Ilkay Gundogan blamed a congested calendar in a singular 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 aim two minutes earlier than half-time proved pricey as Metropolis’s issues in entrance of aim 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 evening as they struggled to interrupt by West Brom’s deep-lying defence.
“We had nice years the place we performed nice soccer prior to now so we set the extent excessive,” stated Gundogan. “Throughout Europe all the large groups are combating the tight fixtures and it isn’t going to be simpler within the subsequent weeks.
“That is an reason it isn’t at all times as straightforward because the expectations folks have for us. We aren’t machines however we additionally know when we’ve got not performed our greatest sport.”
Metropolis might have moved to inside three factors of leaders Tottenham and Liverpool, who meet on Wednesday. As an alternative Guardiola’s males edge as much as fifth on aim distinction, nonetheless 5 factors off the highest.
“These video games you need to win, we all know it, so we drop factors,” admitted Guardiola. “It isn’t far-off the highest of the league, however you need to win video games. Nonetheless we’re in early December and there are a variety of video games to play.”
Metropolis loved 77 p.c possession and had 26 photographs on aim, however not till a late flurry of crosses from Kevin De Bruyne produced two gorgeous saves from Sam Johnstone to disclaim Gundogan and Raheem Sterling had been West Brom opened up.
“We created sufficient to win the sport. We did every thing however in the long run you need to rating,” added Guardiola. “We’ve to be optimistic that in the long run we’ll rating objectives.”
West Brom had the primary massive likelihood of the sport when the ball ricocheted off Joao Cancelo into the trail of Karlan Grant and he compelled Ederson right into a positive save low to his left.
Metropolis’s probing was lastly rewarded on the half hour as Sterling obtained to the by-line and his in the reduction of was fired house from the sting of the world 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 most definitely candidate to supply the inspiration his facet wanted however twice Johnstone within the West Brom aim denied the Belgian with low saves to his left.
Guardiola introduced Metropolis’s all-time document scorer Sergio Aguero off the bench for the ultimate 15 minutes, however the Argentine’s lack of match sharpness after a collection of harm issues confirmed as he slashed extensive the form of likelihood he has so typically buried.
Johnstone’s heroics in stoppage time to disclaim Gundogan and Sterling earned his facet a beneficial draw that strikes them to inside two factors of security.
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