Manchester City showed some flaws in their loss to rival Manchester United that could cost them in their other trophy pursuits most notably the Champions League. Two factors to the loss were not responding to going behind and poor play.
Manchester City Unable to Respond to Going Behind
A Blip in a Long Road of Competitions for City
Throughout the season anytime Manchester City has gone down by at least two goals they have not had the ability to come back. They faced a 2-0 deficit in the Manchester Derby after a knucklehead decision by Gabriel Jesus. He fouled Anthony Martial with Ruben Dias and John Stones on Martial which made it baffling. It led to a penalty by Bruno Fernandes which he converted to give United the lead within a minute.
Then an early second-half goal by Luke Shaw took the wind straight out of City’s sails and they never recovered. Pep Guardiola took too long to make substitutions; he eventually subbed in Phil Foden but only with about 20 minutes to go. For a player, the quality of Foden 20 minutes isn’t enough to get a draw. Also, Foden wants to play more and if Pep continues to not play him in big games that might give him the incentive to leave.
Sergio Aguero did not play and him being the most clinical player makes it worse. Being down 2-0 it’s essential to bring in someone who can put the ball in the back of the net. Guardiola did this to Foden earlier the season after going down 2-0 to TottenhamHotspur and Foden got about the same amount of playing time in that game that he got in the derby. It’s concerning because Guardiola hasn’t learned from his previous mistakes in defeats.
This could potentially be the downfall of Manchester City in the Champions League. That’s the difference between Manchester City and Bayern Munich. The German champions went 2-0 down to Borussia Dortmund because of the most dangerous player in world football in Erling Haaland. Yet they retaliated with four goals. Bayern Munich should be the favourites for the Champions League, not Manchester City. They are the defending champions and the team to beat.
Guardiola has said throughout the season, the best players play. However, that did not happen in the derby. Especially when he started Raheem Sterling and Jesus. They have been inconsistent all season one game they will play great and in another, they are ghosts on the pitch. Because of his inconsistent form, it is remarkable, Guardiola would start Sterling vs Manchester United. Considering the England winger has not scored in 23 career games versus Manchester United. Sterling has not been world-class since his remarkable 2017/18 season.
The Brazilian striker should have been taken out of the game at the beginning of the 2nd half. Both of these players lack confidence and if they are having a poor game it’s unlikely a switch will be flipped. Yesterday Guardiola stated: “ we arrive at the right time of the season with not many games, the players who help me a lot of the season I will rotate less and the players who think about the clubs and the team. The rest will be on the bench.”
Without Jesus and Sterling playing Manchester City scored five goals against Southampton. Expect Sterling and Jesus on the bench as long as Guardiola is a man of his word. The next few months will be the defining moment to see if Manchester City can achieve all of their goals.
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