City star becoming Mr. Reliable for Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola has built a team capable of winning any competition. But as with every football team, sometimes things get tough, really tough. It is at such times that some players rise to the challenge to make things easier for their side. Amongst the plethora of stars filing out for City, Aymeric Laporte has distinguished himself this season as Mr. Reliable for the side.
Most trusted in defence with the other defenders rotated around him especially on the big occasions, the former Athletic Club man has become Guardiola’s go-to man at the most critical times. His performance against Everton where he was on hand to break the deadlock in a game that was becoming increasingly difficult as time rolled by is testament to that.
As captain and club legend Vincent Kompany struggles with fitness issues, Laporte has been the solution Guardiola and City badly need. Although John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi have put in good performances this season as well, Laporte has been head and shoulders above the rest as far as defensive duties are concerned. But not only does he do his job at the back, he is also a potent force in attack. His contributions at crucial moments have made him a key member of the squad.
When a team has played 27 league matches and there is only one outfield player that has featured in all, there must be something unique about him. Guardiola’s rotation of players this season to keep the squad fresh as it fights for trophies on all fronts means every other outfield player has sat out some Premier League games at one point or another. Not Laporte.
He set the tone for the campaign with an equalising goal against Wolves that prevented a first loss of the season at the Molineux. Since then, he has been ever present at center back with other defenders coming in to partner him. And when there has been a need to fill in at left back due to Benjamin Mendy’s absence and for tactical reasons, he has also excelled there, even grabbing an assist in the process.
But his performance has not been limited to the Premier League. In the Champions League, he has been as instrumental to the team’s success as well. Six starts in six games and two goals to boot tell the story of a player who has become a genius addition to the squad. In the end, the Catalan manager has to take the credit for holding out for the player despite his initial reluctance to leave Athletic Bilbao for City.
Just over a year after moving to England, he looks like he has been here for a decade. He has been nothing short of an inspired signing that will be instrumental to whatever success the Sky Blues go on to achieve at the end of the season.