Kevin De Bruyne – Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City
After failing to reach the final hurdle last year, Paris Saint-Germain this year entered the Champions League, eager to correct previous mistakes, and they proved that in the quarter-finals against defending champions Bayern Munich, where they faced great excitement back and forth before the Parisians made their way. To the semi-finals thanks to the goals outside the ground, and they have found themselves in the face of Manchester City, who reached this role for the first time under the leadership of his coach Pep Guardiola.
The English team has been desperate over the past years to fulfill its dream of crowning the most expensive continental tournament, and the power of the juggernaut has subsided in the past few weeks, although the defeat against Chelsea marked the end of the noble ambitions of a legendary quartet, but their offer against Tottenham in the final of the Carabao Cup was A sponsor to get their first title this season.
The confrontation between the two teams witnessed a major tactical battle, in which Manchester City was able to settle the battle of going outside the field in his favor, in order to return from behind with a goal to win in the end with two goals, a match that witnessed exciting moments and the focus in it was the most important feature of the matter.
Led by coach Mauricio Pochettino, Paris Saint-Germain started the match with 4-4-1-1, Keylor Navas in goalkeeping, in front of the defensive four, Alessandro Florenzi, Marquinhos, Barsnell Kempembe and Michel Becker, in front of them a midfielder, Leandro Paredes, Idrissa Gay, Marco Verratti and Angel Di Maria, lone striker Kylian Mbappe in front, is stationed near playmaker Neymar da Silva.
On the other hand, Manchester City, led by Pep Guardiola, started the match 4-3-3, Ederson Moraish in goalkeeping, in front of the defensive four, Kyle Walker, John Stones, Robin Diaz and Joao Cancelo, the midfield was from Rodri, Elkay Gendogan and Bernardo Silva, And in the forefront of the attacking trio, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden and Riyad Mahrez.
Manchester City started the match by pressing with a medium mass with 4-2-2-2, their goal was very clear, preventing the distinguished central defenders of Paris Marquinhos and Kimbembe from leaving the ball from vertical passes in the rear, so De Bruyne was constantly going to pressure Marquinhos at the time he closed The passing angle scorer is on Kimpembe, while Bernardo watches Idrissa Jay at a certain angle that makes his only and easy option to pass to Baker on the left, after Jay passes him, Bernardo is ready to put pressure on Baker, but Jay’s use of posture and camouflage upon receiving the ball was deceiving Bernardo’s move And it opens a clear angle for him to pass in the depth towards Mbappe, especially with the commitment of Gendogan and Rodri to the supervision of Paredes and Ferrati, who were stationed in half the spaces on both sides.
Pochettino used a clever trick with which he managed to get his team out of Manchester City pressure. Paris defenders Marquinhos and Kimpembe were often located on only one side of the stadium in the so-called asymmetric structure, and with three midfielders Paredes, Jay and Ferrati near them they were creating different passing angles and exiting. With the ball beautifully, Paris was using his goalkeeper Navas also as an additional player in cases of ball exit, in addition to the return of Paredes sometimes between the two central defenders to create a numerical increase on Manchester City’s first pressure line, which consists of two players and exploit his accurate vertical passes to break the opponent’s lines.
Accordingly, Foden was confused between staying near Florentine and putting pressure on Kimpembe, but he was forced to put pressure on Kimbembe and leave a large space behind him for Florenzi on the line, which Florenzi exploited on more than one occasion, either by long passing towards Mbappe or by creating 2-on-1 positions in front of Cancilo with the support of Dee. Maria, which made Paris outnumbered and qualitative in the first half hour of the match.
Despite Manchester City’s ineffective pressure and Paris’ exit with the ball correctly at first, they could not benefit from that superiority as a result of the good positioning of Manchester City’s players, as their defense line was distinctively in harmony with their midfield, and the space between the two lines was adequate enough to deal with the seriousness of De Maria, Neymar and even Mbappe there, the Manchester City four-back was shrinking inward behind the midfield and as soon as the pass was between the two lines, one would go out from Diaz or Stones to meet the ball carrier while the other was looking to cover, taking advantage of the presence of a reverse back who could direct his body position inward. Without any problems like cancello.
Paris’ arrival at Manchester City’s goal was due to the individual abilities of some of the team’s players, such as Neymar’s skill, Mbappe’s speed and Verratti’s intelligence (who was sometimes stationed in Zone 14 and covered half-spaces on both sides) and Di Maria in positioning and team play.
When Paris was losing the ball they only used high pressure in Manchester City’s hitting situations. Meanwhile, the team structure was 4-4-2 with high mass, medium mass, and deep block.
During defense with a medium mass, Paris tried to put incentives to press when Rodry received the ball in the middle, an act that the coach asked his players to try to break the ball in the blind areas to receive the ball or the narrow or weak areas in which his opponent usually lost most of the balls, so he was the closest player to him from The midfield trio always goes to press him quickly and force him to pass the wrong way.
When turning to a deep block, the team tended more to shrink accidentally on the right side (left to Manchester City) to prevent any possible danger to City and kill any space there, especially with the presence of players such as Kevin De Bruyne, Ilkay Gendogan, Phil Foden and Joao Cancelo, and at the same time the siege of City in A specific board and not allowing them to switch play for the other side except with great difficulty.
Foden’s commitment to stand on the line, De Bruyne’s fall to the center next to him and leaving the offensive zone and the failure to rise to Cancello after the second third, all things killed the left side and made the mission of Paris easier, leaving only one option before them was to send the long diagonal balls towards Mahrez, which were inaccurate in most Sometimes, even when she got there and as a result of Kyle Walker’s more commitment to defensive tasks, Mahrez always found himself in 1-on-2 positions with Verratti supporting Baker and 2-on-3 in the moments when Bernardo tended to support him, but in that case, Kimpembe was following the player. Portuguese.
Paris’ only goal came as a result of a clever plan from them, in which they took advantage of City’s use of a combination of the area’s defense and man’s defense in corner kicks, so Pochettino put three of his players inside the six yards to disperse the City’s five in the same area, while Neymar and the two defense hearts put Marquinhos and Kimbembe behind them, as soon as When Di Maria is about to take the kick, the Paris trio begins to occupy the Manchester City five-fifths and prevents them from normal movement, Neymar begins to move towards the near post and withdraws his observer with him outside the game, Di Maria directs the ball to one of the Kimpembe or Marquinhos who managed to score, it was repeated. This movement took place more than once, so the goal was not coincidental.
Half an hour later, Pep Guardiola decided to change the method of pressure, at that moment everything changed, De Bruyne began to pressure Marquinhos and at the same time close the angle of passing on the midfielder who came behind him, Bernardo presses Kimpembe in the same way, Mahrez is ready to put pressure on Baker, Meanwhile, Gendogan and Rudry watch over Idrissa Gay and Ferrati.
The same thing was happening on the other side, with Foden and Cancello.
Pep also modified the form of his offensive team, placing Gondogan in more advanced areas beside De Bruyne and Bernardo to take advantage of their famous movement on the left side with the move of the third man.
Pocteno noticed it five minutes later, adjusting his team structure during the defensive situation from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3, changing the position of Verratti from a left midfielder to a defensive midfielder alongside Paredes and Jay, in order to eliminate any space resulting from Gendogan’s rise to an advanced position, something that Manchester City benefited from in the return leg of the quarter-final match against Borussia Dortmund, it only took a few minutes for Gendogan to return to his original position next to Rodri in the middle, so Pochettino asked his players to return to the form in which they started the match. .
Guardiola solved the first problem, but the second problem remained constant because the left side lacked the necessary support, and here the decision was to enter Fodin for half of the left space and more depth, and to create a space for Chancello to climb more on the line, which resulted in either a gap between Florenti and Marcinius as a result of Florentine having to go out and face Cancelo or A loophole as a result of Florenzi remaining and his commitment to Foden in the rear.
Manchester City’s pressure was more intense and effective in the second half, with Zichenko going as a substitute for Cansello, who was cautious after he got a warning in the first half. De Bruyne presses Kimpembe, Bernardo watches Paredes, Foden is waiting for Kempepe to pass to Florenzi and starts to move. Teammates at the same time, Gendogan tracks Jay, Rudri tracks Verrati, Zichenko watches Di Maria near the line, while Diaz, who puts on an amazing match in terms of coverage and censorship, drops with Neymar wherever he goes.
Zetichenko, with his left foot, was able to take passes from outside into the field and deliver them to De Bruyne between the lines, also moving him without a ball to get out of the temporary pressure of Paris that was enough to give City the advantage.
Paris Saint-Germain is now in a similar position to Bayern in the previous round. Riyad Mahrez’s goal made their mission to reach the final for the second year in a row more difficult, however, the first half was an indication of how good the team was on such occasions.
Pressure played a pivotal role in the heart of the match, the victory of the English in the French lands will send them confidence and a big boost, but the final expectations remain suspended as the confrontations between Pep Guardiola and Maricio Pochettino always return us to the surprises, Pep won in the first half, and Pochettino has a week to prepare for the game. The second.