Are you seeking a happier, more fulfilling, less stressful life as a sports fan? May I suggest rooting for Manchester City?
City being good is nothing new, but the Citizens have been operating at an even higher level than usual over the last handful of games. In its last four league games, City has scored 20 goals while conceding just four, and a good number of those goals were scored before City’s opponents even had a chance get a feel for the game. Against Watford on Dec. 4, City was up 2-0 within 35 minutes; the 7-0 ass-beating that Leeds suffered on Dec. 14 was started by a three-goal flurry in the first 32 minutes; Newcastle was down 2-0 and dead in the water after 27 minutes on Dec. 19. Today’s Boxing Day match against Leicester started out as more of the same: by the time the 25th minute had ticked off the clock, City was up 4-0.
Perhaps paradoxically, it was today’s game against Leicester, in which City conceded three goals, that accounted for the most impressive victory of the bunch. Down 4-0 at halftime, Leicester finally got its counter-attack sorted at the start of the second half and blitzed City with three goals in 10 minutes. A lesser team, suddenly suffering the mental whiplash that comes from coasting through a 4-0 blowout to suddenly defending a one-goal lead, may have faltered. But if there’s one thing that sets City apart from the other teams at the top of the table, it might be how hard it is to rattle the 11 guys on the field. After Leicester’s third goal went in, City just got right back to work doing what it always does: possessing the ball, flooding the opponent’s box with attackers and crosses, and creating chances. City struck back with a set-piece goal almost immediately after giving up Leicester’s third, and then added another in the 87th minute. By the end of it all, City had produced the kind of self-assured win that showed off the full variety of ways in which it can dominate any opponent. Getting two penalties is easy when you spend so much time hanging out in the opponent’s box; scoring against a bunkered-in defense is easy when you have guys who kick the ball as well as Kevin De Bruyne can; turning corner kicks into goals is easy when you have two mountainous center backs always lurking near the goal.
City’s lead in the table over second-place Liverpool is now six points, and the Sky Blues have won eight consecutive league games. Nobody would ever call this team undermanned or underfunded, but the fact that City has been winning games in such dominant fashion without a natural striker, and with Jack Grealish so far providing very little aside from some off-field drama, makes this current run all the more impressive. There’s actually room for improvement here, which should frighten all of the teams still hoping to catch City at the top of the table.
So, yes, if you want to spend every Premier League weekend at peace and assured that your favorite team will hardly put a foot wrong, you should adopt City. Just make sure you turn the game on as soon as it starts, because there’s a good chance it will be over within 30 minutes.