Ilkay Gundogan blamed a congested calendar in a novel season for Manchester Metropolis’s failure to match the requirements they’ve set beneath Pep Guardiola after a 1-1 draw with West Brom dealt one other blow to their title problem. Gundogan appeared to have opened the floodgates on the half hour mark, however Ruben Dias’s personal objective two minutes earlier than half-time proved pricey as Metropolis’s issues in entrance of objective continued in a goalless second-half. Metropolis have gained simply 5 of their opening 12 league video games of the season, a far cry from the mixed 198 factors they registered in two title-winning campaigns beneath Guardiola in 2017/18 and 2018/19.
Even final season when ending distant runners-up to Liverpool, Metropolis scored 102 league objectives, however the stale domination that has characterised a lacklustre marketing campaign was in proof all night time as they struggled to interrupt by way of West Brom’s deep-lying defence.
“We had nice years the place we performed nice soccer up to now so we set the extent excessive,” stated Gundogan. “Throughout Europe all the massive groups are combating the tight fixtures and it is not going to be simpler within the subsequent weeks.
“That is an reason why it isn’t at all times as simple because the expectations folks have for us. We aren’t machines however we additionally know when we’ve got not performed our greatest recreation.”
Metropolis may have moved to inside three factors of leaders Tottenham and Liverpool, who meet on Wednesday. As a substitute Guardiola’s males edge as much as fifth on objective distinction, nonetheless 5 factors off the highest.
“These video games it’s important to win, we all know it, so we drop factors,” admitted Guardiola. “It is not far-off the highest of the league, however it’s important to win video games. Nonetheless we’re in early December and there are a number of video games to play.”
Metropolis loved 77 % possession and had 26 photographs on objective, however not till a late flurry of crosses from Kevin De Bruyne produced two beautiful saves from Sam Johnstone to disclaim Gundogan and Raheem Sterling have been West Brom opened up.
“We created sufficient to win the sport. We did all the pieces however ultimately it’s important to rating,” added Guardiola. “Now we have to be optimistic that ultimately we’ll rating objectives.”
West Brom had the primary large likelihood of the sport when the ball ricocheted off Joao Cancelo into the trail of Karlan Grant and he compelled Ederson right into a advantageous save low to his left.
Metropolis’s probing was lastly rewarded on the half hour as Sterling received to the by-line and his in the reduction of was fired dwelling from the sting of the realm by Gundogan.
However the hosts shot themselves within the foot by conceding for the primary time in seven video games two minutes earlier than half-time as they didn’t clear a free-kick into the field and Semi Ajayi’s shot was deflected into his personal web by Dias.
It was one-way visitors after the break as Metropolis arrange camp within the West Brom half however lacked the creativeness or tempo to open the guests up.
De Bruyne was the more than likely candidate to supply the inspiration his aspect wanted however twice Johnstone within the West Brom objective denied the Belgian with low saves to his left.
Guardiola introduced Metropolis’s all-time file scorer Sergio Aguero off the bench for the ultimate 15 minutes, however the Argentine’s lack of match sharpness after a sequence of harm issues confirmed as he slashed large the kind of likelihood he has so usually buried.
Johnstone’s heroics in stoppage time to disclaim Gundogan and Sterling earned his aspect a priceless draw that strikes them to inside two factors of security.
Matters talked about on this article