Pep Guardiola is probably still staring into his coffee after last night’s 4 nil rout by his ex club. Both managers were very cordial before the match with hugs in the tunnel before the teams came out. But there ended the niceties as Pep meant business with his Manchester City side.
Barça wasn’t their usual self in my opinion and it was a 50-50 affair until Messi managed to break the deadlock on 17 minutes capitalising on Fernandinho’s slip and rounding ex Barça keeper Claudio Bravo to slot home his first of three goals. Jordi Alba hurt himself and Piqué had to depart as well and the first half hadn’t even finished yet!
Messi was taken out of most of the game by city as Pep decided that more strength was need in the centre of the pitch to stop a Messi rout. He left out Aguero but had to bring him on later in the game to try and see if a goal could be found. Ter Stegen saved two great opportunities by City and defender John Stones missed a golden chance with a header that went wide from only 6 yards out.
Although Barcelona didn’t play like they should have, Messi made a complete mockery of City’s mistakes and made them pay. Nobody was expecting Claudio Bravo to handle the ball outside his area and that action, which probably stopped a Luis Suárez chip into the open net cost him a red card. Guardiola then brought on stopper Willy Caballero and had to also replace Pablo Zabaleta who was injured. Messi’s free kick was nothing to worry about and Caballero was glad to see it go into the crowd behind him.
Later on, Messi was brought down in the box and Messi handed the ball to Neymar who took a ridiculous spot kick, which Caballero saved with ease. He then atoned for his sins by snaking his way past City’s defense to slot past a hapless Willy Caballero to mark a goal on his 150th appearance for FC Barcelona. That made it 4-0 to Barça and made it virtually impossible for City to come back from at the Etihad stadium in a few weeks. Guardiola’s return to the Camp Nou was somewhat ruined by the little Argentine that wasn’t even running at 100%.