While Riyad Mahrez spent the last few days hoping to sign up to the 'if you can't beat 'em, join 'em' mantra, the rest of the Premier League are taking a different approach to taking on Manchester City. 'Since we can't beat 'em, let's kick 'em.
After Leroy Sane injured ankle ligaments as a result of a hideous tackle by Cardiff City's Joe Bennett, Pep Guardiola was moved to issue missives to the rest of English football on the importance of protecting the good players. Guardiola's preaching failed to roll over the hills of West Bromwich, however.
Albion were soundly beaten 3-0 at the Etihad, with the game marred by two ugly challenges on City players in the second half. The second was undoubtedly the worst: Matt Phillips driving his studs into Brahim Díaz's knee. Earlier, Kevin De Bruyne was subject to a wild tackle from James McClean, the Irish winger attempting to scythe down the Belgian as he raced into space.
As it happened, De Bruyne managed to evade the tackle and played on to double City's lead. McClean was booked.
Speaking after the game, De Bruyne condemned McClean's challenge.
I didn’t know the tackle was like that, I’ve just seen it. Let’s just say the ball was not in the neighbourhood.
The referee told me he didn’t touch me good enough to get the red card but obviously I told him: ‘I saw the guy, I was jumping'.
I don’t know what they are thinking – you can also pull a shirt, that’s more effective than a tackle. Sometimes it gets frustrating. A lot of teams are making a lot of fouls against us. We make a foul, we get a yellow card, I don’t know how it’s possible sometimes.