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3 things we learned from Cardiff City 0-2 Manchester City

The lessons from a good win in South Wales

Cardiff City v Manchester City - The Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round Photo by Victoria Haydn/Man City via Getty Images

1- Man to man marking is bold but doesn’t work against the Blues

In the knowledge that defending deep was unlikely to give Cardiff City much joy, Neil Warnock opted for a man-to-man approach on the defensive side. Unfortunately for the Cardiff boss, this did not work either as the individual brillance of the Manchester City team outdid the hard work of the Cardiff side. Players like Vincent Kompany had a lot of time on the ball and were able to pick out Kevin De Bruyne and others, who got the attacks going and created many chances.

2 - The high line nullifies tall teams on set pieces

It is still a rather odd thing to see City so far from their own box when defending a set piece but it is a strategy that has worked expectionally well this season. In this game particularly, Cardiff could not get their tall players close enough to the box to create danger and City were confident that if they did not win the first ball, they would be able to win the second. And the third. And the fourth. Which they did.

3 - City need a number nine

Pep Guardiola opted for no recognised striker to start the game and while this does make it more difficult for defenders to get organised, it also takes away a focal point of City’s attack. Multiple times in the first half chances were created that would have been finished by a player with a natural striker’s instincts. When Sergio Agüero was introduced in the second half, City’s play was actually better and more organised even if they did not score.