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Guillem Ballague

City going nowhere with Yaya

Guillem Ballague gives his view on City, Real and the curious case of Yaya Toure and Kevin de Bruyne - City's disappearing duo

Real Madrid v Manchester City - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Second Leg - Estadio Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain.
Carl RecineREUTERS

Real Madrid played with fire but didn't get burned. The floor was awash with petrol but City left the matches at home. It doesn't say much about European football that a team with so little about it, a team without a clear idea of how it wants to play, with Yaya and De Bruyne overweight and with a star (in theory Kun Aguero) who hardly had a shot at goal, could make it this far in the continent's most prestigious competition. City, like Madrid, cede all control to their players. That is, they rely on the inspiration of one star or another, in stark contrast to the other semi-final, where you saw two teams who couldn't be clearer of their identity, two teams who live and die for the system, for the team, for the manager.

Yaya Toure is the perfect example. He must have City fans crying out to the heavens. He didn't bring anything to the side defensively (It wasn't clear where City did their defending, or their attacking), was he a playmaker? A defensive midfielder? What were his instructions? The mystery of Yaya could also be applied to De Bruyne, but the problem isn't with individuals, it's with the team: the players operate like little islets all over the pitch. One thing that Pellegrini teams usually do well is hold the defensive line on the edge of the box, something that they failed to do on the Fernando o.g. when Otamendi broke the line. It was a strange night of solecism.


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