Let's have a short analysis of Man City vs Napoli.
First, the build up.
City started off with a 4-3-3. While building from the back, Walker maintained a wide position. Delph played more centrally alongside Fernandinho. (Image 1) The reason? When the ball is brought out, he provides numerical superiority in the centre when initiating the attack, while attacking, Sane and Sterling maintained the width.
De Bruyne supported Sterling. So, when the ball is successfully brought out from the back, Walker and Delph, the full backs are in such an inverted position, i.e. in centre, that it creates a 2-3-2-3 shape (image 2). This sets David Silva and De Bruyne free and hence allows them to create more.
Napoli defended in a compact, 4-5-1 shape (image 3). So, when the ball was passed back to create space between Napoli's lines, Delph would still be in an inverted position. However, Walker joined Stones and Otamendi creating a back 3. This forced Napoli to go in a 4-4-2 shape, making it easier to bypass their midfield (image 4).
Once the ball was transferred, Walker and Delph joining the midfield meant De Bruyne and David Silva were free to join the attack, creating a huge overload on Napoli back line (Image 5). This can be seen in the first goal.
While defending, City always pressed collectively and NEVER individually. City too, quickly changed to a 4-1-4-1 shape while defending (image 6). Sane and Sterling helped reduce the space while defending.
City's gameplan for the game was crystal clear and perfectly executed for most of the first half. Last season, City heavily needed intelligent full backs. This explains why they were so important to Pep. Having a great pivot instead of Fernandinho, who will be even better in positioning and won't let down like he did in the second half...? Well, can't even imagine the level City will reach. Masterful from Pep!
Thanks to Mindfootballness for the images.
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