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Champions League group stage recap: Manchester City showing class

Manchester City proved to be an irresistible force in UEFA Champions League Group A and have all the ingredients to reach the final for the second season in a row.

Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates his winner against Paris on Matchday 5
Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus celebrates his winner against Paris on Matchday 5 PA Images via Getty Images

Plenty of goals and a statement victory over Paris Saint-Germain were the group stage highlights for Josep Guardiola's swashbuckling side, who reached the UEFA Champions League round of 16 with a game to spare.

Round of 16: Sporting CP vs Manchester City

Campaign so far

Man. City's group stage story

Group A winners: W4 D0 L2 F18 A10
Top scorer: Riyad Mahrez (5)

15/09: Man. City 6-3 Leipzig (Aké 16, Mukiele 28og, Mahrez 45+2pen, Grealish 56, Cancelo 75, Jesus 85; Nkunku 42 51 73)
: Paris 2-0 Man. City (Gueye 8, Messi 74)
: Club Brugge 1-5 Man. City (Vanaken 81; Cancelo 30, Mahrez 43pen 84, Walker 53, Palmer 67)
: Man. City 4-1 Club Brugge (Foden 15, Mahrez 54, Sterling 72, Jesus 90+2; Stones 17og)
: Man. City 2-1 Paris (Sterling 63, Jesus 76; Mbappé 50)
: Leipzig 2-1 Man. City (Szoboszlai 24, André Silva 71; Mahrez 76)

Campaign in ten words: Guardiola's free-flowing outfit have been mesmerising to watch at times.

UEFA.com reporter's view

City have arguably taken their game to another level this season. They came so close to that elusive first title last term and Guardiola has raised the bar once more as he chases a first Champions League triumph since 2011. When on song, their football is peerless.

What we've learned

Capable of unpicking any lock with their patient build-up, City have also shown they can rack up the goals even when not selecting a recognised No9 in their line-up. Yet there remains a vulnerability in defence with lapses contributing to an unusually high ten goals conceded in the group stage.

Fantasy star performers

Highlights: Manchester City 2-1 Paris

João Cancelo – 41 points
Riyad Mahrez – 40 points
Raheem Sterling – 21 points

Squad changes

In: Kayky
Out: Ferran Torres

Clubs could register a maximum of three new eligible players prior to the knockout stage. Since 2018/19, it no longer matters whether those players have already played in the competition for another club, even for another club still in the competition.

Key stats

• City finished top of their group for the fifth consecutive season. They are just the second English side to do so in the current format of the competition after Manchester United.

• City completed 90.2% of their passes in their six group matches – the highest percentage of any side to make the round of 16.

• Mahrez registered 14 shots on target in his six Group A appearances – no player managed more during the group stage.

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