Last Word On Football’s Manchester City Manifesto is back after another glorious week of action for all your favourite Sky Blues. On this week’s edition, we look back on Pep Guardiola’s tactical experimentation against Bournemouth and give some deserved praise to Kyle Walker. Plus, updates on the Women’s and EDS Teams.
Manchester City Manifesto Week 3
Bournemouth 1-3 Manchester City
It was clear from the opening whistle that this was going to be a different game than the Bournemouth games last season. The Cherries failed to get a shot on target all game last year, but this time around they had tested Ederson’s gloves by the first minute. Eddie Howe’s new 3-4-3 were high up the field trying to press City, a far cry from previous years.
As with most tactics that teams used against City, they worked until they didn’t. City hadn’t created too many chances before Sergio Aguero opened the scoring. That’s just how it goes for teams not on par with Manchester City. But for Bournemouth, creating 10 shots against Manchester City is far better than they expected.
Nor was the outstanding free-kick by Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson amongst their expectations. It’s one of the best free-kicks that fans will witness in recent times. It was a huge momentum booster for Bournemouth headed into half-time. It gave them the help they needed to keep the pressure on City and it worked for about 15 minutes.
Guardiola’s Tactical Change
Things changed once Pep decided to bring Rodrigo onto the field. It wasn’t the Spanish midfielder himself that unlocked the game. Instead, his introduction allowed for a tactical change. Pep pushed his other two midfielders really high up the field, forming a line of five across the top. It’s probably his most ambitious pressing tactic.
Against a team like Bournemouth, it is a pretty simple tactic. Press them hard and they probably won’t have the quality to deal with it. Pep was right on that front. The press got them the final goal, after a nice combination between David Silva and Sergio Aguero.
The more interesting thing was just how high up the field Kevin De Bruyne and Silva were for the last 25 minutes of the game. Their starting position was right in the gaps between each winger and Aguero upfront. Considering the double-pivot he’s played in other games this season, this was certainly something different.
Finally, let’s give some love to Kyle Walker. Walker has always been a very wild right-back, very aggressive in the way he attacks and the way he tackles. So far this season Walker has been just as solid and reliable as he has aggressive. His aggression grabbed him a yellow card after just ten minutes but that was the last anyone heard of that.
A Kyle Walker of even last season might have gotten sent off in the same situation. But Walker stuck to his task well, made smart decisions and kept himself on the field against Bournemouth. If he keeps playing with a better discipline that will be the best way for him to stay on the field despite the addition of Joao Cancelo.
Manchester City Women’s Update
The Manchester City Women’s team hasn’t played any games since our last Manifesto but there has been some news around the team. Firstly on the injury front; Karen Bardsley and Ellen White both went under the knife this week. Bardsley will likely be out until early December recovering from a hamstring injury.
White, who has yet to play a game for City, will miss a couple of weeks after a minor knee surgery. It is still unknown if White will be back in time for the Manchester United game but it doesn’t seem likely given the circumstances.
Manchester City EDS Team
It was another concerning result for Manchester City’s EDS team as the lads threw away a 2-0 lead against Chelsea to draw 2-2. They were still up 2-0 in the 83rd minute before giving away a penalty, and soon after the lead.
Captain Tommy Doyle said what anyone would have been thinking after the draw. “It’s frustrating but we have to take the positives from it,” said Doyle. “We could have had the game wrapped up, but I think we have to focus and move on. “We’re improving every game, we have a point now and we move on to Liverpool next week.”
It’s definitely the right way for the team to view the game. There was plenty of good play for them to use against Liverpool next week. But another poor result against the Reds and questions will have to be asked.