the side right now, does he retain his place in the centre.
2024 – what have you got in store?
In a year filled with trophies, celebrations and inconceivable success, 2023 was the year of Manchester City, so how do the club build and kick on from here?
There is no doubt that the club will be looking to continue to build on their European success of this year, as they look to enhance their European pedigree and continue to establish themselves as part of the elite core of European football.
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