Saturday, May 07, 2016

As the Citizens continue to falter at home, the story of their campaign continues to be this precocious teenager with a wand of a left foot

Manchester City's meek surrender at Southampton, with its unmistakable late-season feel, had the hallmarks of a showing from a team listing in no particular direction.
Never mind that rivals Manchester United and, rather more menacingly, West Ham United are breathing down their necks in a bid for a final Champions League place; the Citizens were stagnant, and duly stank St Mary's out.

The interesting subplot in City's tailing off is of course the arrival of Pep Guardiola in the summer. The timing of the announcement, essentially rendering incumbent Manuel Pellegrini a sitting duck, has caused some uncertainty, and while it would be reductive to say this is responsible by itself, it has not helped a team having an inherently contradictory campaign: the target of jock-bullying by day/weekend, high-flying crusader by night/midweek.
The team selection was also reflective of this duality, as the Chilean made significant changes to the side that started against Real Madrid in midweek. No surprises then that it was Kelechi Iheanacho, who played an hour against the Spanish giants, that looked liveliest, managing to come out of the pile of dung smelling of roses.

His brace takes his tally for the season to 13, a number made even more astonishing when one considers it is from 17 shots on target in total. He also has the best minutes-per-goal ratio of any Premier League player with five goals or more, averaging one every 86.33 minutes. His efficiency is staggering, as is the inherent temperance to his game: there is no wasted motion, no lashing out hopefully; his finishes are measured, giving the opposing goalkeeper no chance.


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