Manchester City produced what was mostly a dominant display, with the game majorly kept under control – but wasted chances, as they have so many times in the past, came back to haunt them after they were unable to extend their 1-0 lead over Nottingham Forest, resulting in two dropped points in the Premier League title race following Arsenal's late win against Aston Villa earlier in the day.
Pep Guardiola once again persevered with his newest reinvention of City's tactics in recent weeks naming a similar XI to the one that faced Arsenal in midweek. Aymeric Laporte came in for Nathan Ake at the back, and Phil Foden returned to the starting line-up, replacing Riyad Mahrez at right wing. Ederson once again in goals with a back four of Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Laporte and Bernardo Silva in his new hybrid left-back role. Rodri started in his usual position in front of the defence, with Ilkay Gundogan and Kevin De Bruyne also in midfield. Jack Grealish and Foden started out on the wings, with Erling Haaland once again leading the line.
City started the game extremely positively, dominating possession and massively pressuring the Forest goal. Forest mainly looked to rapidly counter at any opportunity, but the dominance of City worked well to keep their opportunities to a minimum. While City did struggle to find space inside the well-structured Forest box, they did control the game and managed to create a fair few chances. City's first big chance came 33 minutes into the first half when De Bruyne whipped in a lovely ball into the box, which was met by Rodri, but the following header found itself going just wide of the post. City were really starting the build pressure by this point and looked like the City of old at their best. Late into the first half City finally managed to take advantage of all of their dominance as Grealish found himself collecting the ball on the outside of the box after a Foden corner before playing a lovely ball to set up Bernardo Silva, who emphatically struck the ball past Keylor Navas. 1-0 City.
City continued to dominate for the rest of the second half pinning Forest into the box – and went in for the break comfortably in control of the game. City came out for the second half unchanged and immediately looked to stamp their authority back on the game. It didn't take long for City to produce their next major chance, which came as Foden found himself through on goal; the England international was split between shooting and playing the ball to Haaland, and he took too long to make the decision before losing his footing, and the chance went to waste. Regardless of the dominance on show City just couldn't quite seem to get that extra goal they wanted to make their lead more comfortable with another massive chance wasted, as in the 52nd minute, Laporte found himself with a perfect chance to head the ball, but somehow Navas managed to prevent the ball passing the line.
In the 67th minute, again, City found themselves knocking on the door as Foden's shot found itself rebounded out to Haaland, who couldn't seem to convert the chance with it first hitting the bar before coming back to him when he then sent it over. The chances were coming, but City just couldn't seem to convert them – not even him. Late into the second half, the game began to open up, with Forest starting the create some chances. City's poor finishing came back to haunt them, and in typical City fashion, Forest found themselves getting an equaliser in the 83rd minute as some poor defending allowed a ball to be sent across the box, landing at the feet of Chris Wood, who tapped it at the back post in to bring the hosts level. Guardiola quickly looked to respond with some changes by taking off De Bruyne, who was well below his usual standards today, for Julian Alvarez. Not too long after, another substitution was made, with Foden replaced by Ake. City pressed for a winner with Forest packed back into their box, desperately hoping to hold onto the point they had from the game, with ball after ball being sent into the box, but they just couldn't find a way, and the game ended in a draw.
A bitterly disappointing result from what was majorly an utterly dominant City display, but they became their own worst enemies as chance after chance was wasted. There were clear positives to be taken, but after just gaining ground on Arsenal midweek, this result feels like a massive step back.
Man of the Match
Bernardo Silva once again executed his new role extremely well, providing that extra man in the middle in possession that Guardiola has been missing. His first-half strike from range broke the deadlock, and his work rate, as always, was exceptional.
Ederson - 6
Walker - 8
Dias - 8
Laporte - 7
Bernardo - 8
Rodri - 7
De Bruyne - 5
Gundogan - 6
Grealish - 6.5
Haaland - 5
Foden - 6.5
Substitutions: Alvarez - N/A, Ake - N/A
Written by: @BPFoden_
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