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Man City writers pick their moment of 2017 so far

LAST GASP: Gabriel's late winner downs the Swans

LAST GASP: Gabriel's late winner downs the Swans

After yesterday's discussions about the game of the year so far, and the best player our writers turn their thoughts to a stand-out moment...

Caroline Oatway: Carli Lloyd signing 

It’s the sort of deal news outlets dream of on Transfer Deadline Day…

It wasn’t a last-gasp, “hurry up and fax over the paperwork” saga, but Man City Women’s signing of Carli Lloyd shook the footballing world.

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The 2016 double-winners could already boast a stellar squad of international stars – a mixture of talented youth and experience.

The capture of a two-time World Footballer of the Year, double Olympic champion and World Cup winner (by the way, she scored a 16-minute hat-trick in the final), was one of the most talked-about transfers in women’s football history and signalled the intent of the club: to become one of the best clubs in Europe – if not the world.

The USA captain slotted straight in to the side and bagged her first goal for City on just her second appearance – her Champions League debut.

Manager Nick Cushing highlighted Lloyd’s professionalism and workrate as her key attributes – that’s before he’s discussed her on-the-pitch capabilities.

It’s exciting to discover what she will bring to the Super League, and how she will play a part in the Blues’ domestic and Champions League hopes.

 

Jack Mumford: Matt Smith’s winner v Aston Villa

City had dominated the second half of the FA Youth Cup quarter-final at Villa Park but as the final whistle loomed with the score at 1-1, Carsley’s boys could have been resigned to extra time.

On several occasions in the closing stage, a City player received the ball in a crowded penalty area and attempted to force it past a covering defender - often unsuccessfully.

As the ball fell to Matt Smith inside the box in the 87th minute, it seemed like the Welsh midfielder would be the latest to see his effort blocked. However, as he relaxed, he created a yard of space that proved pivotal in beating Viktor Johansson in the Villa goal.

Cue some wild celebrations…

 

Rob Pollard: Gabriel Jesus’ winner v Swansea

He’s a special player, Gabriel Jesus, and his winning goal in the dying moments of the game with Swansea in February provided a thrilling highpoint of his short-lived run in the City first team.

He’d put City ahead after 11 minutes, reacting quickest to a loose ball inside the area to volley home from close range, but his goal was cancelled out by Gylfi Sigurdsson’s low shot from distance with just nine minutes remaining.

With seconds left, David Silva’s ball into the box found Jesus, whose downward header was parried by Lukasz Fabianski, with the Brazilian pouncing on the rebound to send the home fans into scenes of delirium. A thrilling end to a game that had threatened to disappoint. 

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Jesus was handed the man of the match award. Two goals and a wonderful display from a 19-year-old in the process of adapting to one of the most demanding leagues in the world - it takes a formidable talent to make that kind of thing happen.

He appears to have everything. Speed, technical quality and supreme confidence.

Injury may have curtailed his progress for now – but make no mistake, City have a player on their hands capable of becoming one of the very best in the game.

 

David Clayton: Reaching Wembley

The FA Cup has long been held in high esteem by City and our fans.

When many bigger clubs have chosen weakened starting line-ups in some of the earlier rounds, the Blues have mostly gone with their strongest starting XI.

Pep Guardiola made it clear he wanted to win the FA Cup from the moment he was first asked about it and he has demonstrated as much with his selections.

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The players look like they’ve enjoyed the adventure and City fans have travelled in their numbers to West Ham, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough – 16,000 or so in total with an average of 4,000 per trip.

The 2-0 win over Middlesbrough paved the way for the Blues to return to Wembley for the first time since the 2016 Capital One Cup final.

Prior to that, it was the Community Shield final against Arsenal – the same team we’ll face in three weeks’ time.

It should be a fantastic occasion in what will be our eighth trip to the home of English football in just seven years.

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