While Sergio Agüero completed his transformation from substitute to captain, Manchester City underwent an unexpected change themselves. They went from prolific to impotent, losing their lustre and missing the chance to go second as a four-match winning run in the Premier League came to an end. Agüero led Manchester City for the first time under Pep Guardiola, seemingly symbolising his restoration to prominence, but his scoring sequence stopped. City had struck five times in each of their two previous home games but after the drama of recent weeks at the Etihad Stadium came a dullness that suited leaders Chelsea, their rivals for Champions League places and Stoke, who belied their wretched record against the elite with a display of defiance. “Very, very satisfying,” said Mark Hughes, savouring a point on his return to a club that sacked him in 2009. His counterpart drew little comfort. A title challenge has dissipated on their own soil, where Everton, Southampton, Middlesbrough and Tottenham have also held City, leaving them with a worse home record than Burnley and Guardiola admitting: “Our results away are much better.” He claimed that City “fought like never before” but even an improved second-half display scarcely supported that. Instead,… Read full this story
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