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Man City’s inventive free-kick routine highlights Pep Guardiola’s pragmatism

We've not seen them do anything like this before

We’ve seen it all now.

The first-half of Liverpool’s clash with Man City won’t live long in the memory.

The two sides played out a rather tame 45 minutes as both Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola waited to see who flinched first.


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*Places ‘kick me’ sign*

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*Places ‘kick me’ sign*

There was however one utterly bizarre moment that did occur in the first 45 at Anfield.

We can’t quite get our heads around it.

It seemed, at first, as though Liverpool accidentally forced Man City into going long with what would usually be a routine short free-kick for City.

Or, was it just Guardiola’s men willing turning a set-piece in a non-threatening area into a goal-scoring opportunity?

The thinking man

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The thinking man

Let us explain.

As soon as the free-kick was award, Virgil van Dijk and co immediately began to take their shape and form a line that you would usually see when defending a wide free-kick.

City bizarrely obliged when 9/10 times they would go short.

Unusually for City they lined up to go long from a set-piece close to the half-way line

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Unusually for City they lined up to go long from a set-piece close to the half-way line

Riyad Mahrez pumped the ball forward aimed towards Aymeric Laporte

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Riyad Mahrez pumped the ball forward aimed towards Aymeric Laporte

Jordan Henderson was on-hand to clear the danger away

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Jordan Henderson was on-hand to clear the danger away

Guardiola was locked in deep conversation with his assistant manager Mikel Arteta

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Guardiola was locked in deep conversation with his assistant manager Mikel Arteta

We got our answer in the second-half.

City lined up to pull-off the same routine once more just ten minutes after the break.

Again, Laporte drifted out to a wide area and awaited the ball from Mahrez.

It failed to work the second time they tried it

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It failed to work the second time they tried it

“HOOOOF!”

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“HOOOOF!”

The added height of Laporte is clearly going to become a weapon that City might utilise more in the future.

Premier League defences, beware.

The set-piece was something you associate more with Sam Allardyce.

Bloody hell, they’re parking the bus now too

Getty - Contributor
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Bloody hell, they’re parking the bus now too

Putting all dead-jokes to one side, it was refreshing to see Guardiola trying something different.

He’s just proved what few doubters he had, that he’s by no means a one-trick pony.

Pep going route one? Madness. 


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