Manchester City extend their impressive streak to 19 consecutive wins in all competitions, following a dominant 2-0 victory against Borussia Monchengladbach at the Puskas Arena.
The game was noticeably one sided for the entirety, with City dominating possession and pressing relentlessly after losing the ball. The scoring was opened 30 minutes in, when a sublime cross from Joao Cancelo landed perfectly for fellow countryman Bernardo Silva to nod home.
Gabriel Jesus redeemed his missed opportunities by reacting first to Bernardo’s pass – doubling the lead and putting Guardiola and his side with a foot in the quarter finals.
Here are five things we learned following today’s performance...
Joao Cancelo playing well isn’t learning something new – but credit has to be where it is due following yet another standout performance from the Portuguese superstar. He’s spending more and more time venturing forward to scan the field for opportunities – and tonight he definitely found them.
The delivery to his fellow Portuguese companion was something De Bruyne would be proud of, and his involvement in the second goal can’t go unnoticed either. Seeing Joao play with so much confidence is marvellous, and it’s clear that Pep is seeing the value he adds to the side.
Another Portuguese masterclass
It’s hard to name one pivotal Portuguese player without naming the other, and Bernardo Silva especially played a vital role in City’s win.
Pressing relentlessly, attacking with menace, effortless movement off the ball – Bernardo was a real standout player in the game. He truly deserved the first goal after out strengthening the defender to earn the header, and he was unlucky to not get more than just an assist in the second.
Just another day at the office
In the build-up to the game many City fans were anxious, given their sides previous record in the knockout stages and Pep’s unusual urge to completely alter the formation when announcing the team. Much to the fans’ delight however, City cruised through the game with another clinical victory.
The encounter was like a training game for the Blues; dominant with over 60% possession, ruthless with pressing Monchengladbach off the ball, and rarely showing any defensive weakness throughout. It was definitely an ideal game for the City squad given the packed fixture schedule ahead.
Lacking that finishing touch
If there is one thing for City to take back to the training ground, it has to be working on finishing the chances created throughout the game. Far too often the City attack seemed to do all the hard work and get the ball into a promising area, but the finishing is still a shadow of what it once was.
A finger has to be pointed at Jesus – far too often he gets the ball stuck under his feet and fails to make his chances count, and Pep clearly showed what he thought of his missed opportunity from the side-lines.
He did make up for it by snatching the second, and he is a vital player in the City attack – but you have to feel that this side can score way more if those opportunities were finished.
Is this finally going to be the year?
Let’s not get ahead of ourselves - the tournament is not decided after the round of 16 first leg, but can anyone in Europe really stop this City side? 19 consecutive wins, the best defensive record in Europe, a ten-point cushion at the top of the table and all four major trophies still up for grabs. Wow.
It can’t go unnoticed that the majority of the incredible run of form has been without stars Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Agüero, who are both now making appearances once again. Perhaps this could be the year that the blue moon rises over Europe?
City’s next fixture see’s David Moyes’ high flying Hammers head to The Etihad for match-day 27 in the Premier League. Kick off is 12:30pm on Saturday.
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