Four lessons from Man City's win


It is an easy jibe but Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger's decision to rest Petr Cech against Olympiakos looks all the more ridiculous after the performance of Joe Hart on Wednesday.

Of course you play your best, your first-choice goalkeeper in the Champions League.

Manchester City would have been floundering by half-time were it not for Hart's heroics.

It is naive in the extreme to take risks at the back when the stakes are so high. I was impressed at how Hart reacted to missing City's match at White Hart Lane on Saturday. There was no sign at all that he was miffed, annoyed or undermined.

He is a classy goalkeeper in every sense.


The biggest change in football over the past decade has been the way in which workrate has become so vital for teams who possess flair.

Barcelona's success under Pep Guardiola was all about how urgently his players responded when they lost the ball.

Yes, they had flair but they won because they reacted swiftly when opponents had the ball.

City's greatest crime is that they do not work hard enough when they do not have the ball.

They are lagging behind by about 10 years.

It is not enough to be full of elegance when in possession if a team do not know how to suffocate the opposition.


Raffael ran through City at will. This said less about the Brazil midfielder than it did about City.

Manuel Pellegrini's side are twice as quick going forward as they are going backwards.

Yaya Toure is a force of nature facing the opposition goal and in possession but loses that imperious demeanour when a player is running at him.

A team cannot win the Champions League if they stutter when opponents run at them.

Aleksandar Kolarov is devastating advancing down the flank but when you flip the picture, he struggles. It is not good enough at the elite level to hope that you will score more than you concede.

And that seems to be City's plan, rather than learning to handle the strengths of the opposition.


Nicolas Otamendi scored in the end but imagine if he had not done so.

Martin Demichelis had scored but, because there is no goal-line technology for Champions League football, the officials could not be sure.

It is ludicrous that the elite competition in Europe has not adopted the technology while its lesser cousin, the Premier League, has the bells and whistles needed to ensure that such mistakes cannot happen again.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 02, 2015, with the headline 'Four lessons from Man City's win'. Print Edition | Subscribe