Man City’s £100m problem as Jack Grealish handed harsh reality in PSG defeat
Manchester City have been landed with a £100million problem after Jack Grealish was dealt a harsh reality in their defeat to Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s side travelled to the Parc Des Princes for their second match of their Champions League campaign this season.
Goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi ensured the hosts took all three points and left City third in Group A, with Club Brugge having climbed above them thanks to a win at RB Leipzig.
It was a frustrating night for City, who had 18 shots in total and enjoyed 54 per cent of the possession in the French capital.
Gueye had opened the scoring after just eight minutes, firing an excellent drive into the top corner after Neymar had air-kicked Kylian Mbappe’s pass.
Messi then sealed the win with 16 minutes remaining when he picked up the ball on the halfway line and drove towards the City box.
The Argentine superstar then played a one-two with Mbappe before leaving Ederson rooted to the spot with a wonderful effort that flew in.
It is not conceding a wonderful goal that will be of concern to City boss Guardiola though, who saw his side lose their first Champions League group game since September 2018.
Instead, it will be the performance of Grealish that will leave Guardiola feeling that he now has a problem on his hands.
The England international was signed from Aston Villa in the summer transfer window for a British record fee of £100m.
It had been a solid start to life with the Premier League champions for Grealish, who scored two goals and notched two assists in his first eight games for City.
That included a man-of-the-match display in the 6-3 win over Leipzig, but his second game in the Champions League was not quite as successful.
Grealish started on the left wing in the French capital, but failed to have a shot on target in the entire 90 minutes.
He was also caught offside twice and lost four of his defensive duels on a tough night for the 26-year-old.
Grealish’s lack of creativity was showcased by his dire Expected Goals and Expected Assists ratio.
He had an Expected Goals rating of just 0.06, with his Expected Assists rating only slightly better at 0.09, as he failed to create a chance.
These big Champions League games was exactly why Grealish was brought to the Etihad Stadium for such a large fee.
But he proved to be ineffective against a side who will surely be one of City’s biggest rivals to win the competition.
By contrast to Grealish’s poor display, PSG’s star signings played significant roles in their side’s win at the Parc Des Prince.
Goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, signed from AC Milan in the summer, made seven saves as he kept a clean sheet.
£50m man Achraf Hakimi won seven defensive duels, made five clearances and made four recoveries from right-back.
Then there was Messi, who sealed his side’s win after 74 minutes, with Grealish having already been hauled off by Guardiola.
The City boss will be left hoping that Grealish can figure out a way to perform in these types of Champions League matches if he is to avoid looking like he wasted £100m.