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Pellegrini v Guardiola - Manager focus

TEAMtalk assesses the performances of Man City chief Manuel Pellegrini and Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola after their Champions League clash.

Last Updated: 02/10/13 at 22:17 Post Comment

Manuel Pellegrini: Once again outgunned by Pep Guardiola

Manuel Pellegrini: Once again outgunned by Pep Guardiola

In his first home Champions League match as Manchester City manager, Manuel Pellegrini came up against a familiar rival in Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola, who won the competition twice while in charge of Barcelona.

During his time at Villarreal, Real Madrid and Malaga, Pellegrini faced Guardiola's Barca teams in eight matches and never once oversaw a victory, losing seven times.

Here, TEAMtalk assesses the pair's encounter at the Etihad Stadium.

Team selection

While the only real surprise in Pellegrini's selection was his decision to bring Micah Richards - making just his second appearance of the season - into the City defence in place of Pablo Zabaleta, it was interesting to see Guardiola opting to play with no out-and-out striker. Midfielder Thomas Muller was tasked with spearheading a Bayern attack that also featured the likes of Arjen Robben, Franck Ribery and Bastian Schweinsteiger, as frontman Mario Mandzukic dropped out. Edin Dzeko led the line for City, who had Sergio Aguero, Samir Nasri and Jesus Navas starting just behind him.

Tactics

Pellegrini said just before kick-off he was not surprised his Spanish counterpart was playing without a recognised striker given Guardiola's love of possession football. And operating in an apparent 4-1-4-1 system - with full-back Philipp Lahm used as a makeshift holding midfielder - that had plenty of fluidity, Bayern dictated proceedings from the off against City's 4-2-3-1 line-up. There may have been some luck for the visitors in the seventh-minute opener, Joe Hart being at fault when Ribery's shot beat him, but Bayern were firmly in control throughout the first half. City, unchanged in personnel or formation, initially looked more determined to get a foothold in the game after the break, but sloppy play on their part then swiftly allowed Muller and Robben to net a goal each. Substitute Alvaro Negredo's strike brought the score back to 3-1 with 10 minutes to go and Bayern defender Jerome Boateng's red card was part of an interesting finale as City looked to salvage something, but it was ultimately too late for the Blues.

Substitutions

Despite how the first half had panned out, Pellegrini chose to not make any adjustments at half time but as soon as Muller scored, Dzeko was brought off in a straight swap for Negredo. Robben's goal followed and 10 minutes later David Silva and James Milner replaced Aguero and Nasri, but the damage was done. Guardiola brought off Schweinsteiger and Robben for Jan Kirchhoff and Xherdan Shaqiri with just under 15 minutes left and it was only after that that City made a really positive impact, with Negredo's finish. Mario Gotze came on for Ribery in Bayern's final substitution before Boateng's dismissal.

Body language

Both managers were complimentary about each other prior to the contest and smiled as they exchanged a handshake beside the pitch. When the action got under way, Guardiola was the more constant presence in the technical area, looking as cool and composed as his team. Pellegrini, meanwhile, also seemed to mirror his players for much of the contest in that he appeared to not quite know what to do, the Chilean pacing out from and back to his seat, and visibly puffing his cheeks out at one point. Guardiola understandably looked a little less relaxed towards the end but never really flustered.

Overall

Pellegrini was once again outgunned by Guardiola, and on this occasion, well and truly so.

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think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

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e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

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n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

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