Wednesday, November 02, 2016

The potential of Manchester City

What a difference from the match two weeks ago in Barcelona between FC Barcelona and Manchester City! With Willy Caballero on goal the Manchester City defense also looked to have more confidence than with the hapless Claudio Bravo (who in my view cost the match two weeks ago), and the decisions showed that Pep Guardiola is perhaps more cynical and willing to change the style he has always promoted since his Barcelona days when the situation calls for it.
It all seemed to be going Barcelona's way in the first half when they went ahead 1-0, with Gundogan equalizing before half-time. In the second half Manchester City were a transformed side, and their energy and high pressure gave them their well-deserved first victory ever over FC Barcelona, and good chances to reach the knock-out stages of the Champions League. Kevin De Bruyne and Ilkay Gundogan (who scored one and two goals respectively) were simply fantastic, far overshadowing the FC Barcelona holy trinity of Messi, Neymar and Suarez (despite Messi's exquisite first half counter attacking goal on a pass by Neymar).
The match shows the potential of Manchester City: they have had a great team for years, but some kind of minority complex has continued to haunt them. If they get beyond that mental constraint, they could eventually reach the very top.
Despite the defeat FC Barcelona remains favourites for the title: they still have a splendid side, but Manchester City exposed some of its weaknesses in midfield and defense, as well as the lack of depth in some of their replacements. They seem to depend too much on their holy trinity.

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