Manchester City fans were once again left disappointed after a 4-0 Champions League beating from Barcelona. Although the scoreline may look dreadful, it flatters Barcelona exceedingly. Despite being a goal down at halftime due to Fernandinho’s awful slip in the box, the Sky Blues looked inspired. They had not given the Blaugrana an easy 45 minutes, with seven shots compared to Barca’s three. The home fans were not feeling so confident.
About ten minutes into the second half, however, things went downhill for City. Claudio Bravo made a mind-boggling error, using his hands to block Luis Suárez’ effort while outside the box. This resulted in a straight red. Guardiola’s men were left outnumbered and overwhelmed, and shortly after, Lionel Messi had found the net for his second goal of the match. If this mistake had been avoided, the scoreline would have been completely different. While Barcelona most likely would have won either way, it would not have been a battering.
City were again punished for not being clinical. In the Champions League, you must make the absolute best of any dominance you have. The away side, however, did not learn from their issues against Everton. This contributed to the huge differential in the final score. Could this be down to Pep not playing with a striker? Well, no. Players like De Bruyne and Nolito have proven that they know how to find the net. Sergio is in poor form, and it is no surprise that he was left out. Guardiola should not take as much blame for the loss as the players. They had some substantial blunders, which ultimately threw any chances of a result away.
Although there were negatives, there were several positives as well. Some players stood out, such as De Bruyne, Nolito and Otamendi, and if not for Willy Caballero’s penalty save, the scoreline would have been worse. This was also the club’s best performance against Barcelona, regardless of the fact that it was the heaviest defeat.
The loss exposes even more issues in the side, and Pep Guardiola will know how to fix them. Overall, as hard to swallow as it may be, fans on the blue side of Manchester should not expect silverware this season. This year is going to contain a lot of development, and the final product is nowhere close. There is still no need to panic.
City’s next match will be at the Etihad this Sunday, as they look to break their streak of disappointment against Southampton in the Premier League.