Pep Guardiola’s missed Champions League gesture highlights new Manchester City strength

Pep Guardiola is renowned for his ability to coach an entertaining brand of attacking football, having developed his managerial reputation at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and Manchester City.

During his time at the Etihad, his team have ended each Premier League campaign as the top-scoring outfit in all but one season – his first in England.

City continued to showcase their offensive potential in the Champions League on Wednesday evening, beating RB Leipzig by an incredible six goals to three.

It was a European thriller with a variety of different goals scored, but one, in particular, offered an insight into a relatively new strength of the team.

The player to open the scoring was Nathan Ake, who headed home a corner in the 16th minute.

The set-piece move seemed premeditated after Rodri and Ruben Dias darted towards the near post and took Leipzig markers with them, leaving Ake to attack the centre of the goal with a free header.

After the goal was scored, Guardiola celebrated by turning and pointing to his bench, likely in the direction of the club’s new set-piece coach, Carlos Vicens.

The runs of Dias and Rodri generated space for Ake to score with a header against Leipzig
The runs of Dias and Rodri generated space for Ake to score with a header against Leipzig

Vicens was recently promoted to first-team duties from the academy coaching setup and seems to have replaced Nicolas Jover, who was the previous set-piece expert at the club but left during the summer to join Mikel Arteta at Arsenal.

City last season scored six goals from corner routines in the Premier League, which placed them behind five sides and level with six other teams.

Chelsea finished top with nine after Liverpool the year netted 11 times, which highlights that dead-ball situations are often capitalised upon by City’s title rivals.

It remains to be seen how often Guardiola’s men will find the net from set-pieces this season but considering their elite ability in open play, an additional dead-ball threat could make City almost unstoppable in their search for goals.