Hoffenheim 1 Manchester City 2
The early kick-off in South West Germany was billed as the biggest game in Hoffenheim’s history and an early goal gave the home side a flying start.
Pep changed his back four last night and City conceded when a simple straight ball split the City defence and big striker Ishak Belfodil slotted neatly past Ederson in 46 seconds.
Then 32-year old maestro David Silva opened up Hoffenheim with a slicing pass to the sprinting Sane and his cutback into the box found the inventive boot of Aguero, who passed the ball to himself and then passed it into the net after seven minutes as two defenders fell on their arses.
The rest of the match a very good battle until David Silva skipped through to score a sparkling winner in 87.
If only every Champions League game was as much fun to watch as this one.
Pep would have no use for a bruising target man like Fellaini. He likes players as nimble as Aguero and David Silva, as quick as Sane and Sterling, as creative as De Bruyne. Citeh are missing KDB but they continue to win games.
Their style is the opposite of United’s and Pep’s model is energetic rotation, quick passing by players who are mostly small and nimble and sharp and quite versatile, while Mourinho’s method especially in Europe, is defence-orientated.
He started last night’s match with what must be the tallest midfield trio in United’s long history: Matic-Fellaini-Pogba.
Whereas Guardiola says: It’s about us, let’s concentrate on how we play and how we want to score our first goal, then our second and third, Mourinho values results over style and loves a clean sheet. But the Special One has fallen out with Pogba and Sanchez and his forwards are now keeping clean sheets.
After a score like Man Utd 0 Valencia 0 the Pogba-Mourinho soap opera will continue. But I’m switching off from that. Yes, I had happy times in Manchester’s football grounds and discotheques but I never watched Coronation Street and I’m not following Ed Woodward Street now.
.Juventus ace Paulo Dybala is the kind of striker Pep might be looking for two years down the line.
An exceptionally skilful Argentine with sublime balance, he can score regularly from half-chances that most strikers would miss most of the time. Dybala got a hat-trick in a 3-0 home win over Young Boys last night.
Napoli v Liverpool is tonight.
Liverpool v Man City is on Sunday. Bring it on!