One would have expected Manchester City to start this season with all the fight there is as the defending champion of the Premier League, but injuries, among some other factors, have affected the club’s form this season seeing them drop points in a couple of matches.
One of such matches is their most recent game with their arch-rival, Liverpool, who is currently first in the Premier League table and nine points ahead of City, and eight points ahead of Leicester City and Chelsea who occupy second and third position respectively.
Let’s take a look at the things that have really affected Manchester City this season.
Uncertainty in the left-back
For everyone who has been watching City closely this season, we will all agree there is uncertainty in their left-back position.
Angelino’s unexpected promotion had been a surprise and had made it the sixth left-back for City to play at Anfield in six games. Others like Gael Clichy, Aleksandar Kolarov, Fabian Delph, Aymeric Laporte, Benjamin Mendy and now Angelino continue to play the role in a trial and error effort to fill in the position and adequately handle things there but it doesn’t seem to be working like Pep Guardiola wants just yet.
It’s needless to say the list above doesn’t include the player who emerged as first-choice left-back towards the end of last season, Aleks Zinchenko.
The only reason Benjamin Mendy would have been left out is obviously that he is not trusted to hold that position as he should in the match against Liverpool but then again, the question of whether Angelino was the best option keeps popping up. Truly, the 22-year-old is an obvious threat going forward but he was exposed defensively.
If the case was truly because Pep Guardiola did not trust Benjamin Mendy enough in that position – it seems most likely that was the case here – then it might be best if we sign a new left-back when the transfer window resumes in January.
Although, Angelino is a solid back-up but we need someone who can function well and be consistent at it.
Key players injured
City have had it rough this season. Yes, injuries are one of the hazards of the game and managers should prepare their teams ahead of it. Guardiola has been dealt with huge injury blows one after the other mainly with players from his defence.
Aymeric Laporte, John Stones, Rodri and Leroy Sane are some of the key players in the Manchester City squad who has been affected by injuries and unable to play well this season.
With apparent lack of replacements that can fill in the space left by the injuries, Pep Guardiola has been left to improvise. Fernandinho has been made to play in the defence and we have seen on a couple of occasions how much that doesn’t work well for the team.
Again, the clear solution to this will be to bring in reinforcements in January to fill the void left by the injured players.
Some weeks ago, Manchester City still seemed to have the title race and the issues that prevented it from defending their title under control but as it is now, the league title looks to be slipping out of the Cityzen’s hands.
They are currently fourth in the Premier League table with Leicester City and Chelsea ahead of them and not showing any sign of slipping. It will definitely be tough for Manchester City to get back in the race with other clubs giving them a run for their money.