Manchester City vs. Dortmund: subs save the day

Manchester City welcomed Dortmund to the Etihad again on Wednesday for their second fixture of the 22/23 Championship League campaign.

The blues put on an underwhelming performance in front of the home fans, with a starting XI of:

Ederson, Stones, Akanji, Ake, Cancelo, Rodri, De Bruyne, Gundogan (C), Grealish, Mahrez, and Haaland.

Fans were quick to further their scapegoat agendas against particular players: one who’s played about 10 minutes (exaggeration) so far, and the other fresh from injury.

In truth, for 60 minutes no player looked at their usual level. The blues lacked tempo, rhythm, cohesion and energy.

Dortmund defended well and set up for the counter. Their reserved game plan gave them the lead through a Jude Bellingham header – anyone know how old he is?

It was early in the second half when Pep had seen enough. Bringing off Mahrez, Grealish and Gundogan for Foden, Silva and Alvarez. And what a difference those subs made.

The three of them brought high energy and pressing, Foden and Silva linking up excellently with their technical ability, bringing back some rhythm into the side.

City began to look more dangerous as the subs got a hold of the game. A wonderful bit of skill from Alvarez to get his shot off, which was blocked.

Silky link ups down the left which released Foden through the Dortmund back line, and a challenge from Hummels which prevented Haaland getting on the end of Fodens cross.

The blues finally found their breakthrough as the ball fell to Stones outside of the box. And what a shot he took, a real thunder…. You get it.

With City finally level, they continued to press relentlessly for the lead. A wonderful pass over the Dortmund defence from Cancelo and the outside of his boot, fell in front of Haaland who put it between the posts in spectacular fashion.

The victory means that as it stands, Manchester City are top of the group on 6 points, with Borussia Dortmund on 3 points, and both Sevilla and FC Copenhagen on 1 point.

It is unfortunate that the scapegoat brigade are out in force, the majority of which I am certain are NOT actually City fans.

When a player is taking a little time to get up to speed after an injury, how about we get behind them and build their confidence, rather than knock it?

We’d be fools to think that they don’t see the awful things that are written about them online. Instead of contributing to their slow form, the fans can be their inspiration.

As Akanji mentioned after the game midweek, football is a team sport. And until the subs entered the field there were no outstanding performances.

Win together, lose together. The team, the club, the fans. We are City ‘til we die!