Manchester City vs. Bayern Munich: 6 Things We Learned
Manchester City were utterly outclassed by Bayern Munich, who were three goals up and cruising inside an hour.
Don't let Alvaro Negredo's goal, David Silva's free-kick onto the bar or Jerome Boateng's late sending-off fool you—the gulf between the two side was as wide as something, well, very wide, and the 3-1 scoreline did not do the Bavarian aristocrats justice.
The Munich machine rolls on, while City were handed a footballing lesson.
So what can we glean from what happened?
Joe Hart: Houston, We Have a Problem
There have been questions raised over the City goalkeeper's form of late, but the 26-year-old's display on the biggest stage has brought recent doubts back into focus.
Franck Ribery's long-range shot should have been dealt with, and while not helped by Gael Clichy's ball-watching for the second Bayern goal, Hart looked caught in two minds as Thomas Muller nipped in.
Arjen Robben's drive squeezed in where stronger hands from Hart would, probably, have kept it out.
So what to do with Hart now?
Costel Pantilimon is a decent keeper, who has yet to let City down in his cup outings, but whether the lanky Romanian has what it takes for the Premier League is an unknown at the moment. There's only one way of finding out, of course, so will Manuel Pellegrini make a big call against Everton and bring him in?
Hart still has what it takes, but a spell out of the side would make him realise what he needs to do to get back to his best, which is some way behind him right now.
Not the Time to Tinker
Changing both City's full-backs for the visit of the European champions was a surprise, and it didn't pay off.
Micah Richards and Gael Clichy replaced Pablo Zabaleta and Aleksandar Kolarov—and while they're both good players, a meeting with the best side in Europe was not the one to reshuffle your back four.
Clichy was badly caught out for Muller's goal, and if Pellegrini had doubts over Kolarov, he may now be pondering both his senior options at left-back.
City Looked Behind the Times
City's 4-4-2 formation, with Edin Dzeko up top, could not cope with the superior movement and control of Bayern Munich.
The Blues looked a man light in midfield, and, until David Silva and James Milner came on, Bayern looked like they had an extra player or two all over the pitch.
Dzeko barely featured, and while Milner does not set many pulses racing, he would have added a solidity in midfield if included from the start—if doubts over Silva's fitness prevented him from being included to begin with.
Of course, hindsight is a wonderful thing.
City Fans Are a Classy Bunch
Did you hear all that booing at the end of the match?
No, me neither.
Blues fans realised they had seen a lesson in how to play modern, top-level football, and they admirably stuck around to watch it. I can imagine home fans of other sides and in other sports showing their frustrations more noticeably than City's support did, and their applause as Arjen Robben was substituted was a classy touch.
That's no surprise.
I saw the fans around the players' tunnel do the same for Thierry Henry after a masterclass from the Frenchman in 2006, and last night may have made them realise how far their side has to go on the European stage.
No doubt the forums and social media were alive with angry analysis afterwards, but those at Etihad Stadium did themselves proud and deserved to see their side's slightly improved showing late on.
Pep Has Manuel in His Pocket
Not literally, of course.
Pep Guardiola had won seven and drawn one of his eight previous meetings with sides bossed by Manuel Pellegrini before the City vs. Bayern meeting, and his impressive record against the Chilean is intact after Bayern's masterclass.
While Pellegrini has been tasked with taking City to unknown destinations, Guardiola has, on paper, an equally hard job on his hands, namely making the best even better.
On the evidence so far, it's all going to plan for the likable Bayern boss, who had a 10-day trial at City in 2005. Funny how things work out.
Bayern Show How It Should Be Done
Bayern were relentless last night and made City look very, very ordinary in giving the Blues, well, the blues in a European sense.
City were chasing shadows at times, but if they study the footage of the match, they will see an example of how to do it at this level.
How good is this Bayern side under Pep? We won't know until they face better sides later on in the competition, but City must learn from this harshest of lessons.