Manchester City 3-1 Barcelona: Four things we learned

In case you weren’t aware by now, Manchester City beat Barcelona 3-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday night.

Pep Guardiola’s men came back from a goal down to win against his old club thanks to a sumptuous Kevin de Bruyne free kick and another İlkay Gündoğan brace.

Here’s the four big talking points from the night, courtesy of James Cunliffe.

Manchester City FC v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League

Running through brick walls

In truth, I could have done a separate finding on everyone involved in Tuesday night’s famous win but instead let’s appreciate the togetherness of the team.

Some are describing the victory as one of City’s best ever. Whatever you think of the performance, I’m sure we can all agree on one thing – City are playing as a team more than ever.

The lads are running through brick walls for each other; from Pablo Zabaleta fighting through injury to mark one of the world’s best in Neymar to Jesús Navas actually showing some grit from off the bench.

If the Blues play like that every week, they’ll beat anyone.

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Goals from everywhere

Sergio Agüero has been our top marksman for five seasons now and while I have comfort in relying on the little Argentine to score City’s goals, it’s even more comforting to see there are other goal sources in the team.

It’s no secret that Agüero has, and most probably will continue to have, injury worries. When the annual time has come for our beloved striker to be out of the action, City have suffered massively. Obviously it’s ideal for Agüero to continue this season injury-free but should the worst happen, City are now very much more equipped.

With the midfield, İlkay Gündoğan and Kevin de Bruyne in particular, adding goals to their game under Guardiola, City will continue to score from everywhere.

It’s a devastating thought for opposing teams that behind keeping Agüero quiet there is still the massive threat of his teammates.

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‘Now you’re gonna believe us’

The Champions League hasn’t been City’s best of friends since qualification in 2011 but a win against Guardiola’s former club gives us more belief than ever before.

With the exception of the quarter-final win in Paris earlier this year, City have never really showed up against the top sides on the biggest stage – until Tuesday night. Hosting one of the best sides in club football, City dominated the Spanish giants. It could have been five. It should have been.

A team filled with talent has finally been matched by a brilliant tactician in Guardiola and now City have the depth and versatility to go toe to toe with anyone in Europe. Champions League finals aren’t that far away…

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Agüero proving his critics wrong

There’s been a lot of talk recently of how Agüero doesn’t fit the Guardiola system. It’s no surprise that he received his critics shortly after a mini goal drought but I thought they were very harsh.

This season Agüero has been running more than he ever does, averaging nearly over two miles more per game than he did under Manuel Pellegrini. His performance against Barcelona completely nullifies all these thoughts for me and I wasn’t the only one impressed.

“He played awesome,” Guardiola said. “It was just one game he didn’t play in Barcelona because in Camp Nou I wanted more control than here.”

“Sergio is so important. Without him we cannot achieve our targets. I am so happy for him because he was so happy.”

kun

Written by James Cunliffe

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