By Score More
Manchester City’s scintillating form in the early stages of the season defies their usual trend of gradually finding their rhythm. This year, they’ve hit the ground running, resembling a team in peak form even in September, with a style of play that’s almost reminiscent of their peak performance months later in the season. Nottingham Forest, their opponents, could only watch in admiration until a glimmer of hope emerged with Rodri’s red card. Despite this setback, City managed to maintain control comfortably.
One Forest supporter in the stands, frustrated with his team’s performance, called out, “Come on Forest, work hard,” but it wasn’t a matter of effort for manager Steve Cooper’s side.
Facing an opponent that orchestrated an opening goal with an impressive 46-pass sequence, culminating in Phil Foden finishing off a clever setup by Kyle Walker, Forest found themselves in an almost impossible situation. City’s performance showcased their mastery of a new system that maximizes the talents of Foden and relies more on explosive runs, a departure from their usual style under Pep Guardiola.
City’s victory marked their sixth consecutive win, a feat they had achieved only twice before in the club’s history, with the last occurrence during Guardiola’s debut season in England, although they finished behind champions Chelsea. If they win against Wolves in the next match, it will be City’s best-ever start to a season, a remarkable achievement for a team that had concluded the previous season several months earlier.
Guardiola praised his team’s performance, particularly in the first 35 minutes, but also expressed frustration with the match referee, Anthony Taylor. City had faced challenges in some matches this season, but they had managed to secure wins nonetheless, extending their lead in the league standings.
Rodri’s red card, an act of violent conduct where he placed his hands around Morgan Gibbs-White’s throat, temporarily disrupted City’s dominance. Guardiola admonished Rodri, indicating his displeasure with the player’s behavior. The suspension of Rodri could pose challenges for City, especially in matches where a holding midfielder like him is crucial, such as the upcoming fixture against Arsenal.
Despite Forest rattling City for a brief period, Ederson’s confrontation with Awoniyi and the subsequent bookings highlighted the intensity of the encounter. Forest sensed an opportunity, especially with a man advantage, but City’s resilience and Forest’s inability to capitalize on the situation allowed the hosts to regain control.
Forest introduced several substitutes in an attempt to mount a resurgence, but City’s defense remained resolute, with Manuel Akanji making a crucial intervention to thwart a dangerous effort from Gibbs-White. Forest’s hopes dwindled, and their late efforts, including a strong save by Ederson from Elanga, failed to yield any meaningful chances.
City had effectively secured victory within the first 14 minutes of the match. Foden’s goal, followed by Erling Haaland’s header, showcased City’s potency in attack. Haaland, despite missing several opportunities in recent matches, continued to be the league’s top scorer with double the number of goals compared to anyone else.
Haaland’s performance was capped off with a powerful header from a Matheus Nunes cross, demonstrating his ability to outmuscle defenders. Although he later missed a chance from close range, his goal-scoring prowess remained unmatched.
Haaland celebrated with his teammates, and there is a sense that more moments of celebration await City in the coming matches.