Pep Guardiola’s men are getting better and better by the game and should be in great shape to take on the Catalans when they meet next month
If this was a game Pep Guardiola was worried about, who knows how far Manchester City could go this season.
With the Catalan’s football taking hold, and Sergio Aguero in this kind of form, anything is possible.
The Blues’ 100 per cent start to the season continues thanks to Aguero’s hat-trick, but while that will grab the headlines it should not be overlooked how the home side completely dominated the match and created a hatful of chances by playing some fine football. Yet again.
When they did have it, they worked even harder to get the extra passing option in midfield. For much of the season City’s full-backs have stepped into the middle to become auxiliary central midfielders, while at Old Trafford on Saturday it was the spare centre-back who would break forward. Tonight, City mixed it up, with both Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov moving in at times, and Nicolas Otamendi at others.
Claudio Bravo, making his home debut in goal, ensured City started their build-up play right from the back and, combined with that clever movement and energy in midfield, City created plenty of goalscoring opportunities.
Aguero rarely passes up an invitation to get on the scoresheet and his smart goal – from a fine Kolarov cross – got City on their way after eight minutes. It looked like he might have picked up yet another damaging injury 25 minutes in, but after receiving treatment on his knee, he was back on and in place to convert a penalty that was won by Ilkay Gundogan, who looked right at home on his debut.
City picked up where they left off at the start of the second half but Guardiola will probably be disappointed that his players could not find a third goal despite a plethora of opportunities. Yann Sommer was praised for his footwork in the pre-match press conference but he showed his shot-stopping is up to scratch as he kept out a number of City efforts.
None of those, though, were by Aguero. The Argentine, perhaps bemused by his team-mates’ profligacy, showed how it’s done with 13 minutes left. Put through on goal by Raheem Sterling, he sat Sommer down, tapped the ball round the stricken keeper and rolled it into an empty net.
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