Looking to redeem themselves from their last Champions League outing, which saw them lose to Lyon, Manchester City faced a Hoffenheim side who were set to stun. Inside the first minute, Ishak Belfodi broke through City’s defence to put the opener past Ederson. You would think this would have rattled City, but it didn’t.
After a nightmare start, City responded brilliantly and come the 7th minute Agüero had slid past Hoffenheim’s defenders to score the equaliser. From then it was pretty much all about City, with the exception of a couple of Hoffenheim shots that forced Ederson into action. After a dismissed penalty shout and multiple attempts, City were finally rewarded in the 87th minute with the winning goal coming from none other than David Silva.
Hard Work Pays Off
Manchester City worked hard for their win, and the statistics show just how hard. With Hoffenheim prepared to give them a game, City had to dig deep and let their class shine through.
They created 15 shots, six of which were on target and four of those were big chances. Going forward they were a real threat, especially in comparison to their efforts against Lyon. Their opposition were forced into making 20 clearances and nine interceptions while City took 67% of the possession.
It is good to see City playing with confidence again and part of that may be down to Pep being in the dugout, spurring them on. Their defence, however, could still use a bit of work. Hoffenheim’s goal came from a pass through Kompany and Otamendi which allowed the defence to be opened up, and with only two clean sheets in their last 17 Champions League away games, something needs tweaking.
Silva was by far the star player of last night’s match, he played the full 90 minutes and he never let up. He was involved in the first goal providing a perfect pass for Leroy Sane, which eventually found it’s way to Agüero and into the net. In total, he had three shots, one off target, one blocked and the one that turned out to be the winning goal.
His passing was one of the most impeccable parts of his game, with 91% accuracy he was like a dream to watch. Not only was his passing incredibly accurate but he also made three key passes and three successful dribbles throughout the course of the game.
All in all, he gave a well-rounded performance and there were no real weaknesses in his game. Winning 10 out of 13 duels, three out of three tackles and only being dispossessed once throughout the entire 90 minutes shows just how strong he was.
Overall, Hoffenheim were well organised and gave Manchester City an early scare, however, they just weren’t good enough to put the game to bed. As for City, their performance has massively improved since their match against Lyon, and it’s good to see they are back to being clinical in front of goal. Pep said they needed a struggle in the group stage to prepare them for the knockouts, and having to come from behind to one of the weaker teams in the group may have been the test they needed.
Their next Champions League fixture is at away against Shakhtar, who were one of only five teams who managed to beat the sky blues last season, along with the likes of Liverpool and rivals Manchester United. It could prove to be a tough one if Shakhtar bring their A game, but hopefully, with their confidence back, City will be able to pull off another win.