Boxing Day Brace for Sterling

There was no phony war or Sitzkrieg in this one! The shots were fired early and often and many of them found the back of the net. Pep’s infantry and vanguard were attacking right from the off. They were blitzing from the opening kick and they did not let up the whole first half. Kevin De Bruyne got the party started early in the 5th minute with a honey sweet, delicious half pirouette where he was looking to pass, but as the bodies cleared from around him, he decided to shoot it himself. What an amazing pass into the back of the net it was!

The blue side of Manchester was elated and the Cityzens were not done as they would go on to score 3 more goals in the first half thanks to 2 take downs in the penalty box by Tielemans that Riyahd Mahrez and Raheem Sterling converted into scores from the penalty spot. In between the penalties there was another brilliant pass from KDB to Cancelo, who was streaking up the right flank. This move and pass opened up the Foxes of Leicester City at the back which pulled defenders away from the middle. Cancelo, City’s not so secret defensive back who is really an offensive genius in disguise, played in a wonderful crossed that Kasper Scmeichel got a hand to. Thankfully it ricocheted right to Ilkay Gundogan’s right boot, who buried it into the back of the net for City’s third goal. Then Raheem created a penalty opportunity with a decisive attack that caused him to be tripped by the dangling leg of Tielemans in the box.

Raheem Sterling seems to have a renewed vigor with wanting to take penalties now. Raheem’s penalty taking confidence has been kind of shakey over the past few years as he has made some and missed some. However, after City were knocked out of the EFL cup on penalties with Raheem watching and not participating and after a similar thing happened with him watching England lose a penalty shootout in the European Championship finals, Raheem has clearly decided he is no longer going to leave penalties solely in the hands, or rather the feet, of his teammates. Raheem anxiously got up from the Tielemans takedown and confidently grabbed the ball. He wanted to be the one to fire from the spot and he confidently blasted the penalty shot into the top bins of the goal. Four goals to nil in 25 minutes??? It felt like City were going to run Leicester out of the Etihad at that point. The question was, how bad would the debacle be?

It didn’t end up being the debacle that we were expecting as things subsequently settled down for the Foxes and Schmeichel made a couple big time saves to deny Raheem his 2nd goal and Gundogan his 2nd goal as well. Causing City to go into halftime with only a 4-goal lead. I say “only” in a foreshadowing sense because things were about to get a bit more precarious in the 2nd half. These plays would end up becoming major stops in the grand narrative of the game because Leicester tried to stage an unbelievable second half comeback that for a moment felt more real than a lucid nightmare. Leicester scored 3 goals in 10 minutes that had all City fans around the world getting just a tad bit nervous.

Between the 55th and 65th minute it was definitely squeaky bum time as our collective Cityzen buttholes were definitely puckered tightly. Were we about to witness one of the biggest City leads melted down into one of the biggest City flops? Thankfully a great header from Laporte steadied things a bit and then Man of the Match Raheem Sterling scored his second goal, giving him a brace and the score that made the goal difference feel decisive in this match. The Cityzens are now 6 points clear of Liverpool and Chelsea at the top of the EPL table, though Liverpool has a game in hand. This makes for 9 wins in a row for the Sky Blues and they extended their record for most wins in a calendar year by an English top flight team. Next up, Brentford on Wednesday evening. C’mon City!!

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