Manchester City 3-1 Barcelona: ‘The night Pep Guardiola really arrived’

Manchester City’s outstanding Champions League victory over Barcelona bore all the hallmarks of a seminal moment in the development of this club of unlimited ambition.

Barca were finally overcome at the sixth time of asking on a scintillating night at Etihad Stadium, the 3-1 victory a fair reflection of the manner in which City wrested superiority from the side that beat them 4-0 in the Nou Camp a fortnight ago.

And for City manager Pep Guardiola, this was much more than a result that redressed the balance in Champions League Group C.

Guardiola’s revolution takes off

City’s lengthy pursuit of Guardiola finally came to fruition when it was announced on 1 February that he would join the club after leaving Bayern Munich.

It was the crucial move City’s Abu Dhabi-based hierarchy had been working towards for years, with an infrastructure already based heavily on the one the Spaniard had at Barcelona, with his old friend and former colleague Txiki Begiristain as director of football, and Ferran Soriano as chief executive.

City’s house was effectively built in readiness for Guardiola’s arrival, and his appointment was the day they had been planning for.

Begiristain and Soriano, and all in power at the club, will have looked on approvingly as the team made the biggest statement of Guardiola’s short time in charge, against the club where his – and their – philosophy was formed.

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