Manchester City woes’ scale were laid bare as Norwich stunned them at Carrow Road – and also several other options at his disposal, it could cost Pep Guardiola dear.
John Stones along with Nicolas Otamendi had trouble games at the 3-2 defeat, but Guardiola has made his own bed by deciding against replacing Vincent Kompany in the summertime, and with Aymeric Laporte hurt long-term, today appears stuck with a partnership he has never favoured before the January transfer window .
He has long done his very best to steer clear of pairing the two together. For Guardiola began them together 3 times in the entire of last year. They do not look a mix, particularly against a Liverpool side. “Perhaps we’ll consider [another guardian ] at December, maybe,” Guardiola said on Friday, ahead of the Norwich match. That maybe is fast getting a definitely.
Even though Liverpool drop five points between now and January 1, that is far from guaranteed (they have only dropped six in their last 19 matches ), City would need to be perfect to even draw level. They looked a million miles.
The men of guardiola would have half a season to get themselves back on course, when they came back from the brink last year it wasn’t from a Liverpool side on a 14-game winning series, although obviously.
Against Norwich, the awkward duo of Stones and also Otamendi were uncomfortable in uncertain and possession out of this, that nervousness appeared to spread across the rest of their line too, and the antithesis of the Guardiola defence we’ve become accustomed to.
Norwich has to be perfect, was that the message prior to the game. No need though before trying to tap in, when, for the second of Norwich, Stones attempted and failed to perform with Teemu Pukki offside, allowing him a clear run on goal.
Sometime after, due to their third, Stones’ move across his own box found Otamendi, apparently unaware he’d be closed down by Emi Buendia, robbed of the ball and a easy finish setup Pukki to poke house.
“That second target demonstrates how much they are going to overlook Aymeric Laporte,” Jamie Redknapp advised Saturday Night Football. “He is very important to this group and the chemistry between the two centre-backs, John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi, isn’t there.
“They have been all around the location for the next target and summed up their whole performance. With Laporte, they seem to have this stability. It is obvious to everybody who Stones and Otamendi don’t look like a true partnership.”
Guardiola remained normally defiant. “I’m not worried,” he told Sky Sports after full time. He’s not going to throw defender under the bus, especially when he needs them more than he’d like, however City see out another 3 weeks are going to be a major concern due to their boss whose actions have spoken louder than his words.
We have seen these lapses in concentration in Otamendi and Stones earlier, notably at the debut season of Guardiola in football. Another would swing shambolic and polished one minute with regularity that is consummate, with them collectively. They did improve under his wing with a different summer , but Pep still felt that the # 57m inclusion of Laporte has just trusted them to start together in eight league games in the 20 weeks since, and was required in January 2018.
But now it’s back to square one. Laporte injured, Kompany gone, Harry Maguire, who Guardiola confessed he had courted in the summertime , playing with his football down the road.
“We could not afford him” was the official line in the Etihad if Maguire joined Manchester United for #80m, soon after City had signed Rodri from Atletico Madrid for #62m. Had they been concerned about replacing Kompany, they may have held their horses.
A location where they had been dangerously short on numbers, isn’t certain City prioritised a Fernandinho replacement over a centre-back. However he’s made his feelings about the current pairing apparent the club is happy to rely on Fernandinho to slot in again, or that either his hands actually were tied, regardless of the fact he has not started back-to-back league matches. Much Kyle Walker, who had a time in centre-back in a back three during the past year’s World Cup, was mooted.
“We did not anticipate the harm and in over three decades together John and Nicolas have performed together, and thanks to them we have won,” added Guardiola in his post-match interview.
“Laporte is injured and Kompany is currently in Anderlecht, so we can’t simply analyse it off one game. We will need to improve on this and hopefully we can do better.”
He’s right of course. It’s only one game. But if it comes down to whether City were prepared to risk spending money or risk losing their Premier League crown when trauma struck, they then may be wishing they made a choice that is different.
The Premier League is back and you can watch more games than ever before on Sky Sports. We are going to show 128 Premier League games only live – and have the first choice of matches every weekend.
We’ve Got fresh Saturday Night Football slots, together with all games each weekend in 5.30pm, and Friday Night Football, Super Sunday and Monday Night Football.
Plus, you’ll be able to watch Premier League highlights after the full time whistle on app and the Sky Sports website – .
As well as all that wonderful live actions, we’ll also bring you Saturday Social (9.30am, Saturdays), Soccer AM (10.30am, Saturdays), Soccer Saturday (12pm, Saturdays), Sunday Supplement (10am, Sundays), Goals on Sunday (11.30am, Sundays) and The Debate (weeknights) for the ideal reaction and analysis.
Read more: https://www.pical.it/bad-beats-big-wins/