Manchester City’s Champions League Struggles

Manchester City failed to live up to expectations in the Champions League and once again lost in the quarterfinals. Although, it was over only one leg that is not an excuse to lose to Lyon who finished seventh in Ligue 1. 

Questionable Tactics

 Pep Guardiola’s tactics in the Champions League knockout stage have been appalling, to say the least. Manchester City played a 3-5-2 versus Lyon. A very controversial formation considering Manchester City is an attacking football team. Why would he go away from his team’s strengths? Rudi Garcia and Lyon were shocked City would come out with a defensive formation. Pep seemingly does this every knockout stage game just look at prior years like vs Tottenham and Monaco. It’s really frustrating seeing no consistency. Last year Manchester City lost to Tottenham 4-4 on away goals and the reason they lost was the 1-0 loss in the first leg. I don’t understand why he overthinks it in the Champions League.

Whenever he manages in the Premier League it’s always an attacking formation especially against the best teams such as Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester City. If Pep ever wants to achieve his ultimate goal of winning the  Champions League for Manchester City he needs to manage his team’s strengths. 

Different year same result

After the loss to Lyon Kevin De Bruyne talked about how their performance was not good enough and different year but same story. As great as Raheem Sterling has been the past few seasons but he’s had some Champions League heartbreaks. This time it was a tap in goal after a great pass by Gabriel Jesus and Sterling just blew it. It reminded fans of when Henry Kane did not pass it to Sterling in the 2018 World Cup semi-final vs Croatia. Then the previous year he was offside that would’ve given Manchester City the win over Tottenham.

Another factor was injuries last season Kevin De Bruyne was out and this season Sergio Aguero. Those are Manchester City’s best players and their loss was significant. Enderson’s goalkeeping has declined in the Champions League compared to his Premier League play. Watching the Lyon game the first goal Lyon scored Enderson was too far out and conceded a goal to Maxwel Cornet. Then there was an easy goal scored by Moussa Dembele. This was a minute after Sterling missed. In the quarterfinals vs Tottenham I put the loss on Enderson he’s too good of a goalkeeper to concede three goals to an average Tottenham team. 


Guardiola just needs to stop overthinking and sending his best starting 11 out to start the game. If adjustments need to be made in the game because the game is going downhill go for it. However, if you just came off a great game don’t change it. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Play what has been successful all season. 

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