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Football News: Team Review - Manchester City

Team Review - Manchester City
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Team Review - Manchester City

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League Position: 1st

 

Goalkeepers:

Ederson
Zack Steffen

It does seem these days that teams can no longer run with just two keepers, so they will need to look for an experienced third choice who can help with coaching duties as well. Last season they had Scott Carson on loan, who has now been released by his parent club, so perhaps a return on a permanent deal would be the best option. Other than that, they are well set in this department, with two goalkeepers who are well suited to the way Guardiola plays. Though they could upgrade on either, in terms of overall goalkeeping ability, there are very few, if any, goalkeepers that would be able to match Ederson's fit into the City way of playing.

 


Defenders:

Ruben Dias
Aymeric Laporte
Nathan Ake
John Stones
Eric Garcia (leaving to Barcelona on a free)
Philippe Sandler
Oleksandr Zinchenko
Benjamin Mendy
Joao Cancelo
Kyle Walker

Overall an extremely strong defensive group, with plenty of cover and the quality of Dias and Laporte to build around. However there are worries over Cancelo, who seems to be very in and out of the side due to injuries and they really lack a quality specialist left-back. Mendy is their only real left-back and he is simply nowhere near good enough for a team that is trying to compete at the top end of European football. Zinchenko, Ake and Cancelo are fine as cover/rotation options, but none are good enough to take the first choice spot. It is one of the few weaknesses, in the Citeh squad.

 

Midfielders:

Rodri
Fernandinho (released)
Ilkay Gundogan
Kevin De Bruyne
Bernardo Silva

They look sparsely populated in midfield, but the way they play means that they flood the midfield with forward and defenders, so they do not need lots of out-and-out midfielders. It will be interesting to see how they go about replacing Fernandinho, not so much his play, though they will miss his witchery on referees that allows him to make knee high assaults and only get a finger wagging, but his leadership. The main leaders of the original group have now all left and it will be up to the likes of Dias and De Bruyne to step up. If they do not replace him like-for-like, they will be unable to play the system they used this season, with two sitting midfielder, every games. I can only imagine Guardiola will be seeing this area of the pitch as the priority.

 


Forwards:

Raheem Sterling
Phil Foden
Jack Harrison
Ferran Torres
Riyad Mahrez
Patrick Roberts
Gabriel Jesus
Sergio Aguero (gone to Barcelona)

There are a few players here that are far from good enough and the loss of Aguero, despite his injury problems, could cause a few problems. There is no way that Jesus should even be near a starting berth in City's side, so they will have to find someone to centre their attacking play around. Torres has performed well when asked to cover there, but is he really the long term answer? The other big question is Harrison, clearly Roberts just needs to be offloaded as nowhere near good enough, but Harrison has shown the workrate and, at times, the ability to give Pep a decision to make.

 


Manager: Pep Guardiola

Once again Guardiola managed to get his team to stroll through the league but throws away Champions League glory by trying to be clever. Ever since he made a change with Barcelona to use Messi as a false 9 he has believed his own hype about being a tactical genius. Sadly it is not true. A brilliant coach, without doubt, but his tinkering and meddling with tactics that are working week after week have cost him time and again in the big games. Pep's high-intensity coaching methods are excellent at getting his players to play a system, but it takes time to coach that system into them and for them to understand it. These one-off changes to try and catch an opponent off-guard do not give his own players a chance to really understand what is being asked of them.

 


Conclusion:

They will once again be in the title race, their squad is immensely strong, clearly the strongest in the Premier League. While they will always score goals from all areas of the team, without Aguero you do have to wonder who will come up with that last-ditch goal when the pressure is being piled on. There were a few tight games last season, while Aguero was out injured, that turned into defeats without him. When things are not going their way, they really lack a top class goalgetter who can pop up out of nowhere and slide in to make a 2 yard tap-in. The other big question to be resolved is with regards to Guardiola. He has never stayed in one place this long before, always claiming the players were no longer responding to his methods on leaving. Has Pep sorted that out now by refining his methods? City fans will certainly hope he has.

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Written by Tris Burke June 17 2021 14:09:40