• Benjamin Wolfe

Rodri the positive on disappointing night in Paris – Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Manchester City Review

City lose game two of Group A by two goals at the Parc De Princes. Goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi did the damage to Pep’s City. The Manchester club finds themselves in third place in the group.

Pep Guardiola made fewer changes to the starting eleven from the Chelsea game than many predicted. In fact, only two players dropped out in Phil Foden and Gabriel Jesus. Ederson, making his 200th appearance for City, started in goal. Kyle Walker, Ruben Dias, Aymeric Laporte and Joao Cancelo made up the defence. The impressive Rodri kept his place in midfield with Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva alongside him. Riyad Mahrez and Jack Grealish provided the width with Raheem Sterling operating through the centre of attack.

It might have been a disappointing result but right from the off City looked the more comfortable team on the ball. Regardless of what the BT Sport commentary team would have you believe, this was not end to end football. PSG for the majority of the game were penned in and were happy to counter when possible. With that front three who could argue.


Unfortunately for City, PSG scored on their first real foray into City territory. Kylian Mbappe was afforded far too much space on the City left. His ball found Neymar in the box but the Brazilian struck mostly air in his attempt on goal. However, it found its way across to Idrissa Gueye who fired into the top corner.


The PSG game plan was now set in stone. Protect the lead, break as City try and force an equaliser. City did indeed try and force the issue with balls going into the PSG box from Joao Cancelo and Riyad Mahrez with regularity but causing little issue. Raheem Sterling is not, and never will be, a striker. Not going for one in the summer is going to cost Pep.

As if to illustrate my point further, in the 25th minute Raheem Sterling had a central free header in the six-yard box and hit the keeper then the crossbar with it. Then on the follow-up, Bernardo Silva had a gaping goal and somehow, he too hit the crossbar. Absolutely shambolic finishing.


Joao Cancelo, ever the attacking spark, forced a save from Donnarumma in the 31st minute and Bernardo Silva forced a save in the 33rd minute but neither really troubled the PSG shot-stopper. At the other end, Ederson saved a poor attempt from Ander Herrera in the 38th.


Kevin De Bruyne was very lucky not to see red in the 39th minute as he overreached for a loose touch and stamped down on Idrissa Gueye’s shin. It wasn’t a good challenge and the booking he received could be seen as fortunate.


In the 43rd minute, Ruben Dias was dragged down in the box in a borderline assault but neither the referee nor VAR gave it a second glance.


The second half started rather tamely with City probing and PSG sitting. It wasn’t until the introduction of Phil Foden in the 66th minute the game livened up a bit. He replaced Jack Grealish out on the left.

Photo courtesy of David Klein Sportimage/Imago

A great bit of defending from Kyle Walker prevented Neymar from getting his shot on target. The Brazilian hitting the side netting of Ederson’s goal. Unfortunately, it did little in the grand scheme of things. Lionel Messi, in the 73rd minute, scored his first goal for PSG. You just knew it was going to happen, didn’t you?


A one-two with Kylian Mbappe set up the Argentine on the edge of the box and he simply curled it into the net. Personally, I thought Ederson should have at least tried to get to the ball, but it is what it is.


City looked defeated after this and aside from two free-kicks from Riyad Mahrez right at the death, just never looked threatening again.


Up next for Manchester City is a trip to Anfield on Sunday, October 3rd.

Photo courtesy of Federico Pestellini/Panoramic/Imago

TIMEWASTING


Timewasting is annoying at the best of times. But timewasting from the half-hour mark with apparent consent from the officials? Now that is ridiculous. In the entire 90-minute game we played about 70 minutes of football tonight. The rest was Donnarumma’s goal kicks, Nuno Mende’s “injuries” and PSG throw-ins. When the referee lets a team waste time to this degree, I question the integrity of the sport. Disgraceful.

RAHEEM STERLING, STRIKER?


Stop it, Pep. Stop it right now. He isn’t a striker, and he never will be. Yes, he makes great runs and he’s actually very good at that, but he cannot finish. I’m tired of being disappointed by him, and it’s unfair on him. Ferran Torres and Gabriel Jesus can do that job. If you want to play Raheem Sterling, play him in a position he’s familiar with.

Photo courtesy of David Klein Sportimage/Imago

MAN OF THE MATCH


Rodri. Similar performance tonight from his game against Chelsea. He was calm, press resistant, and he kept City ticking over through the middle. There wasn’t a huge list of candidates for this in honesty, but Rodri stood out for me.

Photo courtesy of Julien Poupart/Imago

PLAYER RATINGS


EDERSON – 6

WALKER – 7

DIAS – 6

LAPORTE – 7

CANCELO – 7

RODRI – 7.5

DE BRUYNE – 6

BERNARDO – 6

GREALISH – 5

STERLING – 4

MAHREZ – 5


Subs: Foden – 7, Jesus – 6

Written by: @CityReportBen


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