After two weeks of the international break, Manchester City met Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park resuming their Premier League campaign. Just before the break, City dropped points at home after losing to Wolves extending Liverpool’s lead in the league to eight points. Considering the fine margins by which the previous season’s league campaign was fought with Liverpool, it was important for City to respond and catch up immediately to retain their title for a third time.
Following this game against Crystal Palace, City would have to play Atalanta in the Champions League just two days after. Thus City’s tactics were to find three points from this fixture without risking injuries, at the same time saving key players for the mid-week UCL clash. But as we shall see in this analysis, City were pushed to defend constantly from a threatening Palace side. Let’s examine how both teams worked their tactics out in this tactical analysis.
City’s central defender crisis has forced Pep Guardiola to think outside the box. Aymeric Laporte’s injury required Nicolas Otamendi to step in for the previous games but he has had lapses in his game costing City goals on counter-attacks. John Stones is only just making it back from his injury. Fernandinho has slotted in as a centreback from the regular defensive midfielder role he had last season. Although Pep had mentioned in press conferences that the new signing from Atletico Madrid, Rodri, is capable of playing as a centreback, he hadn’t been tested yet.
In this game, City lined up in a 4-3-3 with the centre-back partnership of two defensive midfielders, Rodri and Fernandinho. İlkay Gündoğan played the pivot in front of them. Benjamin Mendy and Joao Cancelo were selected to operate as fullbacks who would attack the inner corridors. David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne were the two attacking midfielders and they orchestrated the attack along with Gabriel Jesus as the centre forward and Raheem Sterling and Bernardo Silva on the wings.
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