3 ways how Manchester City can tactically outwit Lyon (Man City players celebrating in the photo)
Aymeric Laporte of Manchester City celebrates with his team after he scores his sides 4th goal during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Manchester City at Vicarage Road on July 21, 2020 in Watford, England. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in all fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Adrian Dennis/Pool via Getty Images)

Manchester City managed to secure a well-deserved 4-2 aggregate win over Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League last 16 after seeing off the Spanish champions in the second leg with a 2-1 scoreline on Friday night. Pep Guardiola’s men capitalised on some school-boy errors made by Raphael Varane and earned a comfortable victory through goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus.

The Mancunian giants enjoyed more of the ball and made full use of their dominance by creating a plethora of goal-scoring opportunities in the final third. Guardiola managed to tactically outwit Zinedine Zidane at both ends of the field by borrowing some of Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp’s high pressing tactics in Europe.

Here are three ways how Man City managed to beat the Madrid outfit on their way to the quarterfinals of the Champions League.

The High Press Of The Man City Front Three

Guardiola chose to name a front three of Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Phil Foden. All three attackers were willing to press and rush the Madrid defenders high up the field using their pace and hunger to win the ball back. Their efforts paid massive dividends as Real Madrid’s Varane was forced into making two uncharacteristic errors of judgement which led to both of Man City’s goals on Friday.

3 Ways How Manchester City Tactically Outwitted Real Madrid (Pep Guardiola and Zinedine Zidane seen in the photo)
Real Madrid’s French coach Zinedine Zidane (L) and Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola react during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg football match between Manchester City and Real Madrid at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England on August 7, 2020. – Manchester City won the match 2-1. (Photo by Oli SCARFF / POOL / AFP)

Free-Flowing Kevin De Bruyne Pulling The Strings From Midfield

The League Cup champions decided to use Kevin De Bruyne as a free-floating box to box midfielder. The Belgian international often found himself in acres of space in the opposition half and managed to create several promising chances to score in the attacking third.

The 29-year-old caused all sorts of problems for Zidane’s defenders on the counter and enjoyed the freedom of playing in an advanced role in midfield. The decision to use him in such a way was a masterstroke by Guardiola even though the Belgian ended the night without a goal or an assist to his name.

Deep-Line Defending From Fernandinho And Aymeric Laporte

The La Liga winners tried to test the Man City centre-backs by launching some long diagonals towards Karim Benzema but both Fernandinho and Laporte managed to pass the test as they made some crucial last-gasp clearances to restrict the opposition to just one away goal.

Guardiola’s trust to let his centre-halves sit back and defend deep limited the opportunities Los Blancos could cook up going forward. It also opened up space for the Man City players to launch a few counter-attacks using the pace of Sterling and Jesus up top.

A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.