A rampant Barcelona hammered Manchester City 4-0 in the Champions League as Pep Guardiola endured a disappointing return to the Nou Camp.
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick and Neymar added a fourth on a night when City goalkeeper Claudio Bravo was dismissed with the hosts only 1-0 up. Lets looks at what we learned from the contest.
- 1. City have a way to go
This was the biggest test of the Guardiola regime so far, an opportunity to measure his team against the creme de la creme of European football. For an hour the visitors would have been content but Bravo's dismissal helped Barca's superior quality eventually shine through.
City may stake a claim to being the best team in England but Wednesday night only confirmed they still have strides to make to join the rest of the continent's elite.
- 2. Another Bravo blunder
Guardiola was not the only one to experience an unhappy return to Catalonia as goalkeeper Bravo was sent off at his former home having handled outside of his box following a misplaced pass to Luis Suarez. Bravo was brought in to replace Joe Hart because of his ability to retain possession but he has been unable to shake the reputation of a keeper that can be caught out when distributing the ball.
- 3. No Aguero, no goals
Despite 11 goals in nine games this year, Guardiola opted to leave Sergio Aguero among his replacements while Barcelona's own Argentinian talisman netted thrice.
It was, as the City boss revealed, a tactical decision but one which Guardiola may harbour regrets over given the final score. Barca lost two defenders to injury in the first half and their reshuffled back line would surely have been tested more by City's most lethal marksman.
- 4. No win in four
Having started with 10 straight wins, Guardiola was entertaining questions about a quadruple. Since beating Swansea in the EFL Cup at the end of that run, they have drawn with Celtic and Everton and lost to Tottenham and Barcelona. Suggestions that they have been 'found out' will not gain further credence against one of the finest sides on the planet but Guardiola is maybe discovering that this managerial lark is not so easy after all.
- 5. Messi is a class above
How Guardiola must wish he could have brought Messi with him to the north-west of England.
The Argentinian magician weaved his way through City's defence time and again and he took his tally to six goals in two games against British clubs this year following his treble against Celtic earlier in the competition.