Thursday, September 7, 2023

Pep Guardiola still relentless, Cole Palmer a new star and no Jack Grealish party – Six things we learnt from Man City’s Super Cup win

Another season and once again another trophy for the Manchester City juggernaut to add to their very impressive collection.

Their exploits on Wednesday night weren’t the prettiest but like great champions do they managed to get over the line without being their best, scraping past Sevilla on penalties.

There have been bigger highs than winning the Super Cup for these playersGetty

But the victory still means a great dealAFP

Last season’s treble winners fell behind through Youssef En-Nesyri’s well-taken goal in the first half but hit back through a deft Cole Palmer header on 63 minutes.

City weren’t able to find the winner in 90 minutes, but produced five perfect penalties in the shootout with Nemanja Gudelj’s effort hitting the crossbar deciding the final.

In Kevin De Bruyne’s absence it was Kyle Walker who lifted the trophy that City were expected to win pre-match.

Nevertheless, there are plenty of takeaways from the clash in Athens has identified.

Young King Cole

City had a plethora of experienced players in their ranks on show but they needed their newest star to save them from a surprise defeat in Palmer.

The 21-year-old brilliantly looped the ball over Sevilla goalkeeper Bono with a deft header, telling goal machine Erling Haaland to leave it in the process too.

In scoring, Palmer made history in becoming the first player to net in a Super Cup and Community Shield in the same year since Michael Owen did for Liverpool in 2001.

He really got in the mood after the goal, showcasing his stunning skills and in one delightful moment he sent Sevilla full-back Marcos Acuna for a hotdog before stinging the hands of Bono with a curling effort. And there are clearly high hopes for the England Under-21 star.

Palmer latched onto Rodri’s clipped cross to head City levelGetty

On Palmer, Walker said after the match: “This guy is incredible and he’s got good players to learn off and the best manager in the world.

“He needs to keep going, keep his feet on the floor like he has been and keep scoring goals. If he keeps improving he’ll be fine.”

As well as their billions, City have a number of exciting academy graduates who could become regulars in the first teamGetty

Crucial saves

Palmer deserves all the credit he gets but the forward’s work would’ve been forgotten had City goalkeeper Ederson not made two crucial stops to deny En-Nesyri.

At the start of the second half En-Nesyri found himself through on goal but the Brazilian was equal to the Morocco forward’s effort.

And moments after Palmer’s equaliser En-Nesyri found himself through on goal again but Ederdon denied him his and Sevilla’s second of the night and a potential victory.

Ederson certainly earned his packetGetty

On Gvard

Ederson should give himself a pat on the back but at points it was a shaky defensive performance from City.

Summer signing Josko Gvardiol made his debut for the club but looked somewhat out of sorts as Guardiola’s men surrendered chances.

The Croatian shouldn’t be too downhearted as many City players including John Stones and Jack Grealish have made slow starts before being moulded into some of the world’s best players under Guardiola’s guidance.

Not the best debut for Gvardiol but he’s in great hands at CityGetty

Haaland concern?

This is by no means a problem right now – a double at Burnley last weekend firmly suggests Haaland is back to doing what he does best – but it was an uncharacteristically quiet evening for Haaland in Athens.

The Norwegian somewhat tailed off towards the end of last season, with just one goal in his final nine appearances for them, failing to score in all finals he’s been involved with at City.

This quiet outing in the Super Cup, as well as the Community Shield may be something Guardiola will want to nip in the bud.

Guardiola still loves last season’s 52-goal machineGetty

Pep makes history, but still relentless as ever

However, before Guardiola starts any investigation into a potential waning of form for Haaland, the City boss wants to offer a couple of pointers to Guardiola.

As the pair queued up to collect their winners’ medals, Guardiola was seen having what appeared to be a frank conversation with the stand-in skipper.

It bore a striking resemblance to Guardiola’s animated conversation with Raheem Sterling after City smashed Watford 6-0 in the 2019 FA Cup final – a match which saw them claim an unprecedented domestic treble.

Guardiola made history having become the first manager to win the Super Cup with three different clubs, not that he would particularly care. Ain’t no rest for the wicked and all that.

Guardiola doesn’t do day offstnt sports

He gave Walker an on-pitch Pep talk seconds before the player lifted the trophytnt sports

No Jack Grealish party

Guardiola didn’t seem best pleased with Walker for something he did or didn’t do but we can only imagine how furious he would’ve been had Jack Grealish been up to his usual partying antics.

Grealish endeared himself to fans across the country for his wild celebrations after City winning the treble was confirmed, but with Newcastle to think about on Saturday night, live on talkSPORT, the England star confirmed these celebrations would be considerably more sober and much less sleep deprived.

Asked if there will be a repeat of the summer’s celebrations, Grealish said: “Nah, I put a ban on that!

“We’ll go home tonight. We have another game in three days. Straight to recovery and then back to the Premier League.”

The celebrations will be tame this time aroundGetty

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