Atalanta 1 Manchester City 1
Three Keepers fail to Halt Italians
Wednesday 6th November 2019 : Peter Hollick
for GYKO at the San Siro
Manchester City remain in control of their
Champions League destiny – a point is needed for qualification – but
the way they fell away in the second half is hardly a confidence
boost for the upcoming meeting with Liverpool. Ederson, the City
goalkeeper, was taken off at half-time only for Claudio Bravo to be
sent off with 10 minutes left for bringing down Josip Ilicic.
Guardiola made five changes from Saturday’s win over Southampton,
notably deciding to leave out John Stones and Sergio Agüero, perhaps
with an eye on Sunday’s trip to Anfield. Gian Piero Gasperini’s side
had lost 5-1 at the Etihad Stadium in the reverse meeting and had
conceded a competition-high 11, so his Atalanta team went out in
hope rather than expectation.
Their Gewiss Stadium in Bergamo does not meet Uefa regulations so
this match was staged at the San Siro, and their fans were suitably
vocal from kick-off. What they saw was an Ilkay Gündogan error lead
to Hans Hateboer being found at the far post. Ederson was stranded
but the midfielder failed to find the net.
Moments later he rued the miss as City created a goal of some
beauty. Bernardo Silva moved along the left and drilled the ball in
to Gabriel Jesus. He backheeled slickly to Raheem Sterling and the
forward beat Pierluigi Gollini for his 18th goal of the season.
That goal plus Atalanta’s penchant for attacking meant the contest
was already open, which suits how Guardiola’s men like to play. Yet
for a passage they were loose. Benjamin Mendy spooned a pass to no
one, Ederson kicked the ball out of play and Jesus was dispossessed
This was partly due to Atalanta’s work rate, but when City suddenly
pounced they came close to doubling the lead. Gündogan fed Riyad
Mahrez and his cross from the right rolled before Gollini and would
only have required a toe from Jesus – or someone else – to make it
Gündogan’s next act was to flick the ball to a galloping Kevin De
Bruyne on the right. After advancing he pulled back to Sterling but
his attempt was blocked by Hateboer.
Next Sterling was in along the same corridor and when he turned the
ball back across goal Bernardo Silva could not quite add the finish.
Moments later, Jesus’s strength allowed him to tap on to Mahrez and
following a burst of pace plus a drop of the shoulder his effort was
saved low down to the left by Gollini.
Despite his side largely cruising Guardiola will have been
frustrated at it still only being 1-0 at the interval, especially
given what immediately preceded it. When Rafael Toloi pulled back
Sterling the defender was booked and the referee, Aleksei Kulbakov,
waited for a VAR check on a penalty.
Sterling was adjudged to have been outside the area and no penalty
was awarded. But when his subsequent free-kick hit Ilicic’s arm the
referee consulted a pitchside monitor and this time awarded a
penalty. Jesus’s effort was dismal, however, missing to Gollini’s
Ederson was replaced for the second half by Bravo. There was an
early test for the Chilean when Ilicic raced in behind, and while
this chance came to nothing Bravo would be beaten soon afterwards.
Alejandro Gómez sprinted down the left and pinged a pinpoint cross
on to Mario Pasalic’s head and he made no mistake. It was all very
simple, and Jürgen Klopp, doubtlessly watching on Merseyside, may
well have noted how City were breached. Guardiola now hopped around,
urging his team to find an extra gear.
Whatever the reason for Ederson’s removal, it unsettled City.
Suddenly Atalanta were spraying passes around and the visitors were
chasing around trying to regain control. Hateboer ghosted beyond
Mendy and won a corner on the right as the clock moved past the hour
mark. From Gómez’s delivery Ilicic’s header flashed wide of Bravo’s
left post and City escaped.
City had lost their way and Guardiola acted, replacing Jesus with
Agüero. Yet as the end approached his side were hanging on, Kyle
Walker thrown on as an emergency goalkeeper following Bravo’s red
card. The right-back smiled as he put the latter’s jersey on but
relief was City’s overriding emotion as they saw out a draw.
Atalanta (3-4-2-1): Gollini, Toloi, Djimsiti,
Palomino, Hateboer, de Roon, Freuler (Malinovskiy 85), Castagne
(Muriel 90+1), Pasalic, Gomez, Ilicic
Subs not used: Kjaer, Masiello, Arana, Sportiello, Barrow.
Man City: Ederson (Bravo 46), Cancelo, Fernandinho, Otamendi, Mendy,
De Bruyne, Gundogan, B Silva, Mahrez (Walker 87), Jesus (Aguero 73),
Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov (Belarus)
Manchester City 2 Southampton 1
City Scrape Past Saints
Saturday 2nd November 2019 : GYKO at the Etihad
Manchester City left it late to see off
Southampton and ensure no further ground was ceded to Liverpool.
When Kyle Walker steered home an 87th-minute winner the champions
broken down fiercely resistant opponents, having been behind to the
south-coast side until the 70th minute.
At that point the visitors’ riposte to their 9-0 humbling by
Leicester the last time out in the league appeared to be a shock
victory over Pep Guardiola’s team. James Ward-Prowse’s 13th-minute
strike, from an Ederson howler, had been protected admirably for
nearly an hour as City hogged the ball yet could find no way
through. But then Sergio Agüero’s volley from Walker’s cross gave
the Argentinian a 13th goal of the season and the right-back’s late
winner meant all three points were taken.
Guardiola was left pleased at his team’s tenacity against opponents
who had lost 3-1 at the same venue in midweek. “We were patient but
aggressive in all the actions – the corners, the throw-ins,” the
manager said. “The rhythm was high from the first minute. Big
compliment for the team. It was not easy but we did it.”
Guardiola was reminded of how Ralph Hasenhüttl’s side had been
humiliated by Leicester. “Football players have pride,” he said.
“They don’t want to live that again. It is our job to try and attack
“I knew it in the Carabao Cup. Our big problem in the last two games
is one team who suffer with their own pride and they are not going
to accept under any circumstances what happened against Leicester
again. After the goal we conceded it is more difficult.”
City began the afternoon imperiously. Raheem Sterling’s instant
control was followed by him moving inside. Agüero let fly a header.
Ilkay Gündogan sought to play David Silva in with chipped balls
along the left. Kevin De Bruyne smacked a shot at Jack Stephens.
The next time one was fired the visitors scored, though, from a
simple move. Nathan Redmond fed Stuart Armstrong, who took aim from
20 yards. Ederson fumbled – a rare error from him – and Ward‑Prowse
Guardiola saw what he would wish in response: City continuing to
probe along the channels and across the Southampton ‘D’. The two
Silvas – David and Bernardo – had efforts repelled by a Saints body.
Here was a relentless blue wave that would surely engulf
But no. Soon Guardiola was berating Angeliño for holding too deep a
position and Gündogan for hesitating in possession. City ended the
half facing a wall of black‑and‑yellow shirts that proved impossible
to breach. Guardiola walked off at the interval maybe debating a
change for the second half.
When it commenced he had – Gabriel Jesus on for the injured David
Silva. The issue remained the same, though: could City turn all the
ball they enjoyed into an equaliser? Jesus operated alongside Agüero
in what was a front four, Bernardo Silva and Sterling completing the
City’s effort was admirable, their devilry lacking. When Guardiola
raced to retrieve the ball for a Southampton throw-in an hour had
not yet gone, so his franticness seemed premature. The manager’s
mood was reflected in him kicking a bottle of water and darkened
further when a Silva cross landed sweetly on Agüero’s head only for
the striker to miss.
The City No 10 did not do so on 70 minutes. Walker pulled the ball
back and Agüero’s volley beat Alex McCarthy through the goalkeeper’s
legs. Now came City’s grandstand finish, culminating in Walker’s
goal from seven or eight yards after McCarthy had mishandled an
Angeliño cross. The scorer showed composure considering the stage of
the match and what was at stake – and the result might have been
even better for City if not for Liverpool’s later show in coming
from behind to win at Aston Villa. “When we win, Liverpool still
win,” Guardiola said.
“When they win many games in the last minute, it is because of
special character. The first season we won the treble, we won four
or five games in the last minute.”
He had ended the game infuriated at the officiating, causing
Hasenhüttl to offer a telling observation. “We have seen him be a
little bit nicer than today,” said the Austrian. “The reason –
because he was a little bit nervous because he could lose this
Man City (4-3-3): Ederson; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Angelino; De
Bruyne, Gundogan, D Silva (Jesus 45); B Silva (Foden 84), Aguero
(Otamendi 90), Sterling
Subs not used: Bravo (Gk), Mendy, Cancelo, Mahrez
Southampton (5-3-2): McCarthy; Valery (Danso 75), Bednarek (Adams
88), Stephens, Vestergaard, Hojbjerg; Ward-Prowse , Romeu ,
Armstrong; Ings (Djenepo 84), Redmond
Subs not used: Gunn (Gk), Yoshida, Long, Boufal
Referee: Lee Mason Attendance :