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Forever Blue With Ian Cheeseman

Back to back 5-0 wins from Manchester City, after the opening day defeat at Tottenham, is impressive in itself, but the fact that Arsenal were the opponents for the second of those makes even more satisfying.

Back to back 5-0 wins from Manchester City, after the opening day defeat at Tottenham, is impressive in itself, but the fact that Arsenal were the opponents for the second of those makes it even more satisfying. I’ve attended many City defeats to the Gunners down the years, particularly at Highbury, so an emphatic home win will never be underappreciated by me.

While I’m fully aware that this Arsenal team is not a title contender and had already lost their opening two Premier League games without scoring a goal, they’re still Arsenal. There will be tougher challenges for City to come, with trips to Chelsea and Liverpool on the horizon after the upcoming International break, but you can only beat what’s in front of you. I saw a statistic, recently, that suggested that since 2016 City have bagged five or more in over twenty games, which is stunning.

I remember back at Maine Road there was a period, when Dennis Tueart was flying forward, that City won a few games 4-0 which prompted the extremely unoriginal terrace chant, “four nil, four nil, four nil, four nil”. Oh, the old days!

Those were the days that statues outside football stadiums were few and far between, but those that did exist were generally made of bronze and were in the style of the historical figures placed on plinths in our City centres. Before the Arsenal game, City revealed the first outdoor statues to be displayed at the Etihad Stadium. Rather than being in that old fashioned style, City commissioned Philadelphia based Scottish artist Andy Scott to add a modern twist to the resemblances of Vincent Kompany and David Silva.

I went along to see them for myself, ahead of the game. I filmed images and reaction for my matchday vlog on the Forever Blue Youtube channel. I even recorded a short interview with the artist himself. It was a lovely sunny day, which showed the statues off perfectly and the reaction I got from most people was very positive. As I watched the game unfold I couldn't help wondering whether the Arsenal defenders are also been fashioned by Andy Scott because they looked like statues at times.

There was a fair amount of discussion from City fans about the club’s failed attempts to sign Cristiano Ronaldo and Harry Kane. Most of those I spoke to felt that neither of those players would have been ideal additions to Pep Guardiola’s team and I guess the overwhelming nature of the win against Arsenal tends to prove them right. Last Friday was the ultimate rollercoaster ride for Blues and Reds with Ronaldo appearing to be on the way to City, which prompted one United fan to ceremonially burn his old Ronaldo shirt on social media and some Blues to celebrate with the Ronaldo salute. A few short hours later there was a certain amount of egg on faces as United swooped in to hijack the transfer. 

As I write this on Sunday evening who knows what twists remain in the transfer window that closes on Tuesday night. Have City done enough to retain their Premier League title and take that extra step in the Champions League? The only thing I know for sure is that Saturday was a thrilling performance by City, full of slick passing and inventive play. I can certainly make a strong argument for keeping things more or less as they are. It must be a nightmare to defend against City. Where is the goal threat going to come from. There’s no focal point for opponents to cancel out as the goal threat comes from everywhere. Against Arsenal it was Gundogen, Jesus, Rodri and Torres who bagged the goals, whereas against Norwich it was Grealish, Laporte, Sterling an Mahrez who found the back of the net. Pep has a winning formula, why change it?                 

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