Five topics of discussion emerging from Sunday’s 2-1 win over Arsenal…
1 Raheem peaking
Raheem Sterling’s recent displays have undoubtedly been his best in a City shirt with the England winger hitting peak form against Arsenal.
Full of energy and confidence, Sterling was a constant thorn in the Arsenal defence and capped off a man-of-the-match performance with a fantastic individual goal – his sixth of the campaign.
Sterling has also had several breath-taking slalom dribbles in the past month or so and sooner or later he is going to score a wonder goal. Count on it.
2 City cure Etihad woes
After four Premier League games without a home win, City have now recorded back-to-back victories against Watford and Arsenal.
It was crucial the Blues found their form on home soil again, particularly after the disappointing performance at Leicester and both victories in the past week were well-earned and deserved.
Burnley are next up at the Etihad on 2 January and City will be looking to make it three in a row against Sean Dyche’s side.
3 Sane finding his feet
It’s rarely easy for a young player to move from another league and adapt quickly to English football. The style and the scheduling causes problems. Time is needed for them to find their rhythm and show what they can do.
Leroy Sane, 20, has been eased into the side by Guardiola – but it is becoming increasingly difficult for the Catalan boss to leave him out. Sane is technically superb and has searing pace. He can beat players, deliver balls into the box and lead swift counter-attacks. He has the potential to be a great.
Against Arsenal, he grabbed his first goal for the club, a neat first-time finish after David Silva’s wonderful pass. It topped off a fine display.
City, you feel, have landed a genuine star.
4 To Hull and back
Next up for Guardiola’s men is a trip to bottom-of-the-table Hull City.
The Blues will start as firm favourites, but the Tigers are better than their position suggests and will be scratching their heads after losing a game against West Ham they dominated for long periods as well as striking the woodwork three times.
Mike Phelan’s side have one of the smallest squads in the top flight, but on their day they can cause problems and have some quality players in their ranks.
With a packed KCom Stadium behind the hosts, this could be a tricky Boxing Day trip for City who face a tough trip to Anfield just three days later.
5 The stars were bright
The scintillating displays of attacking quartet Sterling, Sane, Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva may have grabbed the headlines – but special mention must also go to those who did the dirty work.
Many had predicted Yaya Toure to star against the Gunners and the big man delivered. According to the stats, he had 111 touches, made two blocks, two interceptions, completed a passing accuracy of 90% and won 75% of tackles and aerial duels, winning back possession 12 times.
The unsung hero of the triumph though: Fernando.
In addition to his defensive exploits, he also provided a helping foot further forward, embarking on numerous marauding runs into the final third and keeping the play moving. The Brazilian put in a real shift and was a real contender for Man of the Match.