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Three things that we learnt: Manchester City 1-1 Middlesbrough

Martyn Cooke

Marten de Roon scored an injury time equaliser to snatch a draw for Middlesbrough at the Ethiad stadium and overshadow Sergio Aguero’s landmark goal for Manchester City.

Pep Guardiola’s side were left rueing missed opportunities and a sloppy second half performance after Aguero had given City a deserved lead in the closing moments of the first period with his 150th striker goal for the club.

However, Middlesbrough were much improved following the half-time interval and whilst de Roon’s last gasp headed equaliser sent the travelling supporters into jubilation it now means that City have drawn all of their last three home matches in the Premier League.

Here are three things we learnt as the Citizens were pegged back by Boro….

No easy games for Pep

This was very much a case of ‘after the Lord Mayors show’ for Manchester City following their impressive win over Barcelona in the Champions League in mid-week.

Indeed, prior to this game Guardiola had warned his players against letting their high standards slip in the Premier League and yet that is exactly what happened during the second half on Saturday afternoon.

In truth, City could have been out of sight by half time having had an astonishing nineteen shots of the Middlesbrough goal during the first half.

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The visitors, with the help of an inspired Victor Valdes in goal, defended desperately against a continuous blue onslaught and it was little surprise when Aguero poked home Kevin de Bruyne’s cross  in the 42nd minute of the game.

City were dominant and the home supporters would have been fully expecting their side to pick up a comfortable three points having finally broken through the staunch defence produced by the visitors.

However, the second period saw a different team emerge from the dressing room and it was apparent that the players had taken their foot off the gas.

Their performance during the second forty-five minutes was characterised by bad passing, poor decision making and all round sloppy play that allowed Middlesbrough to come back into the game and eventually claim a share of the spoils.

City still lead the table by one point from Arsenal and Liverpool, and by two points from Chelsea, but whether they remain there will depend on how those teams perform on Sunday afternoon.

This match was proof that there really are no easy games in the high intensity arena of Premier League football and Guardiola will need to find a way of ensuring that his side adapt to different types of opponents and sustain their performance levels through the entire duration of a match – after all, they can’t play Barcelona every week.

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