Manchester City; What is going wrong for Pep Guardiola’s ‘Cityzens’?

Team talk Image Credit; The Mirror

Following a draw to Slaven Bilic’s West Brom, Manchester City are now sat in 6th place currently 5 points behind league leaders Tottenham Hotspurs. Guardiola’s side are typically known for their goal threat, with their abundance of talented creative players, they’ve been struggling this season to have an impact with five wins, five draws and two defeats from their opening 12.

The poor start can be linked to the lack of goal scorers at the moment, with star man Sergio Aguero returning from his 4-month knee injury and being introduced into the squad slowly.

For Manchester City they’ve lost a striker with lots of threat going forward and especially against the opposition, averaging 0.68 goals per game, scoring 180 goals in the Premier League in 266 games proving his importance for the squad.

The lack of the goals stems from the form of Gabriel Jesus also, who has struggled to find the net only scoring twice this season and being made the main man has proved that he still needs time to develop, especially before matching similar numbers to Aguero, with the Brazilian only averaging 0.39 goals per game.

With Manchester City always looking to improve they’ll to bolster their attacking line-up, the club has already rumoured with Haaland, the Golden Boy winner of 2020, who will be a great addition to their well-established side.

Haaland would be a fantastic replacement for both Jesus and Aguero in future, with Haaland’s record of 102 goals in 143 games, scoring 33 goals in 32 games for Borussia Dortmund since joining in 2019.

Further worries should form for Manchester City with their leading top goal scorer Riyad Mahrez, only scoring four goals this season, with 3 of those goals coming against Burnley.

Due to the loss of creativity in the midfield with the loss of David Silva, with the Spanish attacking midfielder making 16 goal contributions in the 2019/20 season, improving on creative numbers from the 2018/19 season in which City won the league on record points. And although the argument could be that they’ve still got De Bruyne, it’s impossible to expect the Belgian to add a further 16 goals to his game, especially when he was involved in 33 goals last season.

Another contributing factor to Manchester City’s asserted dominance against teams like West Brom in the past would arise from the heart of the midfield, with Fernandinho being a fantastic ball winner for the ‘Cityzens’.

With their last title win back in 2018/19, the Brazilian defensive midfielder was a key component to Guardiola’s success; Fernandinho appeared 29 times and impressed with ten clean sheets and 15 goals conceded in those games. Throughout the season he also managed to pull up 41 interceptions and 57 tackles, as well as having won 77 aerial battles, leaving a massive hole for Rodrigo (Rodri) to fill when joining the squad.

When Rodri came to the Etihad Stadium being hailed as a signing to replace the then 33-year-old Fernandinho and expected to lift City to new heights domestically and in Europe, but has been far from that so far with the club only winning a league cup since joining.

Since joining Manchester City from Atletico Madrid for £55 million at age 22, he has yet to match the similar numbers from Fernandinho. In his debut season 2019/20 he managed only 26 interceptions and 43 fouls, recording eight yellow cards in those games. And despite achieving more clean sheets than Fernandinho with 12 the side managed to concede 27 goals in his 35 appearances, further proving how significant Fernandinho has been at his best.

Guardiola’s team has also seen weakness in the defence with the loss of Vincent Kompany in the 2018/19 season it became clear that the expertise of the Belgian centre back influenced the team’s defensive mentality. The consistency of the back four hasn’t been the same since the former captain left the club after gain another Premier League title, with City already spending £120 million on both Dias and Ake it shows what an influence he was.

To further add to the loss of Kompany, it has taken an impact on the goals conceded by Manchester City, with Guardiola’s team already let in half the amount of goals they had in the 2018/19 season, already conceding 12 goals in 12 games. The replacements have been decent at times but haven’t been able to match the level of Kompany, and with the injuries of Laporte only playing 19 Premier League games in the last two seasons has meant that there has been a lack of consistency in the back 4 with constant rotation.