Ghana's No. 1

Pep Guardiola instruction produces instant Erling Haaland goal as Man City beat FC Copenhagen

Published on: 06 October 2022

Moments before Erling Haaland gave Manchester City the lead against Copenhagen, Joao Cancelo had declined a chance to cross and turned back. As City recycled the ball, Pep Guardiola shouted at Cancelo and gestured at him to drive into the space and cross rather than check back.

Within ten seconds, Cancelo got the ball again, and he did exactly as Guardiola said. He ran towards the box, sent in a cross, and when it deflected into Haaland's path there was only one outcome. Cancelo may get the assist, but Guardiola was the true architect of the opener.

After the derby win, Guardiola criticised City's sloppiness and was clearly unhappy with the three goals United scored. He said he'd be watching for anyone getting complacent after the derby, and two of the notable players to drop out were Manuel Akanji and Nathan Ake.

Aymeric Laporte started his first game of the season and Ruben Dias was recalled. Was this a reflection of that second half in the derby, or simply a chance to rotate four quality centre-backs amid a busy schedule? Maybe the selection on Saturday will be a better indicator of Guardiola's centre-back preferences.

Speaking on Tuesday in his first media appearance since signing for City, Sergio Gomez vowed to make life difficult for Guardiola with his performances in training and in games when given the chance. Starting in Kyle Walker's absence, Gomez looked comfortable vs Copenhagen and will have given the boss plenty to consider.

He supported the left-wing pair of Bernardo Silva and Jack Grealish well, looked assured with any defensive work - albeit that was limited as City dominated - and nearly got a first goal as his shot took two deflections on the way in. If Walker remains out, he should keep his place at the weekend.

Julian Alvarez got only his second start for City, both coming alongside Erling Haaland rather than instead of. He was lively behind Haaland from the start, distracting a defender to make space for Haaland to smash in the opener, proving the pair can undoubtedly play together if needed.

When Haaland was replaced at half-time on a brace, Alvarez got his longest period yet as a sole striker and he remained alive to score a deserved goal - his fourth in ten appearances at an average of one every 88 minutes. If Haaland's substitution is a sign he may need rotating more, then Alvarez showed he's ready to step in.

At half-time, with City 3-0 up, Erling Haaland was replaced to rest his legs ahead of Saturday's clash with Southampton, and when Riyad Mahrez scored a fourth, Joao Cancelo was quickly replaced. Bernardo Silva followed, as young pair Rico Lewis and Josh Wilson-Esbrand got some useful experience.

The pace of the game understandably slowed as City looked to ease the burden on those left on the pitch, too. With Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Manuel Akanji and Rodri all unused substitutes, City can face Southampton with some fresh legs as they look to continue their domestic form.

Source: m.allfootballapp.com

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