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BT Sport Pundits Slam 'Shocking' Performance Of Danilo & Yaya Toure In Man City's European Defeat

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It is impossible to dominate Napoli for 90 minutes, Guardiola said, and so Sarri’s side continued to press, playing their quick passes and, under pressure, Walker panicked as he attempted to clear a cross, wrapping his arms around Albiol who fell to the turf. The penalty was given. Dries Mertens took it, driving the ball powerfully, but straight, and Ederson blocked with his legs before Fernandinho beat the striker to the rebound.

Napoli did not give up and, into the second-half, they pounced when Fernandinho’s heavy touch allowed substitute Allan to steal away possession. Ederson rushed out but was by-passed by Mertens and it seemed certain that Marek Hamsik would score only for Stones to throw himself and superbly divert the shot away for a corner.

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Still Napoli sensed there was something in this and they earned another penalty when the impressive Faouzi Ghoulam dribbled into the area, feinting to beat Fernandinho who foolishly stuck out a leg, catching the left-back. This time Amadou Diawara took the spot-kick and drove it low to Ederson’s left and into the corner of the net.

The anxiety rose. Guardiola ran through his substitutes, which included withdrawing Jesus for defender Danilo who he stationed in midfield. It was another compliment for Napoli but City took the points.

9:39PM

Average touch positions (full time)

Average touch positions (full time)

9:39PM

Time on ball (at full time)

Possession: Man City vs Napoli

9:39PM

FULL TIME

City were sensational in the first half but had to work hard and play smart to hold onto their lead against a very talented opponent. Guardiola's team are a phenomenal outfit but not untouchable, as Napoli showed a couple of times. Great performance, fantastic entertainment. More importantly, a superbly managed win.

9:36PM

90 mins +3

This is really clever from City now, keeping the ball in the corner, pass-and-move football. Delph moves forward, passes to Sane and then sprints beyond him to make sure that while Sane is stood still facing his man, City have a man over in an attacking position. Otamendi takes the left-back slot to screen that part of the pitch. 

9:34PM

90 mins +1

The referee has found five minutes of injury time to add onto this one. Can City hold their nerve?

9:33PM

It's been a mismatch at Etihad Stadium so far

Man City are dominating this game, firing in a total of 15 shots compared to eight from Napoli so far.

Man City vs Napoli shots on goal

9:33PM

90 mins

A mistake by Napoli lets Gundogan in. He has Sane and Silva either side but goes on his own and draws the save from Reina with a right-footed shot from inside the box. 

Guardiola is still in his technical area yelling instructions. It's a little nervy in the Etihad at the moment.. the fans are on edge. 

9:30PM

87 mins

Jesus is replaced by Danilo for the final few minutes of the game. 

9:28PM

86 mins

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Credit: AFP

Napoli are in this game now. Otamendi has to throw himself at a cross from wide right to prevent it turning into a decent chance... 

9:27PM

84 mins

The passing is a little scrappy now and Napoli are looking for quick counter-attacks down the channels. Callejon is still full of energy and give Delph a bit of a fright at times with his pace. 

Ounas gets a shot away from distance but it's straight at the goalkeeper. City counter, De Bruyne leads the charge and has the attacking trident ahead of him, plays it left into Sane, who controls to take the ball past the first challenge and then can't squeeze it around the goalkeeper.

9:24PM

81 mins

Hamisk off, Ounas on. City still passing out beautifully from the back and Sane turning tricks wide left, he nips past Maggio, who slides in and brings him down to give away a free-kick. De Bruyne stands over it and will probably drive this one into the box, looking for a deflection.

I WAS WRONG! Surprise attack! De Bruyne whips the ball towards the front post and forces Reina to parry, but nobody is able to take advantage of the second ball.

Napoli attack quickly, Mertens has two men to beat and Ederson is off his line. Mertens can lob the goalie... but doesn't get underneath the ball enough and just scoops it harmlessly wide of the goal. That said, Ederson dives at full stretch just in case.

9:20PM

78 mins

David Silva comes off for Ilkay Gundogan, which might mean a slight change in shape. Gundogan can play in a central midfield role next to Fernandinho and help City lock this one down, leaving De Bruyne as a number 10, Sane wide left and Silva wide right.

At the moment it looks more like Gundogan has gone like for like with Silva. 

Albiol accidentally heads the ball out for a corner, with absolutely nobody near him to cause any distress. Reina is furious.

9:19PM

Time on ball (59 - 74 min)

Possession: Man City vs Napoli

9:19PM

76 mins

Now then. Napoli crept into the game at the end of the first half as City's energy dropped. They're doing exactly the same thing right now. It's not just the pressing - with tired legs come tired minds and the choice of passing by defenders, who are surrounded by Napoli forwards, has to be nailed on.

City pass their way out though and Jesus is played in... he's behind the defence! Round the keeper! He scores! But was well offside.

9:16PM

GOOOOOAAAAAAL!

Napoli are right back in it now - it's 2-1, thanks to a goal from Amadou Diawara. Fantastic penalty, placed perfectly in the corner with power. That's Diawara's first senior goal apparently... an interesting choice of penalty taker!

Man City 2 - 1 Napoli (Amadou Diawara, 73 min)

9:16PM

72 mins

Napoli have reverted to a much safer style of build-up play, deciding to work short passes around their own half before hitting longer balls over the top from halfway. It works, they getforward quickly and Ghoulam dribbles into the box, absolutely pies Fernandinho and goes down. PENALTY! 

9:13PM

70 mins

Bernardo Silva is about to come on, Guardiola is issuing instructions. David Silva has a bandage on his head and it might make sense just to take him off at this stage. 

City fans are doing the Poznan at the moment, having a whale of a time. Sane is caught on the ball but Delph reads it and steps up to intercept.

Sterling is the one to come off for Silva - he's disappeared from view in this half. Napoli must have done a job on him.

9:11PM

68 mins

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Credit: REUTERS

Silva and Hysaj have a nasty little clash of heads and have to be repaired, like it's Robot Wars or some sort of physical sport. 

9:09PM

65 mins

THAT MUST BE A PENALTY! City finally do get caught out with their passing from the back! Fernandinho dives in with a slide tackle as his control lets him down, Stones throws himself at the shot to block and it seems to hit his arm... but the referee says no. Replays show Stones didn't handle the ball but I'm not sure about the Fernandinho challenge - that may well have been a case of playing on with advantage... but wouldn't a penalty be an advantage?

9:07PM

64 mins

Ederson is good at passing. At some point this season he's going to get caught out but what he brings to the team is absolutely worth that one moment it does happen.

Zielinski goes down in the area as Walker comes back to block his run and for a few seconds, seems to consider rolling around and pretending to be injured by the collision. Mercifully, he does not do this. 

9:05PM

61 mins

Ironic cheers from the home fans as Silva wins a free-kick off Hamsik, Napoli having won a few fouls in the last wee while. Guardiola is prowling his technical area; the atmosphere has dropped a little as City find it a little more difficult to create in this half. Sterling wins a corner.

9:04PM

Time on ball (45 - 60 min)

Possession: Man City vs Napoli

9:00PM

58 mins

Ederson races off his line even though Stones is in a position behind the other centre-backs, which there are currently three of in this phase of play. It makes sense, he can see the play in front of him, Stones is having to track backwards.

Insigne has gone off to be replaced by Allan. Whenever I hear his name on commentary, it reminds me of this golden cinema moment:

 

8:58PM

55 mins

Reina is nearly caught on the ball by De Bruyne, who pushes high to try and win it back. Callejon goes crying to the referee because Ederson deviously steals it to prevent him taking a quick throw-in, with the goalkeeper miles off his line. You know what they say about snitches, Jose. 

Fernandinho carries the ball and holds off Hamsik, feeds Jesus with a through-pass and Sane works on the left to ry and find room for a shot, winning a corner. Napoli deal with it and win a free-kick as Hysaj is knocked to the floor by Fernandinho. 

8:55PM

52 mins

Silva drives through the middle, Sane flies forwards like a rocket, sprinting into space on the left and Silva uses him as a decoy, choosing to cut inside rather than make the obvious pass. He's tackled. A rare poor decision by the Spaniard!

Stones makes his first hurried clearance of the game, choosing to boot it rather than pass out from the back. It's the right decision in that situation - City were penned in and any mistake right then and there would have given a big chance to Napoli, who are occupying as much space in City's half as they can at the moment.

8:52PM

49 mins

City read the Napoli build-up, draw the through-ball and intercept before pinging short, quick passes between defenders, midfield and goalkeeper to keep possession and move out from the back. It's brilliant - brave, risky but an incredibly useful way of keeping the ball and turning defence into attack without having to chase the ball endlessly. 

8:50PM

KICK-OFF 2

We're back! Napoli start the second half with a cavalry charge but City cancel it out and start playing their passing game again. The full-backs are much wider already... and Sterling is in behind the Napoli defence! Already?! His weight of pass is nothing on De Bruyne though and Jesus doesn't get a chance to shoot.

8:46PM

City's tactics

Napoli's plan was to stay compact, press in numbers really high up the pitch and stay relatively narrow. City are stretching them with long, switched passes. When the pivot - usually Fernandinho has the ball at the halfway line, a runner sprints forward to overload in attack. For the first goal it was Kyle Walker, who nailed it into the box to take that first shot.

As City naturally tired towards the end of the half, the pressing levels went ever so slightly down - this gave Napoli a split second extra to think about where they wanted to put their passes, and allowed them to show that they are actually a very talented, extremely dangerous team.

I'd expect City to come out with more of the same in the second half, and to potentially have a little Plan B up their sleeves to close the game out later on.

8:43PM

A nice stat for you

6 - Manchester City goalkeepers have saved each of the last six penalties that they have faced in the Champions League. Madness. pic.twitter.com/ewpNCWNBWw

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) October 17, 2017

 

8:40PM

De Bruyne annoyed

City's star player had to be forced off the pitch by his teammates at half-time, clearly furious with the yellow card he was awarded. KDB takes particular exception to Silva and Fernandinho's intervention.

8:33PM

The hosts looking dangerous in this first half

Man City have been peppering the Napoli goal with 11 shots, with five of them on target

Man City vs Napoli shots on goal

8:33PM

Time on ball (first half)

Possession: Man City vs Napoli

8:33PM

HALF TIME

Utterly brilliant. That whizzed by. More please, Clive.

8:33PM

Average touch positions (half time)

Average touch positions (half time)

8:32PM

45 mins

City have turned the volume down a bit these last few minutes, which has allowed Napoli to get back into the game. The problem with playing such a relentless attacking game is that when you lose momentum, that team shape leaves holes to exploit.

De Bruyne is booked for... something. I'm not sure what, though it may have been dissent.

Hamsik gives the ball away - CITY ARE IN! Jesus is at the back post... but is blocked. So close! Guardiola yells at his players to get back in their defensive shape as Napoli counter.

8:29PM

42 mins

Stones plays a pass forward to Silva which takes out about five Napoli players at once, Silva drives towards goal and nearly threads Sane in behind. The ball drops to De Bruyne, who nutmegs Hamsik with his next pass... and eventually ends up with a free-kick wide right for City. De Bruyne doesn't get enough height on his curling effort towards the near post and Napoli try to play their way out from the back. 

They do so well and Mertens has a chance to shoot from the edge of the box! Blocked! Napoli keep the pressure coming, City drop off them a bit and Callejon is chipped into the box! He's offside. 

8:26PM

PENALTY SAVED!

Great save by Ederson! He dives low and blocks the drive by Mertens, Fernandinho charges into clear off the line! The crowd roars in appreciation.

8:25PM

38 mins

Napoli should score there. Hamsik has space in the area as they attack quickly and Mertens tries to use him as a decoy, ducking the other way to have a go at goal himself. Instead he runs into Delph, who is furious with his defensive colleagues for leaving that space open. Napoli have a corner.

AND IT'S A PENALTY! Walker grabs hold of Albiol and pulls him to the ground in the six yard box! Definite penalty for me Clive.

8:22PM

35 mins

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Credit: EPA

"What does this say about Serie A and what does it say about the Premier League?" asks Robbie Savage. We're only 35 minutes in so Napoli are not out of this one - it only takes a mistake or a clever move to unlock City's defence. If they take their foot off the gas, there is every chance that the Italians get back into this one.

And as I say that, Reina plays the ball out and Jesus reads it, slides in, and gives City a four on three in attack but the ball comes off Sane's shinpads and rolls back towards the goalkeeper.

8:18PM

32 mins

City get the ball in the box, Reina comes to punch, it pings about the area a bit and Delph shoots wide from distance after the scramble. City are simply too good for Napoli right now, who are now trying to just keep possession for a little bit but finding it too difficult due to the high press. City are working so hard off the ball to win it back that nobody has any time to think.

8:18PM

Time on ball (15 - 30 min)

Possession: Man City vs Napoli

8:16PM

29 mins

Is it three?! No! Goal-line technology comes in handy as Koulibaly literally stands on the line and just waits for the ball to stop rolling before attempting to kick it away. City are all over Napoli - what a performance.

Average touch positions (25 min)

 Look how deep they have Napoli pinned back! 

8:15PM

26 mins

DE BRUYNNNNEEEEEEEEEEE off the underside of the bar! From 20 yards, the Belgian takes it on his left foot and absolutely rattles the underside of the bar and watches the ball bounce away. What a hit. So unlucky!

Post: Man City ( 25 min )

Post: Man City 2 - 0 Napoli (Kevin De Bruyne, 25 min)

I am struggling to summarise just how impressive City are here - Napoli can't keep the ball and the passing, movement and workrate by Guardiola's side is incredible. 

 

8:12PM

25 mins

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Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 That's a photo of Jesus' goal from earlier.

8:10PM

23 mins

Walker steps up to get tight to the left winger, the Napoli central midfielder moves into the left winger's space, Sterling spots it and drops into right back. Guardiola has his team very well drilled defensively.

Delph is now operating as a central defender, Otamendi left-back... and now he's a centre-back. It's so fluid! Playres are just operating in positions and occupying space rather than being in set numerical formation. 

8:07PM

20 mins

Napoli are now trying to double in wide areas and take the gamble that they are able to pass out from the back past the front three. The ball is given away to De Bruyne, the midfielders steam forward... and Napoli win it back in their own half. 

8:07PM

Man City are dominating the ball so far

Man City are letting the ball do the work - they've had 190 touches compared to just 100 for Napoli.

Man City vs Napoli

8:05PM

17 mins

Delph is tucking into a central midfield position every time City go forward, Walker makes it a back three, Fernandinho drops deeper, Otamendi goes wide left. 

8:01PM

GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAL!

Gabriel Jesus with the goal to make it 2-0." data-reactid="328">Man City have doubled their lead, and it's Gabriel Jesus with the goal to make it 2-0.

Man City 2 - 0 Napoli (Gabriel Jesus, 13 min)

This is an amazing performance so far from City. They're playing one of the best, in-form teams in Europe and are demolishing them. It's still early - Napoli may well shut the doors and try to keep them quiet for a while now.

8:00PM

12 mins

HONK England World Cup hopes mention alert HONK

Ian Darke has just pointed out that an improved Raheem Sterling is good for England at the World Cup. Not yet, Iain. Calm it down, my friend.

City are dominating Napoli on and off the ball. They're working so hard to win it back and Napoli are being pushed back towards their own goal with waves of attack. The long pass forward from Napoli is used again and MERTENS IS IN BEHIND THE DEFENCE! Ederson reads play superbly and comes off his line to head away the danger - the kind of goalkeeper City didn't have last season.

7:56PM

GOOOOOOAAAAAAAL!

Raheem Sterling strikes early to open the scoring - it's 1-0 to Man City.

Man City 1 - 0 Napoli (Raheem Sterling, 9 min)

That's a great goal. This game is already ace. Silva's movement is brilliant for this goal and Walker - the right-back! - takes the first shot of the game, hitting a defender and teeing up Sterling's surprisingly accurate left-footed finish! When that boy has confidence he's some player.

7:55PM

8 mins

Napoli still going direct towards the Man City centre-backs, putting them under real pressure as quickly as possible to try and snap on a mistake. 

City are passing well - no signs of errors yet.

7:53PM

5 mins

It looks like Napoli's plan is to get the ball forward quickly and chase it, forcing City into a mistake in their own defensive third. 

City's one-touch passing is good to watch. It's genuinely entertaining. Just when you think Sane is going to control the ball, let it drop and pass, he heads it first time and starts an attack. So simple but the technique required to keep passes like that under control is so difficult.

7:50PM

3 mins

Napoli pressing high from the start - they want to stop City playing out from the back but City put a lovely little move together near their own box and work it up to Sane on the left. He can't keep the ball under control and it's out for a throw. City are now pressing high trying to win it back, force Napoli to go long and then Napoli press them high. 

7:48PM

KICK-OFF!

And we're off!

7:44PM

Here come the teams!

Napoli players are in the tunnel ready to go... and Man City keep them waiting. 

Both are here after a short while, David Silva gives Raul Albiol a nice little greeting.

7:33PM

Guardiola's pre-match interview

Pep is asked whether he is looking forward to a game between two teams who have scored 71 goals between them already this season:

"Mmmmmm. Yeh. The numbers, anyone can deny the numbers, both teams to score a lot of goals, both teams too... what we can do. Hopefully today it can happen again."

Are Napoli at a higher level than other teams you've played this season?

"I would not say that because it would be disrespectful for other teams but is one of the best teams in the world right now. Eight games eight wins so the way they play, we are lucky to see how is our level.

"We like to play football like an amateur because football is a game but we have responsibility, you have to win games. But we want to do in our way."

7:22PM

Sarri-ball -  a glossary of tactical systems

This is great by Charlie Eccleshare:

As Napoli bring 'Sarri-ball' to Man City, a glossary of football's tactical systems " data-reactid="369">As Napoli bring 'Sarri-ball' to Man City, a glossary of football's tactical systems

It's the kind of thing those interested in tactical systems and varying styles of play might enjoy.

7:19PM

Owen Hargreaves has just said

"David Silva... he's literally a magician."

Cool. Hey Siri, add to that my list of things I didn't know.

7:18PM

Man City players arriving

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Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 Hmm. Is it just me or is poor form that Mangala is just plowing on with his headphones on while these little guys and girls come to say hi to him? Perhaps he's trying to get his head in the game with noise cancelling, maybe he's listening to... Band of Skulls (dunno where that came from) or maybe it's a motivational speech by Guardiola. 

Or maybe it's a Spotify playlist. Or a podcast, like the Telegraph's Total Football.

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Credit: GETTY IMAGES

7:15PM

Robbie Savage on KDB

Kevin De Bruyne has a huge amount of freedom in this Man City system and Guardiola is getting the absolute most out of him as a result. City's fluid play depends on players who understand space and movement, making the pass and moving into space to give the man on the ball an option - creating triangles all over the pitch. This is what KDB does superbly and when you can work a way to get someone like him into vast amounts of space, pump him full of confidence and give him world class teammates, the things he can do are astonishing.

There were a couple of passes that De Bruyne made in the 7-2 win over Stoke that genuinely made me go "WOH!" while watching highlights. His vision and reading of the play are incredible.

Robbie Savage has been forced to eat humble pie on BT Sport too, which seems harsh, but then again he did say a couple of years ago that he "wouldn't pay to watch De Bruyne". It's funny (it actually isn't) how shortsighted many pundits can be. To be fair to Savage, he admits his mistake. Still shouldn't have made it.

Savage has just said:

"De Bruyne is now the best midfielder in the world. I thought it could come back to haunt me and it has! But I don't mind."

7:09PM

Owen Hargreaves reckons Guardiola won't underestimate Napoli

"The only person who knows how good Napoli is is Pep Guardiola. Most people in this country think City will just turn up but Guardiola knows."

7:06PM

Look how cool the sky is 

View photos
Credit: GETTY IMAGES
View photos
Stunning skies over the Etihad stadium Credit: GETTY IMAGES

 

6:58PM

Three in a row

That's the third game in a row that Pep Guardiola has named an unchanged side. Since Benjamin Mendy's injury and Fabian Delph's switch to left-back, they've beaten Chelsea, Shakhtar and Stoke. The latter was a 7-2 hiding and featured some of the best football I think I've ever seen an English team play. I realise that's quite a bold statement but if you haven't seen City's second goal, find it online immediately (through copyright approved means, of course).

6:48PM

The teams are in

Man City: Ederson, Walker, Otamendi, Stones, Delph, Fernandinho, De Bruyne, Silva, Sane, Sterling, Jesus

Napoli: Reina, Hysaj, Koulibaly, Ghoulam, Albiol, Hamsik, Zielinski, Diawara, Callejon, Mertens, Insigne

6:46PM

Preview

Manchester City host Serie A leaders Napoli in a highly anticipated Champions League clash on Tuesday night at the Etihad stadium.

Pep Guardiola's side is on fire at the moment, giving a series of Premier League rivals hidings, including a blistering 7-2 win against Stoke on the weekend and look to be at the start of something special. Guardiola isn't one to get carried away and has warned his players that anything less than total effort will result in disaster against a team as talented as Maurizio Sarri's.

“Of course, if they think that, they will be stupid,” Guardiola said. “That isn’t going to happen.

“I am going to show Napoli to my players – how good they are. Napoli can kill you with high pressing. They are able to press our keeper. But I’m very happy to have the opportunity to play this kind of game.”

 Sarri has been similarly complimentary of City's astonishing form:

"The feeling I get watching Manchester City play, I didn't even get watching Real Madrid last year," he said, with Napoli three points shy of City heading into matchday three on account of their group-opening defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk.

View photos
Napoli fans at the Etihad stadium prior to the match Credit: REUTERS

"I always felt my team could give opponents a hard time, but this time I think Man City are a formidable team.

"If we want to play at a certain level, we have to do it in important matches and aim at achieving results."

"I would like to die a sudden death if I have to, not a painful slow death. When you play a tactical, savvy and gifted team like Man City, who are well prepared from a physical point of view, you have to be careful not to overthink things.

View photos
Credit: REUTERS

"We have to focus on our game. They could be superior to us on the pitch. From the technical point of view and speed they might be slightly better.

"All I am asking us is not to be fearful, to respect our opponents but not to fear them. Fear paralyses you and prevents you from doing your best.

"I want to see 11 players who believe in themselves. It may be impossible but maybe we have to be a little crazy. If we do not have this crazy belief then what is the point?"

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Source : https://sports.yahoo.com/man-city-vs-napoli-champions-171325122.html

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