Jack Grealish was back to normal in Manchester City’s win over Chelsea and still isn’t living up to his £100million…three goals isn’t good enough and he’s not yet the game-changer Pep Guardiola expected
- Jack Grealish gave another disappointing display in the win over Chelsea
- It was the £100million man’s first game of 2022 and he missed a blatant opportunity
- The English midfielder has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for City
- He is certainly not the reason why Pep Guardiola’s men are 13 points ahead of the top
Pep Guardiola called Jack Grealish a great player for the big occasion when he gave the £100million man his first action of 2022 in a replay of the Champions League final against Chelsea.
But the Premier League’s most expensive player continues to struggle to live up to the hype and Saturday’s performance was a microcosm of his first season at The Etihad – satisfactory but nothing special. He is certainly not the reason why Pep Guardiola’s men are 13 points ahead of the league table.
For the most part, Grealish was knocked out by Chelsea’s man-mountain Antonio Rudiger and ruined his big moment after 40 minutes when Kevin De Bruyne’s interception kindly bounced its way inside the penalty area.
Jack Grealish gave just an ordinary performance in Manchester City’s win over Chelsea
The £100million man had a great chance to break the deadlock, but ruined his big chance
Grealish opened his body and tried to get past Kepa Arrizabalaga, but the angle was not correct and the Chelsea goalkeeper was able to swerve to a corner with his outstretched left leg.
It left Grealish’s goalscoring record at City at three in 21 games, just not good enough for someone who was the darling of England fans at the European Championship last summer.
Indeed, his three goals came against Norwich, Leipzig and Leeds, matches that City won with an aggregate score of 18-3.
There have been a few off-field problems for Grealish throughout his career, including at City where he and Phil Foden went out and were reprimanded by Pep Guardiola.
The 26-year-old must have felt relief starting an important game between first and second and he, Foden and Bernardo Silva chatted before the teams lined up, Grealish put an arm on Foden’s shoulder like an older brother would .
This time it was Foden who was used as Guardiola’s false nine with Grealish wide left in a 4-3-3 – his favorite position.
Grealish played in his favorite position against City – wide left in a 4-3-3 formation
His problem was the imposing figure of Rudiger who dropped by regularly to help fullback Cesar Azpilicueta avert danger.
Guardiola would have enjoyed Grealish’s pace of work, especially as he chased Kepa and forced him to kick the ball against Azpilicueta for a corner. But City paid the big bucks for magic on the ball and it’s not quite happening.
Too many times he played a simple pass in, without the courage to face Rudiger one-on-one.
City’s tactic was for Joao Cancelo to hit the ball through the left channel in the hopes that Grealish would get behind the Chelsea back-line, but Kepa often countered the threat as a sweeper-keeper and Grealish didn’t have the raw pace to get the ball first. reach.
When he thought he was about to enter Raheem Sterling’s cross, Azpilicueta managed to clear it with his own neck movement.
Grealish has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for City, scoring in what were easy victories for his side
Pep Guardiola, who called Grealish the great opportunity as a great player, is concerned about the miss
Scoring the opening goal would have made a huge difference to Grealish’s confidence but he failed to capitalize as Mateo Kovacic lost the ball to De Bruyne and Grealish only beat the keeper from 12 yards
He responded creditably to the miss and at the end of the half with a signature twirl in the box before setting up Kevin De Bruyne. Unfortunately the Belgian flew over.
In the second period Grealish managed to isolate Azpilicueta more often. He got to the byline once, but there was no City striker to catch his cross as Sergio Aguero would have done.
Guardiola would have appreciated his willingness to continue and on the ball he was able to pull free kicks, two fouls by Rudiger and Azpilicueta in quick succession, giving De Bruyne a great opportunity for a free kick.
Kevin de Bruyne scored the only goal of the game, his attack came from the left side of Grealish
It summed up Grealish’s time at The Etihad when the winning goal was scored on his left – but he had nothing to do with it. Cancelo starred in De Bruyne and the Belgian showed Grealish how to deliver a finished product, a beauty curly along Kepa.
Grealish will have been happy to stay on for the full 90 minutes – more central after Foden was substituted – but the excitement that greeted his arrival at The Etihad has not yet been fulfilled.
It takes some players time to find their way under the Guardiola regime – Riyad Mahrez is a prime example. But while Grealish is the most expensive player in the City squad, he’s not the game-changer yet