Manchester City are motoring along quite nicely in the new season as they demolished Brighton by four goals to nil last weekend. However, that win came at a significant cost as Aymeric Laporte went off with what seemed like a severe injury.
Everyone has been raving about City’s squad depth for the past few years, but one position where they cannot afford to have too many injuries is the centre back slot.
The club lost the services of Vincent Kompany this summer, and they failed to replace him with other options. John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Nicolas Otamendi are the only centre back options at the club. Stones has already suffered an injury problem, but he has started training. He could be available after the international break.
Guardiola on who can fill in at the back
With Champions League football also starting this month, Guardiola’s available options at the back could be a dilemma, and the manager recently went on to reveal how he could find a solution to that problem. Guardiola said, ”We wait, but it doesn’t look good [for Laporte]. If one day I need to put Kyle Walker as a central defender, he is going to play there. We are going to find solutions. I am sad for Leroy; I am sad for Laporte today. I am concerned, but we are going to move forward.”
Walker seems to be the candidate who could be slotted in the centre back role and new signing Joao Cancelo might get his chances to start as a right-back if required. Guardiola also indicated in his interview that Fernandinho could also be moulded to play that role after the international break.
Who can be a better option?
We think that Fernandinho should be a natural choice at centre back if it is necessary. Walker might have the pace to recover and be a decent defender, but he is often rash and prone to poor challenges. Fernandinho is more experienced, and we feel that he will be better at centre back as he reads the game well. The Brazilian is known to have that ‘Footballing IQ’ which sets him apart, and he might be able to adapt better in the heart of the defence.
Guardiola though, would hope that the likes of Stones and Otamendi remain available for most of the games. There is no return date for Laporte yet, and he could be out for months given the reaction which has come for so far from the club.