How did the Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus partnership fare and which top four challengers have the hardest run-in?
1 Front pairing verdict?
Pep Guardiola has stated on numerous occasions that Gabriel Jesus and Sergio Aguero offer him some exciting options in an attack and that sometimes he will use one of the pair in his starting line-up and sometimes both.
At Middlesbrough, we saw a dress rehearsal of what could lie ahead for the Blues’ South American forward line. So, did it work?
Of course, it’s way too soon to say whether Aguero and Jesus will form a lethal partnership, but the evidence at The Riverside suggests if the pair play alongside each other regularly, there will be goals.
Credit must go to Aguero, City’s 31-goal leading scorer who put in a fantastic shift against Boro. In the first minute his run and cross almost saw Jesus prod the Blues in front.
Aguero also laid on a half-chance after the break that a firing on all cylinders Jesus would normally snap up, but the youngster needs minutes on the pitch to rediscover his sharpness.
After Aguero converted the penalty, it was Kun who dropped deeper looking to create opportunities and his perfect cross allowed Jesus to nod home a towering equaliser late on.
So, a goal each on the day and it could have been even more – and let’s not forget the pair almost combined to produce an injury time winner against Manchester United in midweek but for an assistant referee's flag.
Should we be excited? Most definitely - the Blues just might have one of the most promising strike partnerships in world football on the horizon...
2 Top four picture clearer?
Yesterday’s results benefited one team more than most – Liverpool. Two games ago, the Merseysiders sat in third having played at least two games more of the sides around them – but by the end of Sunday, they were still third with their destiny very much in their own hands.
Of course, our concern lies with City, not Jurgen Klopp's men.
Arsenal and Manchester United’s results yesterday mean the Blues know that four wins would now guarantee fourth spot at the very least.
United have two Europa League semi-final clashes with Celta Vigo to come in the next 10 days, not to mention a trip to the Emirates Stadium to face Arsenal sandwiched in-between.
The Reds also have a mounting injury list and depending on the first leg in Spain, may need to choose which competition offers the best potential route to the Champions League.
Jose Mourinho’s side also must travel to Spurs and Southampton before hosting Palace – a tough run in to say the least.
Arsenal, after hosting United, travel to an unpredictable Southampton the following Wednesday before another tricky away day at Stoke before finishing with home games against Everton and Sunderland a week before the FA Cup final with Chelsea.
City have Crystal Palace, Leicester and West Brom at home in succession and wrap up the campaign at Watford while Liverpool face the Hornets this evening (Monday), then host Southampton before a visit to West Ham and a last-day home game with Middlesbrough.
Anything can happen in football and three of City, Liverpool, United and Arsenal could win all their remaining games – but the likelihood is 75 points will be enough to secure a top four finish, a perhaps even less given the fixture lists.
Taking everything into account and City’s draws with United and Middlesbrough don’t look that bad at all.
3 Injury list
Aguero limping off towards the end of the game with Middlesbrough will be a concern for Pep Guardiola given the Argentinian’s red-hot form.
Hopefully it will be nothing more than a knock and not a muscular issue as Kun still has four games to find the four goals he needs to record his best season in terms of goals.
His form over the past 10 weeks has been electric and he deserves to be able to finish the campaign on the pitch rather than nursing an injury off it, so fingers crossed.
David Silva should be in line to return against Palace and Yaya Toure, rested against Boro will be available. We’ll have to wait for Pep’s Friday press conference for updates on all the above plus Fabian Delph and John Stones.