Bravo error and lackadaisical defence cost Manchester City in loss to Barca
It was a weird game at the Camp Nou on Wednesday. Manchester City put in their best performance against Barcelona, mistakes aside, and were handed a 4-0 spanking thanks to some atrocious individual errors. It snowballed through the second half, as an idiotic deliberate handball saw goalkeeper Claudio Bravo sent off and lackadaisical defending allowed the hosts to run riot. City got no luck, but by full-time too many players had given up and the scoreline was, frankly, embarrassing for Pep Guardiola's team.
The only positive to take from the match was that, for an hour, City matched their hosts. But for a slip from Fernandinho, Guardiola's men would have gone toe-to-toe with Barcelona until the red card.
Individual errors cost City on Wednesday evening, as none of the defensive side of the team looked comfortable. Bravo's red card was stupid, nobody reacted to Fernandinho's slip, the ball was gifted to Barcelona on too many occasions that led to goals and City looked completely out of their depth.
Manager rating out of 10
6 -- Guardiola's initial setup worked well and City were in the game until matters out of his hands caused his side to fall apart.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Claudio Bravo, 2 -- A handball undid all of the goalkeeper's hard work and cost his team a very heavy defeat. His initial error of gifting the ball to Luis Suarez was compounded by his offence and any chance City had went with his dismissal. He was brought in to be able to play from the back, but he needs to recognise when it's appropriate and when it's not.
DF Pablo Zabaleta, 5 -- The veteran defender is looking off the pace as he tries to compete at the top level. He was left exposed on too many occasions and just couldn't recover.
DF John Stones, 4 -- It started off comfortably for the defender, but by full-time he'd been left dangling a leg instead of putting in a tackle too many times. It could have been a different match had he equalised with a free header at the end of the first half.
DF Nicolas Otamendi, 4 -- The Argentine was dragged out of position too easily and left wandering towards the end of the match as Barcelona cut through the City defence repeatedly. He also started well, but it descended into a poor showing. He was caught dawdling for Lionel Messi's opener.
DF Aleksandar Kolarov, 3 -- Part of a defence that fell to pieces in the second half, Kolarov wasn't able to positively influence the game. He was left having to dive in and give away a penalty late on.
MF Ilkay Gundogan, 5 -- When City were on top in the early stages, Gundogan was doing well. But both he and Fernandinho gave possession away cheaply when down to 10 men and his final ball didn't quite make it. He should have scored and gave away possession for Barcelona's third.
MF Fernandinho, 5 -- An unfortunate slip allowed Messi to open the scoring. He gave the ball away in some dangerous areas, but seemed to be behind City's more promising breakaways.
MF Raheem Sterling, 6 -- The winger looked lively and was the most likely to break through the home side's defence. He caused the hosts problems, drew the challenge from Jeremy Mathieu for his red card and should have had a penalty after a great run and cross.
MF David Silva, 6 -- The Spaniard's creativity was important in the early stages of the match and were it not for a couple of misplaced final balls it could have been a different story.
MF Nolito, 6 -- Nolito was unfortunate to be sacrificed for Willy Caballero following the red card, as he seemed to be causing Barcelona problems by hanging out wide on the left. He had chances, too, but failed to take them.
MF Kevin De Bruyne, 6 -- There was plenty of intelligence from the Belgian, but he wasn't able to get the final ball through to his teammates on a few occasions. He got in behind the home side's defence several times, but couldn't find the net.
GK Willy Caballero, 6 -- Brought on for Nolito on 53 minutes, Caballero was left exposed by some hopeless defending in front of him. He did well to save a penalty, but could have done better for the fourth goal.
DF Gael Clichy, 5 -- Replacing the injured Zabaleta on 53 minutes, Clichy struggled to settle into what was an error-strewn defence.
FW Sergio Aguero, N/R -- The centre-forward couldn't influence play after replacing Gundogan on 76 minutes.
David Mooney is ESPN FC's Manchester City blogger. Twitter: @DavidMooney