Sunday, October 2, 2022

Manchester City Defender Suffers Injury While On International Duty: Big Blow For Guardiola?

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Abhinab Ghosh
A 26-year-old sports writer and an aspiring football coach who has road-tripped across the Scottish Highlands, but has never been to Wales. Sucker for cliff-hangers and catchy riffs. Known to be a grunger and not to be a stranger.

Manchester City have confirmed on their official website that Nathan Ake has suffered an injury while on international duty with the Netherlands national team. Manchester Evening News has revealed his injury to be a hamstring problem which could see him miss out on a few matches when the Premier League resumes after the international break.

Ake’s Lacklustre Start To Life At The Etihad Stadium

The Den Haag-born defensive ace has been a sporadic presence in Pep Guardiola’s first-team since arriving from Bournemouth earlier this year. He has featured in six matches for Man City this term, scoring one goal in the process across various competitions.

Ake has struggled to perform at top gear while operating at the centre of Guardiola’s backline as he is only averaging 0.5 tackles, 0.5 interceptions and 0.8 clearances per game in the Premier League this season. However, the Dutch centre-half has also distributed possession immaculately out from the back as evidenced by his pass completion rate of 93.7% in the English first division (stats via whoscored).

Based on his recent contributions, the 25-year-old’s injury absence shouldn’t affect Guardiola’s first-team plans too much in the coming weeks. Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte remain Man City’s first-choice defenders while John Stones and Eric Garcia are on stand-by as the rotational pieces in their defensive department.

Manchester City's Nathan Ake suffers hamstring injury (Ake is seen in the picture)
Manchester City’s Dutch defender Nathan Ake during the English Premier League football match between Manchester City and Leicester City at the Etihad Stadium in Manchester, north-west England, on September 27, 2020. (Photo by MARTIN RICKETT/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

What Are The Dutch International’s Best Attributes?

Ake has got a great leap in him and can use his strength to outmuscle the opposition, which helps him to win a few headers inside his half. He tends to read the danger quickly and can make some important clearances at the back.

However, the talented defender has failed to perform at a high level for his current employers this season which is a cause for concern and explains why Guardiola has demoted him to the bench. The 12-time Dutch international is a composed presence on the ball and can retain possession well for his team.

Ake Suffers A Hamstring Injury: Huge Blow For Man City?

As mentioned earlier, Guardiola has enough depth in his squad to cope with Ake’s injury absence. Hence, the Dutch centre-half’s unavailability won’t be a big blow for the Mancunian giants as long as he isn’t out for too long.

Ake’s main goal now should be to recover over the next few weeks and stake a claim for a regular first-team place during the busy winter months when the matches come thick and fast in Premier League football. There is still a long way to go in this campaign, so Ake can still expect to get some chances to prove his true worth and become a fan-favourite at the Etihad Stadium.

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