Thursday, May 24, 2018

Monaco game summed-up City under Guardiola

David Nugent in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 22 Feb 2017


Argentinian striker Sergio Aguero scored a brace in Manchester City’s incredible 5-3 Champions League win over Monaco on Tuesday night

It hard to know what to make of Manchester City at the moment. On Tuesday night they were involved in a crazy Champions League last-16 clash with Monaco that ended 5-3.

The game just summed-up City and how they have played this season under Pep Guardiola.

The good, the bad and the ugly of the Citizens was there for all to see. Life certainly is not dull at the moment for Citizens fans that is for sure.

Cannot defend to save their lives

In all honesty, Pep Guardiola is a fantastic coach, but his teams have always had a slight defensive vulnerable to them. Even his all-conquering Barcelona were not exactly rock solid, although that did not matter because the opposition hardly ever had the ball.

Unfortunately for City, they do not have the same amount of possession or control of the games that Barcelona had during those glory years. City do have a very expensively assembled centre-back duo of John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, who do not help their defensive cause at all.

The pair are both highly rated, but both looked nervous against Monaco. For all the money they cost they do not look like the answer to City’s defensive problems. Stones is regarded as a potential star of the future.

If he is to fulfil his potential then somebody needs to show him how to defend. Then he can do all the other fancy stuff that he attempts on a regular basis. The former Everton star may have scored against Monaco, but his performance at the other end of the field needs to be questioned once again.

Otamendi was billed as a roughly old-fashioned centre-back when he arrived at City from Valencia. However, at times he has been exposed this season and does not look comfortable on the ball, which is a bad trait for a defender in a Pep Guardiola team.

Ironically, City headed into this game with four clean sheets from their last five outings. However, their defensive problems returned in Tuesday’s incredible clash.

Fantastic going forward

The other side of the coin for City is their attacking prowess. As poor as they are in defence, they are more often than not fantastic in attack. To score five goals against a very good Monaco team takes some doing, especially without their saviour Gabriel Jesus.

Anybody questioning Sergio Aguero’s future with City only needs to watch how the striker celebrated his brace against Monaco to see his commitment to the club. The Argentinian striker looked to be back to best against the French league leaders.

City’s team seems to be jam-packed with attacking talent in the likes of Leroy Sane, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva and Raheem Sterling.

City’s attacking options are enough to send any opposition defence into hiding. For much of the game, it seemed like Leonardo Jardim’s defence had gone into hiding, scared of the Citizens vibrant attacking play.

What is even scarier is the fact the likes of Sane, De Bruyne and Sterling are only in their early or mid-twenties. They still have so much time to cause many a defence nightmares.

City are the favourites

I have to admit I was not sure which way this tie was going to go. Having watched Monaco stampede through Ligue One defences this season I knew they would be dangerous opponents for City and could have eliminated them.

Despite three away goals for the team from the principality, the Citizens are favourites at odds of 1/6 to make the quarter-finals. A two-goal lead should be enough to see City through to the last eight of the competition.

City are unlikely to sit back in the second leg and Guardiola has already stated he believes they will need to score at the Stade Louis ll.

Manchester City winning 5-3 was no doubt entertaining for the neutral. However, the result says a lot about where City currently are under Guardiola. There needs to be a defensive improvement that’s for sure.

If the Catalan boss can find a solution to his defensive problems then I have no doubts that City have enough attacking talent to become a major force for years to come.

Can Manchester City win the Champions League?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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