Manchester City moves on to the Group Stage of the UEFA Champions League with a win today over Steau 1-0. But we all knew going into the game at Etihad Stadium that was going to happen. City went into the game with a 5-0 aggregate lead on the Romanian team, so this was a mere formality. For this reason, many of the City backups got to play today, including goalkeeper Joe Hart, a City legend who is likely on his way out the door.
The fans cheered every time he touched the ball during the game, which was not all that often as City controlled the ball most of the time. But he did get a clean sheet at home in a Champions League game so if it was to be his last game with Manchester City, not a bad way to go out.
Hart only got to make a few saves and none were all that difficult, but he did have a moderately tough one in the second half which preserved the 1-0 lead. The crowd cheered wildly for him on the play and he acknowledged them. Hart has had a good run at City along with YaYa Toure who also got to play today. They have both been a large part of the best run Manchester City fans have ever seen with two Premier league Championships and last year’s semifinal run in the Champions League.
But City is looking for more under new manager Pep Guardiola this year and in future years. With that means new players who he feels will run his system more effectively. And that means some of the old guard has to be benched, or even cut looses. It’s part of the game.
Hart and Toure showed today they can still play the game and they will be a contributor somewhere, probably for more than one season. But if they have to leave Manchester City, it’s good to go out like that.
as for the game, City scored in the second half at the 56′ mark on a header from Delph, another of the players not seeing a lot of playing time under the new manager. With the win, City is now 2-0 in the Premier League with a goal differential of +4 and 2-0 in the Champions League with a +6. So it is tough to argue any decisions Guardiola has made.