Real Madrid 1-2 Man City: How Pep Guardiola’s plan clinched landmark Champions League win
Wednesday’s win over Real Madrid was a milestone night at the Champions League for Manchester City and also the way they won in the Bernabeu was unforgettable too.
City were under additional pressure going into the tie because of their European ban, then of the conversation before kick-off was about Pep Guardiola’s group choice when he abandoned Sergio Aguero out.
Pep’s strategy worked to perfection and it was excellent to watch.
As City fought back to beat Real for the very first time in their history there were some wonderful individual contributions from the likes of Kevin de Bruyne, Gabriel Jesus and , off the bench, Raheem Sterling.
Despite being in a role, de Bruyne was gorgeous. He needed to await a chance about the half-turn however, when he got it, he delivered and revealed again you can always rely upon his drive and determination.
But, overall, it was.
His instructions were understood by his players, along with guardiola acquired his strategies spot on and set to carry out them.
There is work to do in the second legand dropping Aymeric Laporte to another accident was a blow – but City are placed themselves in a place that is terrific to make it through to the quarter-finals.
I thought right out which Guardiola had gone in his group together with energy and legs as opposed to risking a lot of players who might not survive the 90 minutes As soon as I watched City’s line-up, however I still did not understand what shape he would use.
It was intriguing to see out his plan play.
In the few minutes it had been Bernardo Silva who had been around the abandoned and Jesus in the middle, but suddenly Jesus pulled on to the side.
Riyad Mahrez went very high and Bernardo inhabited a character leaving Ilkay and Rodri Gundogan behind them.
It was the strikerless formation that City had used when they won in the first leg of their Carabao Cup and went into Old Trafford.
This time, Jesus was on the left instead of Sterling, who was on the bench after his injury – Guardiola was waiting to use him, and what an impact he could have.
City gave Real something different to think about, as both centre-halves that were seasoned did not have a number nine to indicate.
I can see Guardiola did this , because Raphael Varane and Sergio Ramos would not have contributed much distance when they had led the City assault to Jesus or Aguero and I am not sure that role would have suited Jesus, in particular.
Instead of have his back to goal with a defender close him up and marking him closely , he likes to put on the ball and go in people – he was able to perform at the Bernabeu with his runs down the left.
Actual started off by seeing a lot of the ball – as much as 70 percent in the first couple of minutes – but City looked as if they had been in a fantastic shape and restricted their chances pretty good.
A couple of loose moves got City at a bit of trouble early on however when Actual were pulling the ball forwards and building strikes, the side of Guardiola seemed extremely comfortable.
City were starting to take charge of the match once they fell behind to the hour mark, and they brought on their own downfall since it had been Rodri who allowed in if he gave the ball away in a key place Actual.
Actual were initially very great at stopping City building momentum – but that changed when Sterling substituted Bernardo .
Since they don’t like someone with his pace running on and off the ball, defenders scare, and he did against Real to devastating effect.
City’s first goal came in the 78th minute, after he made a run off down the ball down on the leftand left room to De Bruyne to clip in a wonderful ball for Jesus, who’d proceeded indoors to play a centre-forward, to head home.
By now the game had opened up and I mentioned on Radio 5 it was ideal for Sterling to get in a one-on-one with someone in a wide area and push him back.
That’s precisely what occurred. Dani Carvajal is seasoned enough to know if he must have carried on working but he went for the tackle.
Sterling is so fast that Carvajal made the mistake left a leg in, and down he went.
Lately, being granted a penalty has meant problems for City. They have missed their last four out of the spot – such as against Leicester on Saturday five out of eight this season.
Along with 5 live commentator John Murray, I had analysed all of them and looked at that might take their one too.
He had agreed it was his turn to have a go although it turned out De Bruyne hadn’t taken one for City since October 2016.
I believe he was the perfect choice and when he does miss you in the future, I don’t think he should stop taking them.
He’s just kept on getting better and better at the past couple of years and, in the level he’s at now, I think he could only take it to the chin and believe’I am one of the best players in the world, look what else that I deliver’.
It was good timing for him also, since he’d established the equaliser just a few minutes before so when City obtained their punishment , he was probably thinking’this is perfect, allow me to accept it’.
The manner City saw out their win was impressive also – was all about their concentration and their attempt, and their gamers placed everything they had in it.
At the final time I had been watching the City seat celebrating with Guardiola, since they understood what a big game this was for them.
They totally deserved their outcome, though it would be a mistake.
City have the benefit but Real will visit the Etihad Stadium for the next leg on 17 with their players, their history and also the way that they thrive in this contest when it matters. You cannot manage to under-estimate them.
It will, however assist City that defender Sergio Ramos is suspended following his red card on Wednesday. He’s one of those characters they’ve relied on recently when they’ve been under pressure in times of necessity.
Real will see loads of the ball, and it will be something City aren’t utilized to, so how will Guardiola play it now he’s a lead?
Does he come ahead and set the tone of the match, or does wait to strike at Actual about the counter and he again set up to perform out of possession? It is going to be very interesting to discover.
His creation shifted from United at the second leg, yet this time I wouldn’t be shocked if he stuck with this particular shape, and the side that won in Spain , as much as possible. It was the kind of performance City will have to find outside this tie.
The disadvantage is that he may have to do it .
Laporte has just returned after five weeks out so any lengthy scarcity could be a enormous blow.
With the matches which City have coming up, including Sunday’s Carabao Cup final against Aston Villa, I would hope that they have to deal without him but I would feel more confident regarding the return against Actual if he was back in the team.
M ichael Brown spoke to Sport’s Chris Bevan.