The kids are alright!
A special night for some of the academy youngsters, but one shone from the first whistle. Rico Lewis had a fantastic game and slotted in amongst the senior players with ease. He could be ready for more game time.
He played a more inverted role in the first half and held his own. A couple of stray passes, expected with playing in midfield being completely different and the range of passing that position requires.
However, he was positive on the whole. Made some good driving runs with the ball, managed to maintain possession, and defended well when needed.
One thing that stood out though, was his positional awareness and ability to read the game. It’s common for teams to target the space in behind the fullbacks when they are pushed so high. However, he had this covered and after a couple of attempts, Sevilla switched their attention to the left side.
Interestingly, Sevilla reverted back to attacking the right side once Lewis was subbed for Cancelo – who also looked sharp in attack – but make of that what you will.
The second half change of formation saw him move back out wide, overlapping Mahrez and he was a different beast altogether. Ripping up Sevilla defenders and sending them to Timbuctoo.
Knowing when to hold back, winning the ball back, and getting into excellent attacking positions, without compromising the right side of defence. He picked his moments. He made an excellent run, with a striker like finish for the equaliser.
WHAT A MOMENT FOR HIM – smashing a record previously set by Benzema, becoming the youngest ever scorer in a first Champions League start. He’s 17 you know. Take that, Jude!
Mahrez has been iffy this season so far, seeming low in confidence and game time has led to missed pens and some poor form. However, there were improvements in last night’s performance away from his goal.
His pressing had improved, his tracking back was better, and he won the ball back for the blues on multiple occasions, which he isn’t entirely known for. With solid support, he can get back to his best.
Is that SERGIO?
No, I don’t just mean the spiderman celebration. Alvarez had a brilliant game. Whilst he was not much of a goal threat in the first half, he was by no means quiet.
His bull in a China shop pressing forced Sevilla into lots of errors, misplaced passes and near goal scoring opportunities had those the ball fell to capitalised.
He continued that pressing into the second half, his work rate is exceptional, and he doesn’t have a selfish bone in his left foot.
The change in formation opened the Sevilla defence up which allowed more space for the attackers and the first goal came from an intelligent pass for Rico’s intelligent run and he got his first assist of the night.
Enter the best midfielder in the world right now – I don’t care how bold my claim is. Alvarez had dropped a little deeper whilst Sevilla were in possession and their CB’s were pushed right up giving the young Argentine lots of space to run into.
As soon as he clocked De Bruyne receive the ball, he made his run. A typical KDB pass that curled around the defence and set Alvarez up brilliantly – but he still had work to do as Bono, the Sevilla keeper, not that guy from that bad band, came out to stop him.
His composure to take the ball around the keeper is something we rarely saw in GJ and Sterling. He gave Bono Vertigo and sat him down as he smashed it into the top of the net from a tight angle, just as we have seen our legend Argentinian striker do before, it was like watching history on an old tape.
His relentless pressing also saw him win the ball back from Sevilla and charge the blues ahead for the attack. He slid it through to Mahrez, who made it 3-1 with his own lovely finish. I have no idea what Norbert’s decided he wasn’t MotM – but he was mine.
The future is bright for Manchester City, and having such young talent shine in the Champions League while other ex-academy youngsters don’t even make a certain Europa League squads is terrifyingly glorious.
Who do we want in the next when the Champions League returns, blues? Will we meet old friends?
Here’s James’ player ratings: