What has happened to Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City squad so far this season? Over the past 3 years, when you mention the name Manchester City, you think of a supreme club that batters others in the Premier League and in Champions League play.
Who can forget their historical 2017-18 season? 3 years ago, Manchester City scored 106 goals in the Prem and recorded 100 points on their way to lifting the title. Their following season, Guardiola and his men pulled off the quadruple. They won the Community Shield, FA Cup, League Cup and the Premier League. They won 13 consecutive matches to finish the season held off Liverpool to win the Premier League with 98 points.
As we fast forward to this season, City recently picked up 3 points as they beat Southampton 1-0. Yes, they got a positive result, but the lack of offensive firepower continued. Most people are wondering what has happened to City’s cutting edge that makes them one of the best in Europe?
The 1st place that all people visit is the defense and how’re they holding up at the back. To be honest, City have been incredible at the back. Over the past 10 games, all competitions, City has conceded only 3 goals and kept 7 clean sheets. John Stones, Aymeric Laporte and Portugal’s Rúben Dias, along with Kyle Walker and João Cancelo in the fullback positions, have solidified City’s defense. With that being said, all fingers point at City’s attack for the struggles they’ve faced this season.
With a front of Raheem Sterling, Sergio Agüero, Riyad Mahrez and Belgium international Kevin De Bruyne pulling the strings in the midfield, you wonder why they have struggled in the attack. One thing that can cause problems is not filling holes in your squad, and not finishing your chances.
Star forward Agüero suffered a knee injury. That has left a big void in City’s attack that they haven’t been able to fill. Gabriel Jesus and Ferran Torres each have had a run out in the striker position while Agüero has been out. There’s been games where Jesus and Torres have shown promise. But there’s also been games from Jesus and Torres where you can clearly see that there is a void. Trust me, it’s not easy to fill the shoes of a guy like Agüero, but there is enough talent in this squad for Manchester City to make do and see out results.
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The next point of emphasis is the hole in the midfield with David Silva’s departure. Yes, City has Phil Foden. But you don’t put all this pressure on a 20-year-old to replace one of City’s greatest midfielders ever. Not only that, but having a guy like Silva, who can always create, takes a lot of the focus off of De Bruyne. City has a simple fix to this problem: put a creator like Bernardo Silva into the midfield and go out in the summer and sign Dortmund striker Erling Haaland. Sliva’s work rate and creativity will provide a spark to the midfield. Aguero’s injuries are starting to become a concern, while Jesus has shown that he’s not ready to take over the striker role at City.
City has dominated possession in all of their games, averaging 60 percent this season. They have also been creating chances, but there hasn’t been enough of an end product. City’s squandering of chances has seen them drop points in the Premier League, where they currently sit in 7th place.
If these woes continue, this will put a muzzle on City’s chances in the Champions League as well. They are still within striking distance of the Premier League title, only 8 points off of Liverpool; City also faces Borussia Mönchengladbach in the round of 16 in the Champions League.
In order for City to stand a chance in each competition, they have to score goals. It’s that simple. The defense can only do so much.