What Ross Barkley did to infuriate Pep Guardiola, Bernardo Silva & Man City staff in win v Luton

The Luton Town midfielder was fortunate to escape without a booking against Manchester City.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

For the majority of Saturday’s game against Luton Town, it was a relatively straightforward affair for Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola.

But the enthusiastic Catalan is often an entertaining watch on the sidelines and he did find reason to vent his frustrations in the first half of the 5-1 win at the Etihad.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

City took an early lead when Erling Haaland’s wayward scissor kick deflected in off Daiki Hashioka after less than two minutes. That could have been the cue for the floodgates to open, instead Luton held City at bay for more than hour until Mateo Kovacic rifled in Julian Alvarez’s cross to grab a first home goal for the champions.

Erling Haaland netted a third from the spot before Jeremy Doku and Josko Gvardiol got in on the act to drastically improve City’s goal difference as they hunt down a fourth consecutive top-flight title. Despite the hosts’ sheer dominance, Luton did nick a late goal via ex-Everton and Chelsea man Ross Barkley, who dispossessed Matheus Nunes midway inside the City half and then placed the ball beyond Ederson.

It wasn’t the first time on Saturday that Barkley irritated the Brazilian. In the 28th minute, following a Luton corner that was collected by Ederson, Barkley pulled back at the goalkeeper’s arm to prevent him launching a quick breakaway. It was an incident that frustrated the home bench as referee John Brooks surprisingly opted against brandishing a yellow card.

It felt like a standard booking, a point Guardiola’s backroom staff made to fourth official Darren Bond on the sideline, before Bernardo Silva took it upon himself to have a chat with the assistant. After much pointing and gesticulating, the Portuguese midfielder certainly got his point across.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet when Kevin De Bruyne cut across Alfie Doughty’s path at the end of the first half and stopped Luton launching a counter attack, the City midfielder earned a caution from Brooks. That provoked Guardiola’s zealous response from the technical area, as he sarcastically applauded the referee, before verbalising his disagreement towards Bond.

Guardiola was still shaking his head a minute after the incident, which he clearly felt was double standards, especially given it was just De Bruyne’s second foul of the day.

Regardless, it proved to be a relatively minor point on an afternoon when City - at least temporarily - returned to the top of the Premier League table. That they did so and managed to rest Rodri, Bernardo Silva, Phil Foden and Jack Grealish ahead of Real Madrid was an added bonus.

As for Luton, they remain in the relegation zone with five games of the season remaining. Nottingham Forest’s 2-2 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers saw them move a point clear of the bottom three.

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.