3 things learned as Man City qualify for Champions League last 16
Manchester City have qualified for the UEFA Champions League last 16 as they made it four wins from four in the group stage.
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Pep Guardiola’s side beat Olympiacos 1-0 in Greece in Group C on Wednesday, as Phil Foden’s first half goal was enough to keep Man City perfect and seal their path to the knockout rounds for an eighth-straight season.
City can now focus fully on the Premier League knowing that they can prime themselves for another crack at the Champions League from February 2021, especially following their shock loss to Lyon at the quarterfinal stage last season.
Here’s what we learned from Olympiacos - Manchester City, as the Premier League side dominated but once again failed to punish an opponent.
3 things we learned: Olympiacos - Manchester City
1. Man City lack clinical edge, again: They had 22 shots at goal, 11 on target, and were utterly dominant but they only managed one goal. That has been the story of Man City’s season so far, as Guardiola was left scratching his head once again as to why his team have lost their clinical edge. Last season they scored 149 goals in all competitions. The season before that 169. The season before that 143 and before that 107.
Scoring has never been a problem for Man City in the Sheikh Mansour era and especially not since Guardiola has arrived. Sergio Aguero was on the bench and looks eager to return after his injury, and given the lack of sharpness Gabriel Jesus has shown, he will start this weekend. City are doing everything right until the final pass or shot and it seems like it will be only a matter of time before it clicks. When it does, you do not want to be playing against them.
2. Raheem Sterling is getting back to his best: The winger started and captained Man City and was absolutely superb during his 75 minutes on the pitch. He came close to scoring, set up Foden for his goal and led by example. Sterling looked sharp and that is great news for City given their lack of fluidity in the final third so far this season. Sterling and City are desperate for Champions League success (even if Pep won’t admit it) and after his miss against Lyon, the English winger will perhaps feel even greater responsibility to lead City to the holy grail this season.
3. Return of Aguero, Fernandinho hugely positive: In recent games against Liverpool and Tottenham, you could say that Man City dominated large portions of the games but never looked like winning. That extra nous and experience was missing and seeing Fernandinho and Aguero both back in action after injury is a welcome sight for Pep Guardiola. Aguero’s finishing will help their goalscoring woes and Fernandinho’s reliability will add to City’s improving defensive robustness. The best thing you can say about this City win at Olympiacos is that this duo are back up and running and ready to roll before and during the busy festive period.