Manchester City all-but confirmed their place in the Champions League quarter-finals with a 4-0 win away to Basel in the last 16 first-leg.

City took the lead after just 14 minutes as Ilkay Gundogan beat his marker to get a his head onto a Kevin De Bruyne corner, with his effort powering past the goalkeeper.

And the lead was doubled just four minutes later when Bernardo Silva controlled Raheem Sterling’s cross before looping the ball over Tomas Vaclik’s outstretched fingertips.

Despite Basel showing heart, City had their third in the 23rd minute as Sergio Aguero hit a low driven shot from 25 yards which beat the stationary goalkeeper.

Gundogan then grabbed his second just eight minutes after half-time, with a curling shot from outside the box after Aguero’s dribble found space.

As City have got one foot in the quarter-finals, here are five things we learned.

1. Bernardo Silva looking more and more like a successor for David

Despite David Silva returning to the Manchester City squad after hip injury, the Spaniard had to watch on from the bench as Bernardo Silva further cemented his place in the starting line-up.

Starting his 19th game of the season, the Portuguese played as part of a front three alongside Aguero and Sterling, combining with the latter for his goal.

Taking the ball down well inside the box, Bernardo Silva’s looping shot was too well-placed for the goalkeeper and made the Champions League the fourth different competition the midfielder has scored in.

Having already netted in the Premier League, FA Cup and League Cup, the Champions League was the final competition Bernardo Silva needed to score in to complete the set.

2. Chelsea should be sweating

With City all-but confirmed to be in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after the first leg, Pep Guardiola can afford to rest players in the return at the Etihad on 7 March.

This will allow the Spaniard to play a full-strength side in their surrounding Premier League fixtures, with Chelsea and Stoke City the unfortunate pair.

With Chelsea fighting for their place in the top four, manager Antonio Conte would have hoped City would still need to rely a good result in their second leg to guarantee qualification, potentially giving players some rest.

But with City steamrolling all opposition both in England and abroad, the Blues will have to face the very best of the best team in the Premier League.

3. Manchester City get first knockout away clean sheet

Despite City’s dominance in the Premier League this season, they are still relative newcomers to the Champions League and have not had the best fortune in Europe’s top club competition.

The win over Basel in Switzerland brought just City’s second away win in the Champions League knockout stages – in their seventh game.

City’s only other away knockout victory came with a 3-1 win over Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine in February 2016, having drawn one and lost four of the other six.

However, the Citizens did manage to keep an away knockout clean sheet for the first time in the Champions League as Ederson held off Basel’s attack.

4. Basel’s Champions League home run comes to an end

The 4-0 defeat to Manchester City not only pretty much ended Basel’s hopes of a quarter-final appearance; it also brought to an end an impressive three-and-a-half year Champions League scoring run for Basel in Switzerland.

Not since Real Madrid beat them 1-0 in 26th November 2014 have Basel failed to score at home in the Champions League, finding the net in their past nine games (including qualifiers).

The blank came despite the Swiss champions creating some good chances to beat Ederson in the City goal, with Basel going closest to taking the lead in the opening 10 minutes when Dimitri Oberlin beat the offside trap but could not connect with the ball.

With Ederson on top form, Basel would have needed something special to beat the Brazilian but the Swiss side only hit the target with two of their eight shots on goal (excluding blocked shots).

5. Basel struggles on the ball

Before the game against Manchester City, Basel had averaged just 39% possession in their six Champions League games – the lowest ratio among the 16 teams left in the competition.

And as City dominated on the ball at St. Jakob’s Park, the Swiss side managed just 26% possession as they were made to chase shadows for 90 minutes – their lowest of the season.

When in possession, Basel did not have much success either, completing 76% of their passes with striker Oberlin the worst offender with a 38% pass completion rate.

The post David Silva’s heir confirmed? Five things we learned as Man City thrash Basel 4-0 appeared first on Squawka News.



GO TO SOURCE
Harry Edwards