Date released: Saturday 17 th October 2020 8: 28
Pep Guardiola refuted the apparent master versus apprentice story in the accumulation to Manchester City’s clash with Toolbox. The edgy 1-0 win over his former assistant confirmed that Guardiola wasn’t simply blowing smoke up Mikel Arteta’s backside— but Pep showed that he can still teach his previous sidekick a thing or two.
A potential classic at the Etihad was drowned in the regard these previous coworkers still hold for one another. The wariness of both sides, reasonable it needs to be stated, turned what could have been a slugfest into a cagey affair settled by one moment of decisiveness on City’s part and a small lapse in concentration on Toolbox’s.
That will do simply fine for Guardiola. City have gone balls out in their last two matches and have suffered embarrassment in both. Leicester picked them off with staggering ease three weeks earlier, while Guardiola’s coach, Marcelo Bielsa, went toe-to-toe with the Spaniard throughout City’s last Premier League trip before the international break when Leeds were unfortunate not to take all three points in a thriller at Elland Roadway.
With the functions reversed and Guardiola being pegged as the master to Arteta the apprentice, having doubtless stewed on it for the last fortnight, the City employer chose a more disciplined technique to avoid being shown up by his previous right-hand man.
Guardiola’s intent was to prevent a repeat of what occurred at Wembley in the FA Cup semi-final.
It wasn’t completely apparent in the early stages what that strategy was, with all sorts of numbers being thrown around in all manner of sequences to describe what shape City were taking, but the principle of Guardiola’s choice was to close the channel between his right-back and right-sided centre-back, the area where Aubameyang loves to trigger havoc.
On this celebration, Joao Cancelo and Kyle Walker ejected Aubameyang and the Arsenal captain stopped working to sign up a shot of any kind on Ederson’s goal. Walker was specifically excellent along with Ruben Dias making only his 2nd City appearance.
That is not to state the City goalkeeper wasn’t worked. Ederson had to be sharp off his line twice in the first half with one save to deny Bukayo Saka, after Aubameyang teed up the youngster– proof that the keeper had actually put his pricey mistake at Leeds behind him.
” He knows our players however I don’t understand his gamers”
Pep Guardiola reacting to Sol Campbell’s comment on the video game being almost ‘chess like’ considering his close relationship with Arteta pic.twitter.com/EQXnoZnUcL
— Football Daily (@footballdaily) October 17, 2020
That opportunity, and a penalty shout right before the break when Walker’s boot strayed alarmingly near Gabriel’s face, need to have encouraged Toolbox. But the Gunners appeared too preoccupied with the possible implications of being drawn out. City resisted the temptation to be too daring but that is somewhat reasonable offered their current fortunes.
The reality City had actually won their last seven league conferences with Arsenal, paired with the Gunners not having have actually not yet beaten a top-six side considering that 2015, perhaps contributed to the visitors’ wariness but with City creaking in the opening weeks of the season and Toolbox in rather much better type, possibly this was an opportunity missed on Arteta’s part. This was a new Toolbox side haunted by the failings of old ones.
Toolbox needed to adjust their strategy immediately before kick-off when Rob Holding left after sustaining an injury in the warm-up. David Luiz can be found in, however luckily for Arteta, this was the Luiz which shackled City’s attack in the FA Cup semi-final, instead of the one who shambled his way through Toolbox’s journey to the Etihad.
However Arteta steadfastly declined to stray from that plan. Even in the 2nd period, when City smothered the game with possession, Toolbox did not fine-tune their approach. Arteta’s modifications resembled for like, even when Alexandre Lacazette replaced Willian with a quarter of the game still staying. Willian played as an incorrect 9 and if anything, Lacazette, a correct nine, played even deeper.
Toolbox’s lack of adventure was gratefully observed by City, who gathered their very first clean sheet of the Premier League season with an unfamiliar back 4. That rearguard was assembled with one thing in mind– to stop Aubameyang– and Guardiola will take terrific delight in a job well done.