A disciplined, ingenious unit leads Man City to victory

Man City celebrates second goal against PSG in Champions League match (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Man City celebrates second goal against PSG in Champions League match (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /
Man City
Man City players celebrate after  Gabriel Jesus (right) scored the club’s their second goal against PSG in Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League match. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

PSG has brilliant individual talent. Man City has talent within a cohesive unit. In Wednesday’s Champions League match, the unit won out.

Man City attacked with urgency, powering upfield with crisp passing and efficient dribbling. On defense, they smothered PSG with unrelenting pressure and a dash of brute force when necessary.

After the first half, the game seemed to be Man City’s to lose. On whole, they controlled the entire pace of the game, but nothing is ever clear-cut when a formidable front three of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappé are involved. They dodge and dart, hypnotizing the defense until the ball is in the back of the net.

Game plans against PSG are pretty simple. Keep the ball away from the front three and more often than not you’re looking at a victory. Let them through and a goal and probable humiliation will follow.

A few cracks in Man City’s armor let PSG’s power forwards through

One moment of Messi playing the ball through to Mbappé and Man City were suddenly facing the less desirable end of a 1-0 match.

Yet despite a slight turning of the tide, Man City patched up their unit and got back to work. Even a highly agitated Pep Guardiola stopped stomping around like Scrooge on Christmas and got back to coaching.

It’s amazing how far unselfish teamwork takes you. When Messi picked up the ball just outside the box, he couldn’t help but try to take on an entire Man City back line by himself. He was met with a brick wall that moved as one, leaving him with no way through. A strong, unwavering tackle put that attempt to bed.

While Di María was skying ambitious shots over the bar, a decision by Silva to forgo a shot few would critique him for taking to instead play the ball on to Jesus for an even juicier shot led to Man City’s winning goal.

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As brilliant as they are, PSG’s front three couldn’t outplay a team 11 strong, and Man City walked away with a well-deserved victory. The outcome clinched first place in Group A for City, while PSG must settle for second best.