Five Things We Learned: Manchester City 2-1 PSG (Champions League)


Pep Guardiola's side inflicted a third defeat on the Ligue 1 side in the calendar year, as goals from Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus sealed the points for the hosts after Kylian Mbappe's strike had given PSG the lead.

Manchester City have now clinched top spot in Group A following the win, ensuring qualification to the knock-out stages of the Champions League for the ninth season in a row.

The Sky Blues will now turn their attention back to the Premier League at the weekend, as they face the high-flying West Ham side that knocked them out of the Carabao Cup in October.

But before then, here are five things City Xtra learned from the proceedings on a memorable night at the Etihad Stadium!

1. No De Bruyne, No Foden, No problem for Pep Guardiola

With Kevin De Bruyne isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 last week, Manchester City knew they were missing one of their best players against one of the favourites to the win the Champions League.

Moreover, it was revealed that Phil Foden and Jack Grealish were not fit to make the matchday squad against PSG, which should've made the task on hand even harder for Pep Guardiola and Co.

However, the Sky Blues played to their strengths by dominating the ball in the middle of the park using the likes of Bernardo Silva, Joao Cancelo, Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri - all of whom were nothing short of sensational against Mauricio Pochettino's side.

2. Raheem Sterling is back

Back amongst the goals, but more importantly, getting into the right positions and truly affecting proceedings week-in, week-out - Raheem Sterling has returned to form.

The England international showed great fight in attack and defence against PSG, as he caused havoc amongst the opposition backline while often tracking back and helping win back possession for his side.

After netting against Everton at the weekend, Raheem Sterling has made a case to be named in the line-up to face West Ham. Amid ongoing speculation surrounding his future, the 26-year-old is yet again starting to prove his doubters wrong.

This is the Raheem Sterling who will prove key to Manchester City for the rest of the campaign, and possibly even beyond.

3. Gundogan steps up again on the big stage

With De Bruyne missing out, the onus was on Ilkay Gundogan to command the midfield, and Manchester City's captain on the night delivered arguably his best performance of the season.

Gundogan controlled the tempo of play alongside Rodri and Bernardo Silva in midfield - a trio that has been pivotal to how Pep Guardiola's side have recovered from a relatively sluggish start to the campaign.

Gundogan, who has already made 14 outings this season, is almost undroppable for Pep Guardiola on current form, and though De Bruyne and Foden are yet to return to full fitness, the Germany international will seemingly take some stopping.

4. Bernardo Silva - Best player in the world

It's getting difficult to find fresh words of praise for the best Portuguese player in world by a country mile, Manchester City's Bernardo Silva.

Silva was once again running the show, running as if his life depended on the result of tie and setting the tone for the rest of his peers when on the ball - calm, efficient and most importantly, confident.

Not scared to go through a flurry of PSG midfielders and come out with the ball stuck to his feet like he didn't touch it, Silva is arguably the best and most consistent player in the world on current form, with few others deserving to challenge him for that title.

5. This year then, surely?

What's been particularly interesting about Manchester City's Champions League campaign is their resolve to get the job done one way or another, without an out-and-out striker to do the damage up top.

In previous seasons, Manchester City have often struggled to really put down a marker on the game despite the obvious quality they possess in all areas of the pitch.

Barring their 2-0 loss in Paris on matchday two of the group stage, Guardiola's men have been all over their opponents for large parts of the game - something that will give the squad a real boost in confidence as they once again make their way to the knock-out stages of Europe's most elite club competition.

With Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Ferran Torres yet to return to action, Manchester City will have plenty of ammunition in attack to make up for the absence of a recognised center-forward.

You can follow us for live updates here: @City_Xtra

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