Manchester City 1 Bayern Munich 3 analysis: City are not safe in Joe Hart's hands
Five things we learnt from the Champions League tie at the Etihad
Thursday 03 October 2013
1. City’s goal is not safe left in Hart’s hands
Dominant as Bayern were, there is no doubt the opening goal came from yet another Joe Hart mistake. He was too slow and weak in reaching Franck Ribéry’s shot, and could not keep it out. It was Hart’s second bad mistake of the season, after one at Cardiff. It feels as if there is not enough pressure on him, with Costel Pantilimon as back-up, and there is a very strong case for City bringing another keeper in.
2. Guardiola has moulded Munich in his own image
At times in the first half, it must have been impossible for the Bayern coach, Pep Guardiola, not to have flashbacks to the last time he faced a Manchester side – when his Barcelona team took United apart in the 2011 final. This, at points, was just like that: Bayern harassed City ferociously and from the front, swarming all over them. It was a strangle and City could not breathe. It is remarkable just how quickly Guardiola has imposed his system on his new team. He seems to have won them over to it already.
3. Pellegrini must give greater depth to midfield
Manuel Pellegrini’s commitment to attack is admirable, and no one complained about his 4-4-2 system during the 4-0 and 4-1 wins over Newcastle and Manchester United at home. But there are games even harder than Manchester derbies and it is not clear that City’s approach provides enough control to live with the hardest opposition. With Yaya Touré and Fernandinho in midfield, City were outnumbered by Bayern’s trio of Philipp Lahm, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteiger and could barely get the ball. Pellegrini may not be a big fan of Javi Garcia or James Milner, but an extra man might just have helped to stem the early flow.
4. Bayern can win it back-to-back
Almost all of the main contenders for this year’s European Cup – with the exception of Borussia Dortmund and Juventus – changed manager this summer and so the start of this season’s competition was always going to be a wait to see which would find their form first. With Barcelona, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Manchester United, City and Paris Saint-Germain all finding their feet, this was a very clear demonstration of who the best team is in Europe. This is a very difficult tournament to retain – no one has done it since Milan won it in 1989 and 1990 – but FC Bayern have a better chance than anyone, as the obvious favourites.
5. Negredo should not be neglected
City’s forwards were rendered fairly irrelevant, unable to get on the ball at all in the first half. But it is still worth asking why Edin Dzeko was preferred again to Alvaro Negredo, given the more purposeful performances by the Spaniard this season, and the improvement Negredo brought when he came on was obvious. Not only did he score a delightful goal, he was an effective nuisance, far more enthusiastic than Dzeko, nearly scoring a second goal with a towering header too. He deserves to face Everton on Saturday.
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