Manchester City, as the defending Premier League champion, has lost their last 2 matches. These defeats came from Newcastle in the EFL Cup or Carabao Cup and from Wolverhampton in the Premier League as well as ending Manchester City’s perfect record in the league.
What’s Happening With Manchester City? Manchester City, who won the treble last season, started the season very convincingly. Unbeaten in their first 6 matches. This record was finally broken surprisingly by Wolverhampton in Week 7 of the Premier League when City were beaten 2-1. This defeat also means City is now only 1 point away from Arsenal and Tottenham, who each managed to pick 17 points from 5 wins and 2 draws.
The defeat in Manchester City’s last 2 matches was inseparable from the loss of 2 main midfielders. The first figure is Kevin De Bruyne who has been the team’s main playmaker in the last few seasons. De Bruyne has been suffering from an injury since 12 August 2023 and this has made Manchester City lose creativity and attacking power from the midfield considering that De Bruyne is the team’s biggest assist contributor and is often the deadlock breaker in several crucial matches. Unfortunately, Kevin De Bruyne’s injury is very serious and he is expected to be sidelined for up to 4 months.
The second name is Rodri. Rodri was unable to appear for the team due to the direct red card he received in the match against Nottingham Forest, so it was stated that he had to undergo sanctions until 8 October. The loss of Rodri also hampered the flow of the ball from the back line. At Manchester City, Rodri not only plays the role of a defensive midfielder who breaks up the opponent’s attacks, but also channels the ball from his own playing area/from the defense line to the front line. Rodri is also tasked with maintaining balance between lines. This role was so crucial that the player drawn to cover Rodri, Kalvin Phillips, didn’t get the chance to show off at all.
In fact, there is another figure who was quite crucial in achieving the treble last season who is still struggling with injury. He is a central defender from England, namely John Stones. Stones has a crucial role in the transformation of Manchester City’s strategy when the team nicknamed The Citizens wins the treble in the 2022/23 season. Stones became a defender who was transformed into a midfielder thanks to his good ball distribution abilities. Guardiola also played a 4-3-3 formation which was transformed into a 3-2-4-1 where John Stones would collaborate with Rodri to maintain the balance of Manchester City’s midfield. This balance is what led City to appear dominant, especially in the second half of the season.
In the midst of the storm of injuries experienced by Manchester City’s midfield, 1 player emerged who emerged as a hope in this Manchester City team. The name is Julian Alvarez. This striker from Argentina started as an attacking midfielder to replace the injured Kevin De Bruyne. This trust was paid very well by the player. Alvarez has proven capable of carrying out his role as the team’s playmaker very well. Julian Alvarez has so far scored 3 goals and 4 assists which proves that he is still capable of appearing sharp in this position.
Julian Alvarez has indeed proven his abilities since the 2022/23 season. In his first season in the Manchester City uniform, Julian Alvarez often appeared from the bench and became a supersub who gave the team victory. Even when appearing as a starter, Alvarez also often plays a role in scoring goals.
This season, Julian Alvarez’s role is not just appearing as an attacker. With Kevin De Bruyne’s injury, Guardiola transformed this player into an attacking midfielder. It’s not just one player who has been transformed. City’s formation was changed to 4-2-3-1 to accommodate the presence of Julian Alvarez and Erling Haaland.
Erling Haaland is still proving that he still deserves to fill Manchester City’s starting 11 with his contribution of 8 goals in the Premier League which makes Haaland the current top scorer in the Premier League. However, one thing you have to be wary of is that opponents already know Haaland’s threat, so there is a big chance that Haaland will receive tighter guard from the opponent so that Haaland’s goal contribution could drop slightly compared to last season.
Manchester City actually still has many fantastic players in all areas. However, the presence of Kevin De Bruyne, Rodri and John Stones is quite crucial in the team. Rodri, in particular, is a player who is very difficult to replace in the team. This is clearly a challenge for Guardiola to train midfielders
Ah, who is in the team so that he can at least cover Rodri if the Spaniard is absent due to a red card or injury. A tough challenge awaits Manchester City in Week 8 of the Premier League. Without Rodri, Manchester City will have to face Arsenal, who have yet to suffer a single defeat in the Premier League. Arsenal also came with great motivation because a victory against The Citizens would take them to the top of the standings. This match against Arsenal will certainly be at least one of Manchester City’s biggest challenges this season.