Man City’s defensive vulnerabilities discussed on Sunday Supplement after Norwich shock

21/11/2019

Manchester City issues come under the spotlight following a 3-2 defeat at Norwich.
Pep Guardiola’s side were chaotic without the wounded Aymeric Laporte and were penalized when Todd Cantwell and Kenny McLean sent Norwich.
Sergio Aguero changed the half-time complexion when he glanced at Bernardo Silva’s cross moments before the interval, but it was still another defensive lapse saw that Emi Buendia rob Nicolas Otamendi on the edge of the City box before squaring for Teemu Pukki to score the goal which ultimately saw Norwich hold on for victory.
Speaking on Sunday Supplement, The Daily Telegraph’s Jason Burt, Miguel Delaney of The Independent and ESPN’s Natalie Gedra analysed City’s defensive problems…
Burt:”The significant problem is the defence. I think Vincent Kompany and the injury of Laporte has been key. You look at John and Otamendi Stones’ blend, it will not do the job.
“You look at it and you think of the riches of the group, how powerful it is all over he pitch. There’s one place where there is a problem that is large and that I think what is interesting is that clubs will appear at what Norwich failed and think that is the best way to really go at them be quite competitive on your assaulting. The intent was there to have a go at Manchester City.
“In the past few years specifically some groups have played City and thought that this is damage limitation – let us just try and get out from there using the tiniest defeat we could get.
“Now teams know there are vulnerabilities in this group which we’re able to exploit. That’s the challenge for Guardiola to deal with because defensively they were quite poor.”
Burt:”The way that City play with the center of defence will be an issue for them moving forward. That combination of Otamendi and Stones does not function as a set, and that is going to become a real issue.
“They are not going to modify their way of playing and going forward that will be the biggest issue. I’m surprised Otamendi remained at the club. With Kompany going perhaps they believed they needed to keep him centre-half. But I has been amazed they didn’t bring in somebody else as option along with Laporte and felt he had gone by date together with Manchester City.
“Stones has had his difficulties concerning the mistakes he has been producing and that he hasn’t been too convincing. Clearly it was very intriguing year that Kompany and a great deal of games played with and he was needed by them.
“The mix of these 2 means there is not a leader. Nobody taking control of it and also is marshalling the defence. I don’t think he is strong enough to do this as a personality although it should be Otamendi. John Stones are liked by me, I enjoy him as a player. You will find issue however he is a very great player. He needs somebody together with him who’s going to marshal that defence. He’s not going to be the person.”
Delaney:”Among the undercurrents ahead of the season was whether Liverpool will be able to sustain the same amount they achieved last year. The anticipation was they would shed, not City.
“People expected that from City last season following the 100 points. Whether that is the drop off that comes from program.
“Among those things that was said following the treble was that they were knackered, the mental effort necessary to win these three trophies – and I suppose you can bring from the European effort also – was a whole lot. The players wish to stay at exactly the exact identical level but emotionally almost they can not. It is only taken too much of a toll.”
Gedra:”Everybody else is discussing City’s defence. I think see City over the last few seasons have managed to find solutions and we have to quit looking at the people. And I think that’s what they are going to do with this matter.
“You might believe that Stones and Otamendi are not playing like Otamendi and Laporte or Kompany and Laporte were, however Laporte is hurt so that is it. Because he had been the most consistent defender for City Obviously it has a large effect in the way they shield and build up.
“But City always manage to find excellent solutions. They played for the most aspect of last year Kevin de Bruyne and he turned into the key part of the attacking game. So today I truly think that they will find defensive alternatives looking at the collective.”
Burt:”Guardiola’s have a huge problem and he must get a fast solution. It might well be that it’s moving Fernandinho back into the defence, which I think they have been doing in practice and trialling a small bit.”
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