In soccer, one of the most intense moments in a game is a penalty kick. And it's often tricky to decide who gets the take the penalty kick? For Manchester City, it was a rare case of Pep Guardiola making a mistake and saying Riyad Mahrez should take it instead of Gabriel Jesus, who actually wanted to take it.
It will be interesting the next time Manchester City draw a penalty kick and settle this controversy. And I’d imagine you can make a bet about who’s going to take the next penalty kick for Manchester City - with discover the bet365 in play offer for instance.
In the game, a sort of surprised Mahrez stepped up and smashed the ball into the stands instead of into the back of the net. It’s odd too, since Mahrez is an excellent free kick taker, you’d expect to calmly slot the ball home. The signing of Mahrez was somewhat of a surprise in itself, as there really isn’t a lot of room for him in the Man City side. They have loads of skillful players already. And the club is paying him a lot of money Only Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero and David Silva make more.
I’m guessing that’s why Guardiola wanted Mahrez to take the kick, to give him a boost of confidence and take the pressure off. But it was a big game against Liverpool and maybe the pressure got to Mahrez.
Pep Guardiola even appeared to apologize to Jesus after the game. Really, the forward who’s on the field should take it if they want to. Sergio Aguero, the usual penalty kick taker for Man City was on the bench at the time.
This is what Pep had to say after the game: “During the training sessions every day I see Mahrez taking the penalties and it gave me a lot of confidence,” Guardiola said. “It will be good experience for him, next time it will go in.” And he confirmed he said sorry to Jesus, “Yes, of course,” he said. “It was my decision.”
In a big game versus Liverpool, a manager should make changes or calls from the sidelines that disrupt the flow of the game - let the players play and make their choices on the field. With penalty kicks it’s often a gut feeling about who wants to take it at that moment. It’s not for a coach to step in a alter the game. I’m going to guess that in the future Pep is going to stay out of it and try to remain calm on the sidelines and let his players decide who takes the penalty kick.