Thursday, March 30, 2023

Why Manchester City Need To Do This In Order To Contend For The Premier League

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Manchester City’s troubles at the back is an issue which has been thoroughly documented in footballing circles and the Premier League knows that the Sky Blues are there for the taking if they can be put under pressure. The only reason why it is probably not easy as it sounds is due to the starry attacking unit they possess which is more than capable of dismantling any team in the world if given even a little bit of space or room for movement.

But the need to adapt to a different style of football and keep up with the high expectations has proved to be difficult for the Etihad outfit. They haven’t been at their sparkling best offensively while at times they have been comical and embarrassingly poor at the back.

With Kompany unable to recover from his ailments and with John Stones taking more time to settle than anticipated, Otamendi and Kolarov have been the preferred defensive pairing in recent weeks. And that can never bode well for the team.

Kolarov has failed to re-ignite the trust of the fans ever since he riddled his displays with high-profile errors last season and he has continued that trend into this season as well. His name on the team-sheet induces groans from the supporters and that is never a good sign for the player.

Hearts v Manchester City - Pre Season Friendly

He has been trusted by Pep but it is evident that he is not a centre-back. With the number of players City commit forward in attack, a solid and an established defender is a bare minimum. With the pace of the Premier League considerably higher, the agility of a defender is also a big factor.

Pep does put special focus on his defender’s ability to pass a ball and have a certain amount of comfort on it especially under pressure, as his philosophy of playing out from the back is mainly based on this facet.

With the title race getting out of hand and the intensity of the competition increasing day by day, City needs to address the pressing issues. And their Achilles heel has always been their backline and it is something Pep tried to reinforce in the summer and as per the current situation, could do well to address in January itself.

Deals for Laporte and Bonucci broke down last summer and on cue City have been linked with the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Michael Keane since then.

It is no secret City need centre-halves and even if it means paying over the odds for the right candidate, they should make sure a deal is completed as the current backline is not capable of winning the league.

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