Manchester City’s toothless strike force misread Pep Guardiola’s blueprint for success
Attack is only the best form of defence if a side attack. This truism haunted the ultimate shock‑and‑awe manager, Pep Guardiola, as Manchester City sleepwalked out of the Champions League.
Listless, confidence-shot, just not good enough: the list to describe City until they finally seemed to wake up before Leroy Sané’s 71st-minute goal is not pretty reading canada goose coat 1000 bulbs coupons for them.
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Neither was what followed as Tiemoué Bakayoko rose above a hapless Aleksandar Kolarov to head home and make this last-16 tie 6-6 on aggregate and knock out City online shop on away goals.
Holding a 5-3 lead from the opening leg, Guardiola stated City needed to score against Monaco or they would be “killed”, then kept to his word by picking a five-man goal-hunting force of Raheem Sterling, David Silva, Kevin benefits of canada goose jacket De Bruyne, Sané, and Sergio Agüero. The problem was that until 62 minutes no City player registered a single shot either on or off-target.
Guardiola also declared attack, attack and more attack is the only way City will can someone check if this canada goose outlet authenitc canada goose outlet store in gta with discount price website is authentic win the Champions League under buy canada goose parka ottawa him. All guns blazing constantly is an admirable philosophy and not a million miles from the mantra of Guardiola’s predecessor, Manuel Pellegrini.
The big difference is that when his City perform as he wishes they are close to an unstoppable proposition, faster, slicker and cleverer than the Chilean’s vintage ever were.
Fatally, this was not one of those occasions. The damning bottom line is that in the biggest game of Guardiola’s reign his blueprint just did not work and City froze.
The Catalan was hired canada goose coat $5000 no credit check signature loans to win the European Cup and the Guardiola effect in continental competition was shown in the headline stat going into this match as the 46-year-old’s proud record in European club football stood at only 15 buy a canada goose jacket online losses in 99 outings.
This ranked him as No1 (ahead of Louis van Gaal) but afterwards he was left saying: “This competition is so demanding. Hopefully we are going to learn so that next season we can come back here and make the same performance we did at the Etihad for the whole 90 minutes.”
Guardiola may be the forward-thinking football man who coolly stated “I am not a coach for tackles” after the 4-2 loss at Leicester City in December but the corollary is defence is the achilles heel of his sides.
The manager admitted he is unsure if City could actually win the competition this year and hard evidence arrived after eight minutes. Kylian Mbappé’s goal pulled the tie back to only 5-4 and came after the 18-year-old was left unguarded near to Willy Caballero’s goal.
The Stade Louis II can be a soulless arena yet even before that goal the crowd were loud, so post-Mbappé’s canada goose coat 1000 bulbs coupon intervention the volume was raised further.
It also punctured City, who just could not string any sequence of passes together. The chief culprit here was De Bruyne, as the Belgian Guardiola rates highly twice failed to find a team-mate.
If this moved his manager to head-shaking, all of this meant the Guardiola masterplan was wobbling and the usually hyper Catalan uncommonly subdued on the touchline.
So, canada goose coat 1000 bulbs garland too, the travelling support, who after an early burst of noise did not take up song until the half hour approached. This was via their old standard, “We’re not really here,” and it became particularly apt when Monaco drew level on aggregate via Fabinho. Yet again schoolboy defending was on show, with John Stones and Kolarov each guilty of allowing space.
The fault line ran from midfield to defence, though. The Guardiola style is built on relentless high pressing to win the ball back, and raids on goal. Close to zero of this had been on show as half-time arrived and now came a test of Guardiola, the in-game coach.
Required was a mainlining of confidence back into his players and for them to actually start playing football. The front five had been anonymous: Sané, Agüero, Silva, De Bruyne and Sterling are supposed to dictate any contest but it had passed them by.
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Now was the time to arrest this and there were signs of a revival as the hour neared. After Silva and De Bruyne tapped the ball around the latter found Sterling along the right. Next Sané finally came alive on the left but the statistic of no shots on or off target at this juncture was glaring.
Guardiola had predicted shots galore so for his side not to take aim and fire even once until Agüero broke the sequence just after the hour mark was odd.
The frustration coursing through the Catalan was illustrated when Sané’s miss was followed by the manager making as if to throw his water bottle at the bench. But far worse was to follow. Now, the serious questions begin.