Man City 2-1 Manchester United | Guardiola vs Ten Hag | Tactical Analysis

Guardiola beat Ten Hag to win the FA Cup in a game in which the tactical key was Man City’s build-up vs United’s pressing.  United’s shape was a narrow 4-2-3-1 in a mid block with either Rashford or Eriksen pressing the center back. Usually it was the center forward on Dias and Eriksen on Stones/Rodri, although the potential success of this pressing was that both Rashford and Eriksen stayed between City’s double pivot to prevent them from receiving the ball. This system with the wingers narrow left a lot of space for Fred and Casemiro to defend, creating large gaps between midfielders, leaving them exposed.

When the ball is on one flank the United winger on the opposite comes inside to cover one of the City midfielders, leaving the ball-far full-back free. If the winger stayed wide, defending the full-back, then City could find the pass to Rodri or Stones, and with a good first touch carry and progress unchallenged.

Another option was to play a long ball to Erling Haaland and link up with the attacking midfielders underneath. That’s how City scored the first goal, they always play long from kick off and in this game they did it again, Gündoğan plays with Ortega and the key in the play is the movement of the United defensive block, leaving much room in midfield. Ortega looks for Haaland, the Norwegian attracting several United players, freeing up too much space in the central channel. After 2 aerial duels we see Gündoğan is unmarked, the ball goes to him on the edge of the box to finish with a great volley that David de Gea could do nothing to prevent the goal.

And the second in another of the situations that we highlighted in City’s build-up, Fred vs De Bruyne, with the Brazilian chasing the Belgian all over the pitch, fouling him in this play for a free kick in which United defends with the whole team inside the box leaving the edge free where up to 3 City players are available to finish. The ball is played to Gündoğan who has the best position to score again with a good volley.

Guardiola is one win away to complete the treble of Premier, FA Cup and Champions League.

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