Pellegrini out-thought and outplayed by Pep’s Bayern
Any sane human being will have known that lining up against a Pep Guardiola side, especially a Bayern outfit with the likes of Phillipp Lamm, Toni Kroos and Bastian Schweinsteger in central midfield, with a two-man midfield, was suicide. But unfortunately for City fans, Pellegrini’s insistence on playing high-tempo, pressing football meant that City’s central midfield duo were easily over run over by the sheer class of the opposition.
And the worrying aspect wasn’t that Pellegrini was outfoxed by Pep, but the fact that it took the Chilean a very long time to realize that and change his side by taking one of the forwards off. The funny thing was that, when he did, his side looked a lot better. Whilst some of it was down to the fact that Bayern were down to 10 men, it also showed that Bayern could be got at.
The worrying thing for City fans was that a coach who was believed to be tactically superior to Mancini, committed tactical hara-kiri even before a ball was kicked. And that doesn’t bode well for the season ahead.
Has Joe Hart finally lost his place?
There have been signs, far too many for his manager’s liking, that the English No. 1 is struggling to keep his head above water in goal. The game against Bayern Munich was the latest in a long line of games in which Hart was directly at fault for the goals his teams conceded. And there has to come a point when the manager decides that enough is finally enough.
Against Munich on Wednesday, Joe Hart was at fault for two of the three goals that his side conceded. The first one came just seven minutes in, when he let Franck Ribéry’s tame strike through his clutches to put Bayern 1-0 ahead. The second one was arguably even worse, as he was beaten at the near post by Robben’s right foot strike.
That might yet be the final straw; it certainly puzzled onlookers, who were left to ponder whether there has been a goalkeeper who has let in as many goals in his near post as Hart has. And it remains to be seen where he starts the game against Everton on Saturday.
City are still miles away from Bayern
Although City have spent millions on a whole host of new players over the summer, it was Bayern who came out on top in the battle between the two. Whilst Bayern aren’t the most frugal club by any stretch of the imagination, they humbled City and comprehensively outclassed them on their own turf, in a manner unheard of in the Abu Dhabi era.
Bayern Munich showed that whilst the money might have won them the league title, it still takes a lot more to win the Champions League. For a club with City’s ambitions, the humiliating defeat will come as a welcome reminder as to how far they have to go if they are to emerge as European champions. And whilst Bayern could very well do this against any other team in the world, City certainly shot themselves in the foot with some of their defending.
Negredo shows his strike partners how it’s done
When City started the game with Aguero and Dzeko up top, Negredo would have no doubt been distraught. After all, he has arguably been their most potent striker and a constant menace to the opposing defence in every game he has played so far. The Spaniard merely continued that good form into the game against Bayern and scored an absolute peach of a goal, which many would only be able to dream of.
More than his goal, his work rate and his all-round commitment to the cause will undoubtedly endear him to the Etihad faithful. There were times when it felt like Negredo, a player who only came in the second half, was the only one who believed City could come back. That indomitable spirit will hold him in good stead as the season wears on and he will be hoping to be the first pick on the team sheet on Saturday against Everton.
Are Bayern better under Guardiola?
Bayern came into this season with a treble under their belt and arguably the world’s best manager in their back pocket. Whilst it would be silly to suggest that Guardiola has already revolutionized the way Bayern play, it wouldn’t be too wrong if one were to say that they are getting there. And although Robben and Boateng shrugged the same question off with a smile, it wouldn’t be wrong to assume that Bayern are arguably even better than last year.
The tactical repositioning of Lahm from fullback to central midfielder is just one of the many things that is transforming the way Bayern play. From the moment Ribéry let go and fired his shot past Joe Hart and scored, it was clear for all to see that Bayern had well and truly announced themselves, and showed that they weren’t going to go easy on City for any reason.