Man City’s victory last night went nearly unnoticed. Why? Because meanwhile Tottenham are rightfully revelling in the glory of beating Real Madrid at Wembley. But let’s pause for a second. Which of these results were more impressive? It might not be the one you think.
Tottenham were brilliant, but Madrid were awful. In fact they’ve been pretty this awful season full stop. Real found themselves in seventh spot – that’s eight points behind Barcelona after a shock defeat to the newly promoted Girona. At Wembley they looked flat, ill-disciplined and – if you’ll pardon the tired talent show reference – lacking the X-factor that we usually associate with the kings of Europe.
But for Tottenham, beating Madrid still requires a bravery that’s not to be underestimated. Unfortunately, last nights match wasn’t quite as special as some people would have you believe.
Let’s not forget that Liverpool put Madrid to the sword in the Torres era. The pressure on Madrid to reach for the stars each time tends to result in the odd violent crash back to earth.
They’ve dominated Europe for the last five years, and that incredible run had to come to an end eventually. Chelsea found themselves near the bottom of the table under Mourinho following a victorious season, and Leicester fell apart dramatically following their miraculous rise to the top. The epic rise is normally followed by a dramatic fall (otherwise known as the disease of me).
I would argue that this is what we saw from Madrid last night. They were there to be beaten.
Meanwhile, Man City beat the Italian leaders on their own patch. This is the team that Guardiola described as one of the best he’s ever played against. The City boss was once again gushing about the quality of this team, and the Napoli manager is widely regarded as somewhat of a genius.
“Beating Napoli twice in two weeks is an incredible achievement,” Guardiola told Mediaset Premium. “They are perhaps the best side I’ve faced in my career.
“I am so proud because I know the side we beat. I am in love with Napoli, with the way they make short passes and they didn’t give us time to think in the opening 20 minutes. We didn’t have the courage to play.”
Madrid may be the more iconic team, made up of a string of household names, but in the context of this season – last night belonged to Man City. They revealed themselves as a real force to be reckoned with in Europe. They’re the team that the giants should fear, whether they’re in form or not.
Fair play to Tottenham, but last night belonged to the boys in blue.