Manchester City beat Inter 1-0 in the Champions League final. The confrontation turned out to be the most difficult for Josep Guardiola’s team since the start of the playoffs. Before it was much easier: in the round of 16 they managed to eliminate Leipzig (8-1 on aggregate), in the quarterfinals – Bayern (4:1), in the semifinals – Real Madrid (5:1).
With Inter, Josep Guardiola’s team was far from being at its best. It was expected to be higher in possession (56%-44%), but sensationally lower in shots (7-14), shots from the box (5-9), shots on goal (4-6) and expected goals (0.95). . – 2.07). With its unexpected setting, the game has raised some big questions that it’s time to answer.
Our report on endgame:
Guardiola did it! City thrashed in the Champions League
Why did Guardiola’s team find it difficult to play with Inter?
Simone Inzaghi’s team knows how to defend. Before the play-off final, he was able to keep his net intact in five of the six matches. This is the main difference between Inter and all other European spring rivals Man City.
For reliability, Inter has a suitable scheme and a selection of players from behind. With a 3-5-2 formation, black and blue can block the entire width of the opponent’s field. It is difficult to exhaust them at a high rate due to the large number of highly mobile and efficient players in the squad in general, and especially in midfield.
Inter scheme. starting XI
A good example of a mobile midfielder is Marcelo Brozovic. In the final against Man City, he played as a defensive midfielder and became man of the match in terms of total number of successful tackles and interceptions (4+2). Marvelous? You are welcome! When the Croatian team defeated Argentina (3:0) in the 2018 World Cup, Zlatko Dalic put Brozovic in front of the defenders to contain the rival leader. After the match, the coach explained everything clearly and gave the player an excellent description: “I needed a quick-footed football player here who could neutralize Lionel Messi.” Brozovic has aged since then, of course, but his qualities are still with him.
With players who can defend well, Simone Inzaghi has perfected her interactions. During the final, there were several moments where the players seemed to be out of position. The explanation is simple: the players insured each other. If Inter’s left edge player Dimarco reacted to Bernardo Silva’s acceleration in midfield and followed him, then left central defender Bastogne was immediately ready to move to the flank! The following picture is just such an episode.
Dimarco advances Bernardo Silva, Bastogne trades to Stones
Photo: Frame of the video
The ability to defend with five defenders, secure in time and perform a large number of high-speed actions when defending against Manchester City are especially relevant – the “citizens” know how to use the width of the field, quickly rolling the ball. and permanently sharpening the game. To do this, Josep Guardiola’s team aligns itself according to the 3-2-4-1 scheme during positional attacks.
Scheme “Manchester City” in positional attacks. starting XI
When Manchester City played Real Madrid in the semi-finals, the opponent lacked everything in defense and consistency: an extra defender, player mobility and a safety net. Carlo Ancelotti decided not to change attacking football and the 4-3-3 module, which repeatedly led the “royal club” to great triumphs, and 33-year-old Toni Kroos and 37-year-old Luka Modric simply could not keep up. day with Guardiola’s agile team. Unlike Inter, the current Real Madrid turned out to be a very convenient opponent for the Citizens. The same can be said of Leipzig and Bayern.
How did Manchester City achieve their goal and snatch victory in the final?
When asked about the secret to success, Guardiola always talks about the players who play for his team. Here is a quote from the manager from his recent interview with Football Daily: “It’s simple! You need to have good players, that’s all. Before I had Messi, now I have Haaland. That’s what my success is all about. I’m not kidding now”. The coach’s words do not go unnoticed. With them, Guardiola inspires the players: they are ready to take responsibility for the decisive episodes of matches. In the Champions League final, central defender Manuel Akanji became one of those players!With an unexpected move, he doubled Inter’s defense.
In the scoring episode, Rodrigo Hernández delivered a great shot. His goal shot was preceded by a clever opening in the box by Bernardo Silva, who missed Bastogne and Dimarco. But why were the two defenders so confused? They were embarrassed by Akanji, who sped towards the penalty area; he quickly brushed past a dozing Martinez, which no one was ready for. Inter’s defenders dismantled the attacking players, the blue-and-white midfielders hunted down the players in Man City’s midfield, but after Akanji’s trick, everyone fell into a stupor. Thus, the defender created a moment that turned the fate of the entire game around. Yes, Rodrigo scored, but sending the ball into the net from his position was a matter of technique, which he should not occupy.
Akanji passes quickly to Martínez and his pass to Bernardo Silva between Bastogne and Dimarco
Photo: Frame of the video
Akanji’s game as a whole was a success. Of the players in Man City’s starting eleven, he became the third in passing accuracy (91.4%), and even better in his team in terms of tackles and interceptions (2 + 2).
The beauty of today’s Man City is that absolutely any player can become a hero, which Akanji’s story once again confirmed. The mechanism works so well that the team is ready to win the game, where Haaland is not doing very well and De Bruyne is elevated due to injury.
About De Bruyne’s drama – here:
The unreal tragedy of De Bruyne. Kevin was injured again in the Champions League final!
What prevented Inter from achieving a win?
Unlike Man City, the Italian team players were fake at the most crucial moments. If Rodrigo converted his only shot of the game, Lukaku and Barella each blew three chances! The case in which Simone Inzaghi was unable to change anything.
But a different level of implementation is not a surprise. According to Transfermarkt, Man City’s squad is now worth €1.05bn, while Inter’s is worth €534m. To be honest, there is a gap between the teams in terms of opportunities.
The confident game of the Italian national team is already a great success for Simone Inzaghi. In fact, black and blue were worse only in the technical solution of the episodes. But this is the class difference, which is usually decisive in football. As long as the richest team doesn’t seriously go under. Unfortunately for Inzaghi and Inter, Man City’s level this season has been extremely high, even in the games that weren’t very successful.