- Rampant Man City rout Watford to cement their dominance at the end of tumultuous week14:44 | 20/05/2019
Little had been said of the Blues’ footballing prowess in the days following their title victory at Brighton, and it could be the same all summer.
Photo by Getty
Another game, another trophy for Manchester City.
At the end of a week in which many connected with the club felt their on-the-pitch achievements had been glossed over, they went to Wembley and did what they do best; ruthlessly winning football matches.
They won 14 on the bounce to secure a 98-point Premier League title, 12 months after an historic 100-point campaign. In each of those seasons they won 32 matches, an English record.
Before the half-time whistle had even blown at Wembley you only had to have a quick glance at Twitter to see complaints about this being a no contest, that it is some terrible portent for the future of football.
Sure, the gap between the rich and the rest is widening, and it is a genuine concern. But this is an exaggerated example of one team being so much better than the rest. After all, not every rich club is as dominant as this City team, nowhere near.
This team is more than just a few expensive players thrown together; look at Paris Saint-Germain, look at Manchester United, look at Real Madrid. Players that command huge transfer fees and earn massive wage packets are not always the ones who take home the trophies.
Money has never guaranteed success in football and it never will do. What City have got is something special, even if there are concerns, genuine and otherwise, about how the project has been put in place.
In all of the complaints this week about City’s finances – where they come from and how they are recorded – it has been overlooked that what has unfolded on the pitch in the past two years is a genuine achievement.
Money gives you a good chance of success, and City would not be here were it not for their rich owners, but there is a difference between the odd trophy here and there and this kind of relentless domination (as this club themselves can attest, given their struggles to retain the Premier League under former managers).
And Watford tried, they really did. Troy Deeney won every high ball that went anywhere near him, Gerard Deulofeu ran in behind hoping to capitalise. When it was 0-0, Roberto Pereyra went clean through on goal but was denied by Ederson.
Vincnt Kompany may have conceded a penalty for a handball. Even at 2-0 down, Deulofeu had a decent chance to keep the game alive but skewed it wide of the post.
Against a lesser side than City, Watford would have scored at least one goal, maybe they would have won. But the fact of the matter is they were playing City, one of the most dominant teams in English football history.
Guardiola left Sergio Aguero on the bench, Kevin De Bruyne was not fit enough to start, Fernandinho was not involved at all, they continued with a diminutive-attacking-midfielder-by-trade at left-back, and it made very little difference.
David Silva scored the opener, Gabriel Jesus (in for Aguero) added a second before half-time. At that point it looked over, but Watford were still in it.
Suddenly it got away from them. De Bruyne came off the bench and added a third, Jesus struck again, and Raheem Sterling popped up with two.
He could have had a hat-trick at the end but played in John Stones, who was denied by Heurelho Gomes. This had long, long become a battering.
It speaks to the quality of players at Guardiola’s disposal but also, and this cannot be stressed enough, to the fact that the Catalan is a genius who has now stamped his unique brand of football on three different teams in three very different footballing cultures.
No matter the money spent, this is first-rate coaching, and a triumph in squad planning – again, ask PSG, United and Madrid if they would want the same kind of astute buying in the transfer market.
The culmination of all this is not just an unprecedented domestic treble, but one finished off with one of the biggest FA Cup final victories of all time. To paraphrase football commentator Andy Townsend, City have almost won it too well.
Because while their 6-0 trouncing of Watford will be praised by plenty, it will be used by others as an example of just how skewed the landscape of English football, and perhaps European football, has become.
If City fans thought the cup final would bring an end to a week in the headlines for all the wrong reasons, they will no doubt be wrong. This is a club that feels like it cannot do right for doing wrong right now.
And, of course, it could well carry on well into the summer. As much as many supporters will not want to admit it, the club is facing a number of charges from various governing bodies that could see them banned from the Champions League and stopped from signing players, either senior or junior.
There may well come a time this summer where some have to wonder if all the authorities are out to get City, or whether City have simply broken too many rules in too many different areas of the game.
For now, of course, nothing is proven, and City strenuously deny any wrongdoing. Guardiola pointed out on Friday that they are innocent until proven guilty, and that is of course true.
They are also, and this, too, cannot be emphasised enough, a fantastic team, one of the best in English history. There could have been no doubts about that last weekend, when they lifted their Premier League title, and now, after this bloodbath at Wembley, they have rammed the point home.
Source – Goal.com
Portrait of famous people
- Le Huynh Duc is former captain of Vietnamese national Football team. He is currently coaching SHB Ðà Nẵng.
- Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is to retire at the end of the season.
- Striker Le Cong Vinh is playing for SLNA
- Lionel Messi became the best scorer in a year with 91 goals in 2012.