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City 1-1 Boro: De Bruyne and Navas impress

NAVAS: City's Spanish winger was heavily involved

NAVAS: City's Spanish winger was heavily involved

City drew 1-1 with Middlesbrough on Saturday - a result that saw them slip to third in the Premier League table.

Club journalist Rob Pollard looks back over the game and discusses some of the major talking points. 

1City need to be more ruthless

Pep Guardiola has said it. So has Pablo Zabaleta. City need to start showing more ruthlessness in their matches at the Etihad if they are to win the title.

City have drawn their last three home fixtures – against Everton, Southampton and Middlesbrough – despite dominating all of them. Their ability to control the game and dictate the tempo cannot be doubted, but they aren’t taking enough of their chances and it’s being punished.

According to SAP, City enjoyed 71 per cent possession on Saturday and managed 18 shots to Boro’s four. With that level of authority, the Teesiders shouldn’t have been allowed to leave Manchester with a point.

2De Bruyne’s assist

Kevin De Bruyne’s ball that set up Sergio Aguero for the opening goal of the game was sublime. Despite a crowded penalty area, one swipe of the Belgian’s boot took a number of Boro defenders out of the game and presented Aguero with a simple chance inside the box.

It’s a level of artistry we’ve come to expect from De Bruyne, a player who cost a club-record £54 million but increasingly looks like one of the biggest bargains of recent times.

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3Navas impresses

Jesus Navas gave Middlesbrough a torrid time on Saturday. He hit the post, laid a chance on for Aguero, played a key role in City’s goal with a run that took the attention of the Boro defenders away from Aguero and generally looked one of the most dangerous players on the field throughout the match.

He continues to offer City a different option from others in the squad - width and the desire to go down the outside - and remains a key figure for the Blues.

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4Battle for supremacy

This could well turn out to be one of the closest battles for the title we’ve seen years. City are now third in the table, a point behind second-placed Chelsea and two points adrift of leaders Liverpool. With 11 games played, it’s becoming clear this could be a race that goes to the wire.

With neither Liverpool or Chelsea facing the complication of European involvement, City’s task is made harder. It’ll be a test of Guardiola’s resources – but City have shown already they are capable of coping with the demands. 

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