Pep's magnificent Blues set an all-time record in the history of English league football by becoming the first team to win all 9 competitive fixtures in a single calendar month.
It was the month that felt like it was never going to end. And for City fans, plenty wouldn't have wanted it to!
|13||EPL||H||Brighton & Hove Albion||W||1-0|
|26||EPL||A||West Bromwich Albion||W||5-0|
City started the month with a tricky fixture away to the now-departed Frank Lampard's Chelsea at Stamford Bridge but 3 goals in the first half from Ilkay Gundogan, Phil Foden and Kevin De Bruyne respectively put paid to any suggestion that this was going to be an uncomfortable afternoon for Pep's COVID-19 ravaged men. The only blotch on the copybook was a late Hudson-Odoi consolation goal. This match also saw Rodri make his 50th appearance for the Blues in the Premier League, whilst Joao Cancelo was making his 50th appearance in all competitions.
A trip to neighbours Manchester United in the semi-final of the League Cup was next up for City in January. Due to the fixture pile-up, this year's semi-finals were a single-legged affair. The Blues found a breakthrough via John Stones' thigh in the 50th minute from a whipped Phil Foden delivery. City's passage to ANOTHER Wembley final was secured thanks to Fernandinho's superb volley after the hosts failed to clear their lines from a corner ten minutes from time. The City fraternity were in mourning ahead of this fixture following the news of club legend Colin Bell's untimely passing.
The first fixture of the year to take place at the Etihad Stadium saw City play host to Birmingham City in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. The match was as good as over in the 8th minute when Bernardo Silva's acrobatic volley found the top corner of the Birmingham net, his first of an opening 15 minute brace. Phil Foden got on the scoresheet 18 minutes later to complete the scoring, setting up a fourth round encounter against Cheltenham Town.
Brighton & Hove Albion were the next visitors to the Etihad Stadium as the Blues returned to Premier League duty. Phil Foden continued his rich vein of goal scoring form, his solitary strike from the edge of the box on the stroke of half-time the difference between the two sides in a tense game where the Seagulls will feel aggrieved that they didn't take a share of the spoils.
It was Brighton's rivals, Crystal Palace, who travelled to the Etihad next in the hope of haulting City's title charge that was by now gathering momentum. It was to no avail though, as the Blues ran out 4-0 winners. John Stones opened his Premier League goal scoring account, heading in Kevin De Bruyne's delicious right wing cross from close range. Ilkay Gundogan scored his second goal of the month, sandwiched between John Stones' second brace for the club. Raheem Sterling completed the rout with a fantastic 90th minute free kick.
City made it 6 January wins in a row in controversial fashion against Aston Villa in what was a hard fought victory over the Midlands outfit. This was John Stones' 150th appearance for Man City in all competitions. Rodri, who started the move in an offside position - snuck in front of Tyrone Mings, who by chesting the ball, brought Rodri back into play - pinched the ball and squared to Bernardo Silva who lashed home from range. Cue mass hysteria on the socials and a forced clarification statement release from the officials...
Cheltenham Town and Manchester City met for the first time ever, in the 4th round of the FA Cup at the Jonny-Rocks Stadium. After a lacklustre opening first half, it was the hosts who shocked City, taking the lead through striker Alfie May. This was enough to wake the Blues from their slumber though, with Phil Folden volleying City level on 81 minutes. Further goals from Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres put the game to bed, much to the dismay of the BBC commentators - understandably desperarate for a fairytale 'cupset'.
With FA Cup 5th round qualification secured, attentions turned back to the Premier League once again, this time away at newly-appointed Sam Allardyce's West Bromwich Albion at The Hawthorns. An Ilkay Gundogan brace helped City on their way in this fixture while the Blues were faced with some more offside controversy once again. Sian Massey belatedly flagged Bernardo Silva offside, the Baggies defence stood motionless, City played on and the impressive Joao Cancelo stuck it in the top corner of the net for his 1st Premier League goal. The VAR then confirmed that Silva was indeed ONSIDE and the goal was given. You can expect that rule to be rewritten in the coming weeks! Riyad Mahrez and Raheem Sterling combined to become goal scorer and assister for the 4th and 5th goals of the evening. Phil Foden made his 100th appearance for the club in the fixture, becoming the youngest player since Micah Richards to reach that amount of games.
City's final feat of January 2021 was a narrow 1-0 victory at home to relegation battling Sheffield United. Gabriel Jesus' 9th minute strike after he was fed neatly by Ferran Torres separated the sides and secured a new club record for the Blues as that meant they had won 12 consecutive games for the first time ever (excluding penalty shoot-out victories) in the club's history!
City scored 24 goals in the month of January in all competitions. Ilkay Gundogan scored 21% of those, running out the club's leading goal scorer for the month with 5 goals. Phil Foden was hot on the German's heels with 4 while Bernardo Silva and John Stones came in third with 3 goals a piece.
|Phil Foden||4||Ferran Torres||1|
|Bernardo Silva||3||Joao Cancelo||1|
|John Stones||3||Kevin De Bruyne||1|
|Gabriel Jesus||2||Riyad Mahrez||1|
Those 24 goals, were assisted by 10 different players. Despite only playing 6 matches in January, Kevin De Bruyne unsurpisngly topped the assists chart for the month with 4 assists. Joao Cancelo, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden all provided 2 assists each, whilst the rest were made up of single assists by Bernardo Silva, Fernandinho, Ferran Torres, Ilkay Gundogan, Raheem Sterling and Rodri.
13 of those 24 goals came via right footed strikes (54.16%), 9 were left footed strikes (37.5%) and the other 2 were made up of 1 header and 1 'other' (thigh).
13 goals were scored in the first half or matches (54.16%), with the other 11 goals being netted in the second half of games (45.84%).
City scored 11 goals at home in the month of January, the other 13 goals all coming away from home.
A whopping 6 of City's 24 January goals came from outside of the box (25%), 5 were notched from within the 6 yard box (20.83%) whilst the remaining 13 goals were struck from within the penalty area (54.16%).
A special mention must go out to City's backline. John Stones and Ruben Dias conceded just 1 goal in the entire month when on the pitch together. Ederson didn't concede at all in the month and the Blues kept 7 clean sheets in total (77.77%).
Here's hoping for a fabulous February!
StatCity Player of the Month: Ilkay Gundogan