Oscar Bobb killer pass to Phil Foden who slots the ball across the goal mouth to Julian Alvarez. It is an easy tap in for Alvarez. And just a perfect pass by Foden. Perfect in that he doesn’t hit the ball with too much pace but caresses the ball across the goal mouth.
However, it is the Bobb killer pass to Foden that makes it all. Plus the Foden run. Since if Foden doesn’t check into the space there is no pass for Bobb to even make. Bobb pulls the ball back with the sole of his foot and then side foots the through ball to Foden. It all happens quickly with a pile of four Sheffield United players around both Bobb and Foden.
It is funny too, because at first Foden is pointing for Bobb to play the ball backwards to the open man. Just keep the ball. Tiki taka you might even say from the old Barcelona days. But Bobb dribbles at the defender and draws him in. Foden breaks into the open pocket of space behind the defense. While Guardiola’s teams love to keep the ball, he also stresses going at defenders and forcing them to make a decision – commit to the attacker.
I hadn’t heard this phrase before: the Pep pocket. That is what the announcer talks about when he praises Bobb’s pass and vision. But it makes sense, Pep’s pocket is that dangerous zone of space between the goal box and the eighteen yard line. That’s the Pep Guardiola pocket where he wants his players to find the ball and create chances.
Manchester City’s record possession total is around 82 percent. Versus Sheffield United they held the soccer ball for 80.6 percent of the time. So, not quite beating their total but dominating nonetheless.
This though is why Pep Guardiola wants his Manchester City team to find those pockets of space with little passes like Bobb’s pass. Teams pack the defensive third and make it hard to break through. In this way Manchester City rack up possession totals but not goal scoring chances. Park the bus as is it is known when teams drop the whole team back in their own half.
It requires quick angled runs and passes to find openings to score. Furthermore, it doesn’t require a long twenty or thirty yard run to break down a defensive line. All it takes, as Foden shows you, is a quick five yard sprint. That’s the secret.
Bobb’s pass to Foden will surely be pulled up during the team’s video session as a hallmark of finding the Pep pocket.
What with Kevin De Bruyne and the likes of Jérémy Doku and Jack Grealish playing out wide, it might be hard for Oscar Bobb to get steady playing time. Although how do you keep Bobb off the pitch when he makes passes like this and really never loses possession of the soccer ball the entire game.
Overall, Manchester City take care of business against Sheffield United. In large part, thanks to goals from Rodri and Julian Alvarez to secure three points and a clean sheet at the Etihad.
In the end I think we’ll see an Oscar Bobb killer pass again this season.