Does Guardiola stick to his word?
Pep Guardiola made clear with his treatment of Aymeric Laporte that if players made mistakes they would be removed from the XI.
The Frenchman erred against Tottenham in November and still hasn’t really won back his place in the Premier League because John Stones and Ruben Dias haven’t messed up.
That is the standard of competition that propelled Manchester City to their 21-game run, the knowledge every player had that if they didn’t perform one of their teammates was waiting to take their place.
For the first time in a while, there are clear candidates to lose their place from the side based on the performance in the derby: Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, Gabriel Jesus and Joao Cancelo were all culpable; Kyle Walker, Phil Foden, and Bernardo Silva are all in excellent form, while Sergio Aguero and Ferran Torres have been patiently waiting for an opportunity.
At the same time, Guardiola would prefer to make statements from a position of strength rather than reacting to a defeat so may rather trust those who erred to respond in the way he wants.
The teamsheet will certainly be more of a talking point than it has been for a very long time.
Response of champions
Guardiola has been waiting for his side to lose to see what their reaction will be.
One thing City have excelled at with the Catalan in charge is bouncing back from defeats and setbacks, not letting disappointment derail their wider goal.
That has to be the order of the day against Southampton, who have recovered from a major mid-season blip but are still not in great form.
Southampton was the first of City’s 21-match winning run back in December and this fixture needs to be the start of another run if the Blues are to recover their poise and reiterate that they are better than every other side in the division.
Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles
Box to box
City’s problems against United were familiar issues that have particularly haunted them in knockout competitions: they gifted their opposition an ideal chance to score by needlessly giving away a penalty, and then not only failed to create enough quality chances with the possession that they had but didn’t take the few opportunities they could muster.
That will be in Guardiola’s head as City move towards the business end of the season, particularly the Champions League. He will be looking for his players to show that Sunday was a blip in an outstanding campaign rather than the reappearance of an old issue.
Countdown to the title
As the manager pointed out after the derby defeat, seven wins from their final ten games will give them the title no matter what anybody else manages to achieve in that time.
While talk of records has been nice, these are the numbers that count the most.
Read More
Related Articles
Read More
Related Articles

You may also like