First thing Wednesday morning, Pep Guardiola’s staff will deliver to the Manchester City manager a meticulously annotated report of his team’s Champions League semifinal against Real Madrid 

At roughly the same time, Carlo Ancelotti, his counterpart in the Spanish capital, will receive something very similar. 

Those dossiers will contain brief snatches of video, each highlighting some key tactical detail. There will be photos, too, offering a snapshot of a scarcely perceptible flaw in a player’s positioning or  

an expanse of the field left exposed or a darting run left unconsummated. There will, perhaps, be giant arrows in some lurid shade. There will certainly be reams of statistics. 

Guardiola and Ancelotti will settle down and comb through them, panning for whatever seam of wisdom they might find, mining deep into the detail in the hope of finding some kernel 

some insight that might prove the difference when they play again next week. And as they do it, they will know, deep down, that it is all absolutely, fundamentally, unavoidably pointless. 

Guardiola himself had acknowledged that before the game, half in jest, suggesting that there was not a vast amount of point in conducting the usual 

, instinctive analysis of Real Madrid because Ancelotti’s team is, by its very nature, so chimerical. He meant it, most likely, as a reflection on the virtuosity of Karim Benzema and Luka Modric,