Going fast is good

Will Aymeric Laporte injury cost Manchester City dear? Why Pep Guardiola’s gamble could backfire

The scale of Manchester City’s defensive woes were laid bare as Norwich stunned them at his disposal – and several other options in Carrow Road, it may cost Pep Guardiola dear at the title race.
John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi had difficulty games in the 3-2 defeat, but Guardiola has made his own bed by picking against replacing Vincent Kompany in the summer, as well as Aymeric Laporte injured long-term, today appears stuck using a partnership he’s never favoured before the January transfer window at least.
He has done his very best to steer clear of pairing the two. For they were started by Guardiola together only three times in the entire of last year. They don’t seem a mix, particularly against a Liverpool side in this kind of mood. “Maybe we will think about [another guardian ] in December, maybe,” Guardiola said on Friday, before the Norwich match. That is fast getting a definitely.
Even though Liverpool lose five points between today and January 1, that is far from ensured (they’ve only dropped half of their past 19 matches ), City would need to be perfect to even draw degree. They seemed a million miles from that against Norwich.
The men of guardiola could have half a year to put themselves back on course, if they arrived back last year it was not against a side on a winning streak, although clearly.
Against Norwich, Stones and also Otamendi’s cumbersome duo were uncertain out and uneasy in possession of it, that nervousness appeared to disperse upon the rest of their back line too, and the antithesis of this Guardiola defence we have become accustomed to.
Norwich has to be perfect, was that the message before the game. No requirement though before trying to tap in, , for the second of Norwich, Stones tried and failed to perform Teemu Pukki offside, permitting him a clear run on goal.
Neither when, for their third party, Stones’ unhelpful move across his box located Otamendi, seemingly unaware he’d be closed down by Emi Buendia, robbed of their ball and a simple finish set up Pukki to poke house.
“That second goal shows how much they are going to miss Aymeric Laporte,” Jamie Redknapp advised Saturday Night Football. “He is vital to this group and the chemistry between the two centre-backs, John Stones along with Nicolas Otamendi, isn’t there.
“They had been all over the place for the second target and summed up their entire performance. Together with Laporte, they appear to have that stability. It’s obvious to everybody that Stones and Otamendi do not appear to be a real partnership.”
Guardiola remained normally defiant. “I’m not worried,” he told Sky Sports after full time. He is not likely to throw defender below the bus, especially if he wants them more than he’d enjoy, but how City determine another three weeks will be a significant concern due to their boss whose actions have spoken louder than their words.
We’ve seen these lapses in focus from Otamendi and Stones earlier, especially in football in the debut season of Guardiola. The next would swing shambolic and moment with regularity that is consummate, with them together. They did boost under his wing with a different summertime but Pep felt the # 57m inclusion of Laporte contains just reliable them to start together in eight league matches in the 20 weeks, and was mandatory in January 2018.
But now it is back to square one. Laporte hurt, Kompany gone, Harry Maguire, who Guardiola confessed he had courted in the summertime , playing with his soccer later on.
“We could not manage him” was the official line in the Etihad if Maguire joined Manchester United for #80m, soon afterwards City had signed Rodri out of Atletico Madrid for #62m. Had they been worried about replacement Kompany, they may have held their horses.
Why City prioritised a Fernandinho replacement above a centre-back, a location where they were dangerously short isn’t certain. However he has made his feelings regarding the pairing clear that his palms really were or so the team is pleased to rely on Fernandinho to play in again, regardless of the fact. Even Kyle Walker, who had a time in centre-back at a back three throughout the past year’s World Cup, has been mooted.
“We didn’t expect the injury and in more than three years collectively John and Nicolas have performed and thanks to them we’ve won,” additional Guardiola within his post-match interview.
“Laporte is wounded and Kompany is presently in Anderlecht, so we cannot just analyse it off one match. We will need to improve on that and hopefully we can do better”
He is right of course. It’s only one game. But when injury struck if it comes down to whether City were willing to risk spending money on the other guardian, or risk losing their Premier League crown , then they may already be needing they made a option that is different.
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