Manchester City ran out comfortable 3-0 winners against Marseille in their final Champions League group stage game on Wednesday night but Guardiola may well be frustrated with the performance of Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian struggled to have much impact on the game throughout his time on the pitch and was substituted by the Spanish manager with just over 20 minutes remaining, with the Citizens managing to make the game safe ten minutes later through the winger’s replacement, Sergio Aguero.
As per SofaScore, Mahrez picked up a 6.6 rating for his display against Andre Villas-Boas’ side, which saw him ranked as the Citizens’ worst player on the pitch.
Although he had a big part to play in City’s opening goal, with his driving run finding Ferran Torres for the equaliser, the former Leicester City man was certainly not at his best on Wednesday night.
During his time on the pitch, he completed 31/40 of his passes, resulting in a solid, if unspectacular, 78% pass accuracy.
The winger also struggled when expected to create opportunities for the home side, as none of his three crosses were accurate, and none of his two attempted long balls found their mark.
Mahrez also failed to win any of his three ground duels during the fixture, suggesting that the Marseille defenders often had the better of the 29-year-old during the game.
Fortunately for the Algerian international, he has enjoyed a superb start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, having contributed four goals and one assist in eight top-flight appearances, resulting in an excellent 7.48 average rating (per WhoScored).
Guardiola was full of praise for the winger last year, saying:
“It was so important for him. From the beginning, he arrived with an incredible mentality, positive and the way he plays.
“He has the feeling when he gets that ball in that position, the 18-yard box close to the area, something is going to happen. It’s a feeling and I think all the spectators can have that feeling and that is because he has a gift. He has something special.”
Therefore, despite his arguably disappointing display against Marseille on Wednesday, it might not be a surprise to see him restored to Guardiola’s starting lineup to face Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday.