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Manchester City's defensive crisis

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  • Manchester City's defensive crisis

    Manchester City's defensive crisis

    Alex Keble looks at how upcoming opponents will attack Manchester City's depleted defence, and what tactical changes Pep Guardiola needs to do lớn cover- According to the soccer under tip page!

    The word ‘crisis’ is too easily thrown around in modern football; confidence is an under-rated aspect of the game, and so the natural rhythms of winning streaks and losing streaks are blown totally out of proportion. Manchester City, then, on the back of a single 3-2 defeat at Norwich City, are nowhere near crisis despite Liverpool’s five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.

    Nevertheless their next five weeks do feel critical lớn the title race; their defensive injuries a potential season-defining issue even at this early stage of the campaign. Aymeric Laporte will spend seven months on the sidelines and John Stones is out for five weeks, leaving Nicolas Otamendi the only fit centre-back in the City squad.

    Given that their win percentage without Vincent Kompany or Laporte at the back is a lowly 68%, per Sky Sports, City fans have every right lớn feel anxious about what will happen in their next four league games. Liverpool’s 100% start to the campaign suggests another 95+ points total this year. Every point dropped is magnified. You can prefer the soccer tip to win page!

    Pep Guardiola doesn’t sound too confident, either. Speaking lớn reporters after the 3-0 win at Shakhtar Donetsk, he said “Nico is 31, Fernandinho is 34, and the next alternative is 18 [Eric García]. For [the next] three or four months I don’t know what will happen. [&Hellip;]They cannot play every game at their age.”

    So let’s take a look at the specific threat each of their upcoming Premier League opponents will pose lớn an Otamendi-Fernandinho axis.

    Watford (h) – September 21

    Man City’s home form (20 wins in the last 22 league games) suggests neither centre-back will be consistently troubled. Guardiola’s side hold 65% possession on average at the Etihad, suffocating their opponents with a high press that cuts off the counter-attack at source; City centre-backs are rarely even called into action.

    However, one issue with playing Fernandinho at centre-back is it means Rodri is guaranteed to start in midfield, and the 23-year-old is yet lớn get up to speed with the division. In the 2-2 draw with Tottenham it was Rodri’s failure to close down Erik Lamela that allowed the Argentine lớn score from distance, and a mistimed tackle from the former Atletico Madrid player gave Spurs the corner from which Lucas Moura headed in.

    That’s particularly problematic against such a hard-working and well-organised midfield as Abdoulaye Doucoure and Etienne Capoue. Quique Sanchez Flores will deploy a narrow 4-2-2-2 formation that sits deep, absorbs pressure, and hits through the middle on the counter. In-form Gerard Deulofeu and Roberto Pereyra will drift in from the flanks to put pressure on Rodri and the centre-backs.

    Everton (a) – September 28

    Marco Silva’s side continue to drift without a clear purpose, and yet 'Big Six' matches at Goodison Park are always lively affairs as the fans tend to help conjure a more organised, upbeat performance from the players. Gylfi Sigurdsson, Richarlison, and Moise Kean could combine lớn expose Fernandinho’s lack of pace and Otamendi’s poor positioning.

    Fabien Delph has the technical skills lớn evade City’s counter-press, meaning he can help launch counter-attacks that drive at the heart of the visitors’ defence. Richarlison will no doubt play narrowly lớn trouble the back-pedalling, error-prone Otamendi, while Sigurdsson’s superb distribution can poke holes in a disorganised back four.

    Wolves (h) – October 6

    Another match in which Rodri’s presence could cause an issue, Wolves’ three-man midfield ordinarily squeezes space effectively to create low-scoring matches – although that won’t be the case unless their current run of form has ended by October.

    By this point Guardiola will have lớn rotate (“We need another solution – Rodri or Kyle [Walker] maybe because they cannot play every game at their age”), and while Wolves don’t have a particularly piercing counter-attack, City’s shake-up could cause its own problems. If they become disjointed without their usual defence or midfield, Wolves will surely take advantage; Nuno Esperito Santo’s side are excellent at sitting deep and frustrating the opposition.

    Here, the biggest threat lớn City is simply running out of steam and ending up with a dull 0-0 draw.

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