Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola takes his side to West Bromwich Albion on Saturday, October 29, 2016, by 3pm at the Hawthorns, West Bromwich, England. He is looking to end the longest winless stretch of his managerial career
It’s now been a month since the last time Manchester City won a football match, and the streak has reached six games and it’s getting really annoying. The frustration grows when you see that City were able to win 10 straight matches to start the season playing outstanding football, only to start conceding goals like crazy and struggle to play Pep Ball as well as the team did in the first two months of the campaign.
Pep Guardiola is on the worst run of results since he became a manager eight years ago, a remarkable stat that really shows how good the Catalan has been at his job. He’s certainly more upset about the winless streak than anyone, and he’s certainly working hard to find an answer to this bad period.
Barcelona visit the Etihad on Tuesday in a massive Champions League game, and the ideal thing would be to face the world’s best team with a high level of confidence. That won’t be possible, but a win against West Brom on Saturday will help City taste victory once again, which will be a big boost ahead of such a tough game in midweek.
Playing and beating a Tony Pulis team is never easy or fun, but it has to be done. It just has to. The streak needs to be over before Barcelona, and this is the last opportunity.
West Brom Pulis signed a one-year contract extension that will keep him as West Brom manager until 2018, which shows the club is very pleased with the job he’s done so far.
The style of football is the one you expect: ugly, ultra-competitive, very defensive, based on tactical discipline and very little display of talent. It has worked for Pulis for over 1000 matches, and he will never change.
For this game, he has very little selection problems: Claudio Yacob is suspended, while James McClean and Saido Berahino may not feature because of fitness issues. Other than that, everyone is availble, including Jonny Evans, who returns from suspension and will sure make West Brom’s defense even harder to break down.
Up front, Salomon Rondón and Nacer Chadli are the creative forces on the side, and they’ll have to be clinical on Saturday, because scoring chances are unlikely to come by too many times.
Man City’s Pep Guardiola has only two injured players on the squad at the moment (Bacary Sagna and Fabian Delph), though Kevin De Bruyne and Pablo Zabaleta will undergo late fitness tests and are unlikely to start. They might play against Barça, but might not be involved in the action against the Baggies to preserve their fitness for the big game.
All the other big stars are available and likely to feature from the first whistle, given that most of them were rested in the EFL Cup loss against Manchester United. Claudio Bravo, John Stones, Fernandinho, Ilkay Gundogan and David Silva are all expected back in the starting lineup, with Vincent Kompany dropping to the bench in this one.
“Like Guardiola though, Tony Pulis – who this week extended his contract until 2018 – is not for changing.
“Both have been successful enough in their own way to stay true to their ideas. “Both could really do with a win. In their own way.”
“I want to build things here and play my part in improving the club. You cannot do these things overnight but I do believe, step by step, we are making advances.
“I think the bulk of our fans understand the process we embarked upon under the shadow of relegation less than two years ago.”
Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola on City’s six-match winless run: “For the players, they don’t deserve this. We are in this period like it is but it will make us stronger in the future, I am sure about that.
“I need time to learn, to improve. I’m still in that process. We have to learn as quickly as possible.”
Too many goals against a Tony Pulis team is not really expected, so it’ll be a nervous game for us to watch, though the Baggies will make life difficult for Manchester City, or at least try to – but I think Pep Guardiola’s six-game winless run will end at the Hawthorns. Prediction: 0-2, in favour of Manchester City