MANCHESTER CITY 1-2 BARCELONA
BARCELONA KEY PLAYER(S):
MAN CITY KEY PLAYER(S):
CLEAR CUT CHANCES:2-4
•Manchester City unexpectedly played in a 4-4-2.Many expected City to line-up in a more defensive 4-2-3-1 shape but this was not the case.
David Silva(Sagna 76)
•City played in this formation to allow them to press high and defend from the front rather be pushed deep into there own half which is likely what would have happened in a 4-2-3-1.It was evident that City were out to press high,the only time Silva and Nasri stayed wide was when City didn’t have the ball.Agüero and Dzeko took it in turns to press Pique and Mascherano.In the first half,Agüero and Dzeko pressed too high at times and gave Busquets too much space,allowing him to dictate the play,this caused City problems.However,in the second half one striker pressed while the other marked Busquets.When Barca advanced City’s half,City lost the high block and switched to a deep/medium block and looked to defend in numbers.
•In attack,City’s midfield turned into a diamond.Fernando sat deep,wary of Barca counter-attacks,allowing the other three midfielders to attack,David Silva was the tip of the diamond,attempting to dictate the play,although struggling against Busquets.
•Barcelona lined-up in a 4-3-3 formation with the primary aim keeping possession then stunning City with direct attacks.As usually excepted from Barça,this season anyway,was the the wing-backs to play as second wingers and a single pivot to protect the defence.There was lots of interchanging throughout the game between Suarez and Messi,while Neymar preffered to play on the left-wing than through the middle.
Dani Albes(Adriano 75)
Neymar(Pedro Rodriguez 80)
•Barça played a lot more vertical passes tonight than usual.This was due to City not having a player to focus on pressing Busquets.He was given far too much space and was allowed to dictate the tempo and play whatever pass he wanted.The image below show Alves moving into halfspace while Busquets is given far too much space,allowing him to play a vertical pass.
•Lionel Messi was used almost as bait.He would attempt to drag a few City players out of position and give the overlapping full-backs space out wide.This led to Barça’s first goal,the image below shows Messi dragging four City players out,allowing Alba time and space to cut the ball back into the box.
•A lot of Barcelona’s play was in the halfspace or the play was based around it.If Neymar and either Suarez or Messi decided to stay wide and hug the touchline,a full-back would move into the free halfspace,givin Busquets a vertical option.However,if Neymar,Messi or Suarez moved into the halfspace,this was a cue for a long,high pass out wide to the wing-back,not something we had seen a lot of from Barça up until Luis Enrique’s appointment as manager.
Manchester City are now clear underdogs in the tie.Barcelona,so strong at their home of the Camp Nou,will look to dominate possession once again,forcing City to unwillingly chase the game.Lionel Messi’s penalty miss ensured City still have a lifeline in the tie however,with Gäel Clichy banned for the return leg,Aleksander Kolarov will to operate as City’s left-back,this may cause problems for City due to his lack of pace,compared to Alves and Messi,his likely opponents.