It would be fair to say that City have, in general, not had the rub of the green with the new technology, though the festive matches with Wolves and Sheffield United have seen decisions go the champions’ way.
Of course, it is the VAR decisions in last night’s 2-0 win over Sheffield United that steal this morning’s headlines rather than grit and determination of a side playing a second intense game in less than 48 hours. It’s unavoidable.
Pep reaching 100 Premier League wins in record time, quite rightly, takes up plenty of column inches as well.
First, let’s see what the football writers made of our hard-fought win over the Blades…
The Independent: City blunt Blades
Jack Gaughan writes: “After marginal offsides and contentious handballs, add ‘official obstructs player’ to the Premier League’s growing list of farcical refereeing incidents this festive period.
“The Sheffield United analysis team, sat nearby the Etihad’s press box, were incensed when referee Chris Kavanagh appeared to block John Fleck in the build-up to Sergio Aguero’s breakthrough for the opening goal, but it stood.
“Like many seen over the last few days, it was an odd but technically correct decision. Under rules introduced at the start of the season, play must be restarted if the ball hits a match official.
“That was not what happened here. Kavanagh narrowly avoided touching the ball, instead only impeding Fleck’s attempt to play it. There is no rule against that. It was right that the goal was allowed.”
Sky Sports: De Bruyne shines in City win
“It was not all straight forward for the hosts though as United, who caused City plenty of problems in the first half, thought they had taken the lead in the 29th minute through Lys Mousset, but his effort was ruled out by VAR for offside.
“After the break, City showed their clinical side as Aguero (52) and De Bruyne (82) produced emphatic finishes to end Chris Wilder's side's strong resistance and seal Pep Guardiola's 100th Premier League win.”
The Sun: City warm to Blades task
Martin Blackburn writes: “Pep Guardiola said he had no choice but to put his weary players ‘in the fridge’ after their game at Molineux on Friday.
“And Manchester City certainly took a while to warm up against Chris Wilder’s away day specialists.
“Mind you – the name of referee Chris Kavanagh certainly will send a shiver down the spines of Blades fans for a while to come.
“The official gave City a helping hand with their first goal - just when they were struggling to get going.
“He got in the way as Oliver Norwood and John Flack tried to clear their lines and Aguero made the most of the belated Christmas gift.
“As if that wasn’t bad enough, the visitors had a first half goal ruled out by VAR after the linesman failed to spot Lys Mousset was offside.”
Pep the Centurion
Premier League: Guardiola’s reached milestone in record time
They write: “Pep Guardiola has made Premier League history after his Manchester City team earned a 2-0 victory over Sheffield United on Sunday.
“The win against the Blades was Guardiola's 100th in the competition and it came at an unprecedented pace.
“In fact, the three fastest centurions are all current Premier League managers.
“Jurgen Klopp earned his 100th win with Liverpool in the 5-2 Merseyside derby triumph over Everton earlier this month, in his 159th PL fixture.”
That’s all for today – more gossip, opinion and rumour tomorrow…