No one can reasonably argue with the impact manager Pep Guardiola has made on Manchester City in the last two years.
The Catalan has been one of the best things that happened to the club in recent times. After achieving tremendous success at Barcelona and replicating the same success at Bayern Munich, nothing less was expected of his time at the Etihad Stadium.
So far, other than continuous capitulation in the Champions League, his stay in Manchester has been hugely rewarding.
However, Manchester City is struggling to maintain the high standards set in the last two campaigns. That’s normal in a way, as a change of several factors can affect any team and therefore performance.
There are other examples of this around world football.
Real Madrid collapsed last season after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure. Atletico Madrid are struggling this term due to a squad overhaul. Manchester United are still carrying out a rebuilding job after Alex Ferguson’s retirement. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has turned to youth to build a new team. But it has been a difficult time for the club.
Injuries and mistakes have dealt usually high-flying Manchester City a huge blow this season, leading to negative results. It’s at such times that tough decisions have to be taken to remedy the situation.
Guardiola is a smart manager. His success in the game is proof of that. But since he left Barcelona, success in the Champions League has eluded him. He may need to think outside of the box to finally crack the code. He has new problems at City
The team desperately needs a center-back. Aymeric Laporte is sidelined until February. Even when the Frenchman returns, he will need some time to get back to his best. John Stones is rarely fit. Nicolas Otamendi is out of form.
The two teams ahead of City in the title race have solid defences. Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu are the best central defenders in the division at the moment. It’s not a coincidence that both teams are fighting for the title.
Man City paraded Vincent Kompany and Laporte last term. Their absence this time around is the root cause of our problems.
Earlier in the season he stated that he will do fine with the players at his disposal. Things have taken a dramatic turn for the worst in the league. City is losing ground to rivals as a result of weakness in a particular position. It’s time for the manager to make a turnaround in his position too.
For some City supporters sympathetic to the gaffer’s position, the argument has been that there are no quality players out there in January. Truth is, there are if you really want them. Laporte joined City in January. Van Dijk joined Liverpool in January. Surely, Man City can get a center-back in January (even from the Premier League) if the club really wants one. Aston Villa’s Tyrone Mings and Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake are just a few examples.
With the club still competing on several fronts, squad depth has become as important as ever. Guardiola will do well to reconsider his stance to salvage what is left of the campaign for the club.