‘It will be a long season’, Guardiola expresses frustration over Manchester City – West Brom draw

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Against all odds, struggling West Brom were able to hold Manchester City to 1-1 draw in a Premier League clash at the Etihad on Tuesday night, leaving Pep Guardiola frustrated.

Expressing his frustration over the game that saw City create a plethora of chances, the Spaniard noted that it was that sort of match that City had to win.

Baggies goalkeeper Sam Johnstone made two point-blank stoppage-time saves to stop Ilkay Gundogan, who gave City initial lead and Raheem Sterling from giving City victory.

The stalemate left Guardiola‘s side on sixth in the Premier League table, five points off the top.

“It will be a long season but if you want to be up there we have to win here and we could not do it. We created chances, we controlled it but you have to win. This game works on results,” he pointed out.

West Brom showed their organisation against a City that seemed to be on course for a customary home win. When Ilkay Gundogan applied a first-time finish to Raheem Sterling’s cutback after half an hour, all were expecting the hosts to run riot and West Brom to be deflated after impressive organisation in their backline.

However, the goal was cancelled out in the 43rd minute before when a volley on the turn from Semi Ajayi, which appeared to be going wide, deflected off Ruben Dias and wrong-footed City keeper Ederson.

After City conceded its first goal in 608 minutes in all competitions, they resumed the second interval with constant attacks that met a valiant backs-to-the-wall effort from Slaven Bilic’s men, who defended heroically.

West Brom could sack Bilic today despite securing a 1-1 draw against Manchester City

Meanwhile, there has been an indication that Bilic could be sacked by the club today. But a point could be enough to make him get another chance at least till the weekend if he get result.

After emerging the winner of the Championship, Bilic’s men are languishing in the relegation zone, with seven points from 11 games.

However, there’s uncertainty about the future of the 52-year-old. This is because there have not been talks over a new contract, with his current one due to expire in the summer.

The Baggies already this season lost each of their past nine visits to Etihad Stadium and their hopes could not have been especially high on their latest trip, given they had won once all season and that success – at home to bottom club Sheffield United.

Knowing that is future is the topic of major debate, the Baggies boss looked edgy while trying to urge his team on during an opening period that could hardly have been more one-sided.

All the blames can’t be on the manager as well because the quality in the Premier League is different from the Championship. For instance, West Brom’s restricted budget made Bilic push the Baggies board to pay Huddersfield £15m for striker Karlan Grant on deadline day.

The striker has only scored one goal from nine games before this and that is not impressive. He won’t get many better chances than the one he had after seven minutes at the Etihad when he was straight in front of goal, 10 yards out, with only Ederson to beat.

His shot was unconvincing as he ought to bend it close to the corner more, which would give the goalie no chance to save.

In defense, the goalscorer, Ajayi was outstanding. They had to cling on with his goal in partnership with Dara O’Shea despite a flurry of attacks from the hosts.

Since there was no threat at the other end, the visitors’ collective effort had to be strong enough to hold off City. The performance was far better than anything previously produced in a season where they had conceded 25 goals in their first 12 games, more than any other side.

Further thanks to Johnstone’s heroics at the end, which ensured the defenders’ efforts gained a tangible reward.

It is hoped that this will gear them to get more result and subsequently move out of the relegation zone. If that can be achieved this weekend when they host Aston Villa.