For the very first time in three months, football was on show in the Bundesliga, La Liga, Serie A, and the Premier League. Following the first round of full fixtures in England, we have been offered a taste of post-pandemic football in the Premier League.

Not much has changed for Manchester City, however, having completed a unique hat-trick of 5-nil home victories against Burnley, following on from their comfortable win over Arsenal in their outstanding game.

Pep Guardiola made eight changes ahead of their crunch tie with Chelsea on thursday, where their opponents couldn’t fill out the nine slots required for the bench due to injuries and contract issues despite two goalkeepers amongst the substitutes. Perhaps a full-strength Burnley would arguably give City a tough time breaking them down, post-lockdown City are a different prospect.

Ahead of the Premier League’s resumption last week, I Indicated that the post-lockdown conditions favoured Guardiola’s star-studded squad the most. The Cityzens get to make five changes during each game and are allowed a cooling break per half! Two games in they have scored eight times and conceded not as much as a shot on target.

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City’s talented youngster Phil Foden has turned heads since the Premier League resumed. (EPA)


At the heart of most of their breathtaking football, Phil Foden has shone the brightest, having followed up a cameo and goal against Arsenal with a man of the match showing including a brace against Burnley. The 20-year-old conjured his “best game in a City shirt” as he grabs the chance to feature more regularly than he has so far in his City career ahead of Leroy Sané and David Silva’s exits this summer.

Guardiola’s team find themselves in an enviable position after the lockdown; with the luxury of utilizing their robust squad for every game, the erstwhile champions are still in the hunt for FA Cup and Champions League glory which would make it a treble season despite surrendering the title to Liverpool and awaiting an appeal ruling on their European ban for next season. 

Liverpool who have blown them away with a 20-point gap in the title race played out a goalless draw with Everton in the Merseyside Derby and have eight games to secure the five points needed to clinch a first league title in 30 years. The Reds could well field most of their impressive U-23 youngsters after clinching the title, to qualify for a winners’ medal and help Mo Salah/Sadio Mané try to win the Golden Boot.

BEWARE: Guardiola’s squad is on a rampage. (AP)


The sky blues are in confident mood without any lockdown hangovers, although getting off a slow start in both games, City passed Burnley off the park as they created chance after chance to unlock The Clarets’ defence. Their relentless high-pressing is even more ruthless late in games with fresh legs, you can only see Pep’s men doing more damage to beleaguered opponents.

With Chelsea in their sights, they look in better shape – even with Sergio Agüero injured – and have more to play for than Liverpool.

Football is back, but it’s City’s world now.


Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin

Chief Editor of the Football Castle, Bolu Alabi-Hundeyin is a football junkie and writer of the beautiful game.

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