Manchester City Must Use Bayern Munich Win as a Springboard to Glory

Rob Pollard@@RobPollard_Featured ColumnistDecember 12, 2013

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Manuel Pellegrini, the Manchester City manager looks on during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns on December 4, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)
David Rogers/Getty Images

Wins like the one Manchester City enjoyed over Bayern Munich earlier this week are incredibly rare. Bayern are widely seen as the finest club side in the world, were unbeaten in 10 Champions League fixtures going to the game, and hadn't suffered a Bundesliga defeat in 40 matches.

Manuel Pellegrini outfoxed Pep Guardiola tactically, and his second-string side were the better side in the second half and thoroughly deserved their win.

With City set to play their most important Premier League match of the season at home to Arsenal this weekend, it was a timely result and performance. City must take the positives from that match into a game which could see them reduce Arsenal's lead at the top of the table to just three points, the exact target Pellegrini set a fortnight ago (via TalkSport).

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04: Samir Nasri of Manchester City moves away from James Morrison during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns on December 4, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.  (Photo by
David Rogers/Getty Images

It would be a significant moment in the title race. Thus far, Arsenal have been allowed to stride away relatively unchallenged, while City's inability to win with any regularity away from home has blighted their campaign. The North London side are the only team to hit anything like decent form, and as a result they have led the way for the vast majority of the season.

Consistency and belief will be the key to City proving their quality. They have in their ranks the best squad of players in the league, but their inability to transpose their home form to matches on the road has held them back.

But if you can win in the Allianz, you can win pretty much anywhere.

And then there's the knockout phase of the Champions League. The stage of the competition where only Europe's elite clubs remain and the stakes are higher. Manchester City's second-place finish means they will play either Real Madrid, Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Atletico Madrid or Paris Saint-Germain in the last-16—a daunting task by anyone's reckoning.

WEST BROMWICH, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 04:  Sergio Aguero (2nd right) of Manchester City celebrates with Samir Nasri (right) and team mates after scoring during the Barclays Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Manchester City at The Hawthorns
Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

But City's win over Bayern must surely give them belief that they can compete with the very best. It was their first big away win in the competition in their three campaigns so far, and they demonstrated character and tactical flexibility. To come from 2-0 down inside 15 minutes was excellent, and the switch from 4-2-2-2 to 4-2-3-1 showed they have players who can adapt to different scenarios—an absolute necessity in European competition.

One win does not define a season, but this one could be used as a catalyst for more focus and belief. City need consistency in the Premier League and a realisation that they can compete with the best in Europe. Tuesday night's result could go a long way in securing both.

 

Rob Pollard is Bleacher Report's lead Manchester City correspondent and will be following the club from a Manchester base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter here @TypicalCity.