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Sterling & Sane show why they are Man City's future

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 902

Pin Sterling celebrates scoring the winning goal against Arsenal. Goal
Sterling celebrates scoring the winning goal against Arsenal. Goal

Sterling & Sane show why they are Man City's future

BeSoccer by BeSoccer @besoccer_com - 0 902

Pep Guardiola has changed his approach in recent games to suit the comparatively limited learning capacity of his older players, but his two youngsters showed what's to come.

So much has been said about the Manchester City players who have struggled with Pep Guardiola's demands - the ones who will soon be leaving the club - but Sunday was a day when two of his hottest prospects came to the fore.

Leroy Sane and Raheem Sterling have had their ups and downs in their short City careers to date but they are the heroes for City as they produced a much-needed victory against Arsenal.

The old guard - David Silva and Yaya Toure - certainly played their part, and Kevin De Bruyne, another of Guardiola's long-term bets, was again prominent.

But it was Sane and Sterling who provided the second-half goals as City roared back to secure a victory which has been a long-time coming.

Guardiola has shown his willingness to adapt to the challenge by changing his approach for the two most recent games: since the horror show at Leicester City he has seen off Watford and Arsenal with a more orthodox four-man defence, who have not been asked to do anything especially complicated, like switch to a back three depending on who has the ball.

A defeat for City here would have been another setback given Guardiola has responded to his critics by mixing things up.

It looked as though that's how things would pan out early on when City missed a couple of notable chances and Theo Walcott danced through to strike the kind of one-on-one goal that so many others have scored against this team in recent weeks.

But Guardiola was as frustrated as the home support with City's slow play in the first 45 minutes and he did something about it at half-time.

The game turned when Sane raced in behind the Arsenal defence - courtesy of a fine Silva pass - to slot in a cool equaliser.

That forced the Gunners higher up the pitch and City took control, manoeuvring the ball into the spaces that Arsene Wenger's men were now leaving. 

The game was played on the edge of the away team's box but City did not look like getting their breakthrough until Sterling took possession on the byline from a lovely De Bruyne pass, worked his way back into a shooting position and drilled in a low strike at Petr Cech's near post.

The England man has looked short of confidence in recent weeks, those wonderful finishes against West Ham and Swansea City earlier in the season a distant memory as he raced through on goal in recent games but hesitated and looked for a pass.

It has been a similar story for Sane, who was brought to the club this summer largely because they wanted to tie down this mercurial talent before Europe's giants took an interest.

Guardiola has said the 20-year-old German has taken time settling into life at his new club and his mother and other members of his family are regular visitors to Manchester.

He has been flaky on the majority of his appearances so far, particularly against Celtic earlier this month, but he showed great character - personality as Guardiola calls it - on a big day for his team.

He was brought to the club during the first part of City's great rebuilding project, which will only reach completion if things go their way next summer.

City have six players out of contract in July and each will be moved on - including Toure. Perhaps only Aleksandar Kolarov of City's backline today will be at the club beyond the August 2017 - Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy will go on frees while Nicolas Otamendi is on thin ice.

The Blues will look very different come the start of next season, let alone Guardiola's third campaign - when we will really see what he can do in English football. 

In fact, you would imagine only Sterling, Sane and De Bruyne of today's starting XI, if not the whole squad, will still be around by the time Guardiola has fully got to grips with City.

This, then, was a glimpse into the future. Guardiola may have compromised his methods for a short-term gain, but two of his stars for the future showed a bright flash of things to come. 

BeSoccer

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