Five things we learned from Manchester City vs Steaua Bucharest

Manchester City's Joe Hart after the game

Manchester City beat Steaua Bucharest 6-0 on aggregate in their Champions League qualifier but what did we learn?

Manchester City manager Pep GuardiolaManchester City manager Pep Guardiola

Pep Guardiola's Manchester City confirmed their place in the Champions League after beating Steaua Bucharest 1-0 in their qualifier at the Etihad Stadium

Having convincingly beaten the Romanian side 5-0 in their first-leg, the tie was merely a formality, and with a much changed line-up, City's win booked their place in the competition's draw. 

Ahead of the draw we take a look at what was learnt from City's win over Steaua Bucharest.

Manchester City's Joe Hart applauds fans as he celebrates at the end of the matchManchester City's Joe Hart applauds fans as he celebrates at the end of the match

This was almost definetely Joe Hart's last game

Joe Hart was given his first competitive start by City manager Pep Guardiola as they advanced in the competition, and he kept a clean sheet in the process. 

Hart, who is expected to leave, was made captain for the evening and was rarely troubled. The England international was given a rousing reception by the home fans every time he touched the ball, and in the 66th minute the City fans sang “Stand up if you love Joe Hart”. The Etihad crowd rose to their feet in a moment that will live long in his memory. 

After the game Hart took to Instagram to show what the club means to him and how close he holds the supporters to his heart... 


John Stones really looks the part

Since John Stones' £47.5 million move from Everton the defender has started four out of four games and is starting to fulfil all the promise that started rumours of a big money move last season.

The 22-year-old continues to look the part in Manchester and is looking like a very good signing. While Stones will face much bigger tests than the one posed by Steaua Bucharest, his work as part of Guardiola's City masterplan is starting to pay dividends, with him putting in a Man of the Match performance. 

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to John StonesManchester City manager Pep Guardiola speaks to John Stones

Giving youth a chance

Guardiola proved at Barcelona and Bayern Munich that he not only believes in bringing in players with high quality for high transfer fees but also that youth is key to a club's progression. He can be credited with the rise of players such as Sergio Busquets at Barceolna and Joshua Kimmich at Bayern and City is looking like it will be no different. Against Bucharest, the Spaniard gave a first competitive start to 19-year-old right-back Pablo Maffeo, and while he looked at times to be a little raw, there remains the possibility that he may figure as a major part of his full-back options over the Premier League season.

Manchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho is stretchered off after sustaining a injuryManchester City's Kelechi Iheanacho is stretchered off after sustaining a injury

The Iheanacho factor

Against Bucharest, Guardiola made a number of changes and replaced Sergio Aguero with Kelechi Iheanacho, who was handed a first competitive start and twice troubled Steaua's goalkeeper into a save in the opening 45 minutes. But despite an impressive performance Guardiola will now have cause for concern for the young forward after he was stretchered off with 15 minutes remaining. The 19-year-old is highly thought of at City and if the injury turns out to be serious it may leave Guardiola with limited forward options and may leave him with no alternative but to reassess his plans for Wilfried Bony

Squad depth will be key to City's season

Guardiola made multiple changes with Hart, Maffeo, Gael Clichy, Fernando, Yaya Toure, Fabian Delph, Nolito, and Iheanacho coming in and will look to freshen up his line-up at every given opportunity. But with the City manager looking to offload the likes of Hart and Toure before the close of the transfer window on Wednesday, his squad depth will be key to City's success this season. In the summer City added greater depth to their squad allowing for players to leave, but with injuries to players within their squad, like the injury to Iheanacho, it may now force Guardiola to reconsider his transfer plans. 

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