A brand new menace
When Phil Foden and Ferran Torres have been stripped and able to come on halfway by means of the second half Manchester Metropolis have been nonetheless stage with Porto. By the point they have been launched, they led 2-1.
That was due to Ilkay Gundogan (extra on that under) nevertheless it was no shock to see two of Metropolis’s X-Issue gamers making their entrance in a recreation the place Pep Guardiola’s facet had struggled to show possession into clear possibilities.
It had all been slightly too straightforward for Porto till that time, however inside minutes of their arrival, Foden had fed Torres who had scored a beautiful objective. Job executed.
Torres has made a great impression to this point at Metropolis and the way in which he drove straight at Porto’s defence earlier than exhibiting a peaceful head to chop inside and end neatly suggests he’s going to have loads extra good days in blue.
The Spaniard has changed Leroy Sane within the Metropolis squad and whereas he’s right-footed and perhaps not fairly as direct as Sane, Torres remains to be a extra aggressive winger when operating with the ball than Riyad Mahrez, Bernardo Silva or Foden, and perhaps even Raheem Sterling, whose recreation has modified in current seasons.
At occasions final season Metropolis regarded like they have been lacking the directness of Sane. Now, in Torres, they’ve the perfect foil to an already supreme assault.
The video will auto-play quickly8Cancel
It has been a gradual begin to the season for Gundogan, due to the optimistic COVID-19 check he obtained on the day of Metropolis’s first recreation of the marketing campaign.
Since his interval of self-isolation he is been working his method again to full health and eventually made his first begin in opposition to Porto. It wasn’t one among his finest video games, though he did the job that Guardiola so usually asks of him. Metropolis’s midfield felt slightly stale for many of the 67 minutes that Gundogan spent on the pitch.
Gundogan’s job is not notably to create the possibilities for Metropolis, simply to maintain the ball shifting, to choose the correct moments to launch the cross, and the ineffectual performances of these in entrance of him hampered in that regard.
However he nonetheless managed to go away his mark on the sport, simply in time. Metropolis regarded like they could want a set-piece to open Porto up and Gundogan’s pleasant free-kick tilted the sport again their method.
Metropolis may need spent closely on central defenders this summer season however what hasn’t modified is their luck in the case of conserving them match.
Nathan Ake was the newest to go down crocked earlier than the go to of Porto, a niggle in his groin conserving him out of the Champions League opener.
That meant a seventh completely different central defensive partnership in all seven video games the Blues have performed to this point this season, though at occasions this was a again three as a lot as a again 4, with the excellent Kyle Walker in such a wealthy vein of kind he can play centre again and proper again on the similar time.
Nominally Ruben Dias was partnered by Eric Garcia now however once more it was errors that value Metropolis and meant it was an eighth successive Champions League recreation and not using a clear sheet. Dias’ cross ahead was sloppy and simply intercepted however the main errors got here in permitting Luis Diaz to dribble from the left wing right into a capturing place deep contained in the field within the inside-right channel.
Rodri did not do sufficient to halt the run as Diaz skirted throughout the face of the field and when he pulled the set off Joao Cancelo managed to make himself smaller, reasonably than larger when attempting to make the block.
Pep Guardiola will probably be determined to seek out some continuity in his defensive unit, whereas additionally accepting rotation is inevitable this season. A settled defence goes to be key, as Metropolis came upon final season.
(Picture: PAUL ELLIS/POOL/AFP by way of Getty Photos)
Guardiola revealed earlier than this recreation that he’d picked the brains of recent boy Dias concerning the menace Porto would pose to Metropolis, given he confronted them commonly throughout his time with Benfica.
It was unlikely to be a coincidence that Guardiola picked all three of his Portuguese gamers to face the champions of their homeland, with Cancelo and Silva additionally beginning.
But it surely’s Dias who’s most acquainted with the present incarnation of Porto, a facet who received the home title by 5 factors from Dias’ Benfica final season.
This victory would have been some form of revenge for the Blues’ new central defender. Not solely did his beloved Benfica miss out on the title to this Porto facet final season, however Porto additionally received all three video games between the 2 sides. Regardless of these setbacks Dias clearly realized find out how to beat Sergio Conceicao’s facet, regardless of the defeats final time period.
The video assistant referee has hardly ever been Metropolis’s good friend in Europe so in a contest the place the membership will search for any indicators that the tide is popping of their favour maybe the choice that went for them final night time is simply that.
You may think about each Metropolis fan watching at residence anticipating the worst when replays confirmed Gundogan standing on Porto goalkeeper Agustin Marchesin within the build-up to the penalty awarded for a foul on Raheem Sterling.
However the penalty determination stood – accurately – and Sergio Aguero made no mistake. Gundogan had clearly solely stood on Marchesin accidentally and the contact wasn’t sufficient to warrant a foul.