Will January additions ease Man City’s defensive crisis?

As soon as Aymeric Laporte hobbled off injured during Manchester City’s 4-0 home win over Brighton in late August projections were made over how it would affect the defending Premier League champions. Amid all the doom and gloom, nobody expected that Laporte’s absence would be so costly.

Only eight games of the 2019/20 Premier League season have been played, but Liverpool already hold an eight point lead over Pep Guardiola’s side. City have suffered collapses against Norwich City and Wolves with their defence especially vulnerable following the injury to John Stones.

Guardiola has so far failed to find a suitable solution to ease Man City’s problems at the back. The Catalan has used Fernandinho as a centre back in Laporte and Stones’ absence. This is designed to keep the link between City’s defence and midfield intact, with the Brazilian key to bringing the ball out from the back.

However, Fernandinho isn’t a defender and that has been obvious in the games he has played at centre back. And so talk has started over who City could target in the January transfer window. The Etihad Stadium outfit might spend their way out of trouble.

Ruben Dias has most recently been linked with a move to the Premier League champions. This isn’t the first time that the Benfica defender has been linked with a move to England, with Manchester United also reported to be interested in the Portuguese international. He would be a shrewd addition for either team.

Guardiola does have a centre back that he has only used off the bench during this injury crisis. Eric Garcia is highly rated as a young defender, but the Man City boss has so far been overlooked in favour of square pegs in round holes. Another expensive signing like Dias would only underline how Guardiola hasn’t yet held up his end of the bargain as an advocate of youth.

However, it’s true that City needed a new centre back before the injuries to Laporte and Stones even hit. Vincent Kompany left them short of options in defence, leaving the Etihad Stadium for Anderlecht. Nicolas Otamendi isn’t a player Man City can depend on, as has been demonstrated over the past few weeks. Rather than fixing new problems, the signing of someone like Dias would patch things up that date back to the summer.

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Etihad Stadium’s Expansion: Worth it or Futile?

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etihad_stadium09English giants Manchester City have gone from strength to strength since 2008 when the club was acquired by billionaire Sheikh Mansoor with the constant struggle in the initial years’ largely forgotten by the supporters. The same opponents who deemed the prospect of acquiring 3 points against the Citizens as nothing short of a cakewalk earlier now shiver in fear at the prospect of battling it out against Pep Guardiola’s outfit.

This has been largely possible due to the finances pumped in at regular intervals by the owners who have ensured a regular flow of finances through thick and thin. At the same time, there have been astute investments at play as well especially in the transfer market. Manchester City opted to invest in quality acquisitions like Sergio Aguero, David Silva, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany during a stage when clubs were increasingly orthodox when it came to pulling off transfer deals with the benefits increasingly evident currently.

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Leroy Sane: the Erratic Genius

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Football has emerged as an extremely lucrative career path over the years with the steady commercialisation of the game. Some of the best footballers ever- Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez, Franck Ribery, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Luka Modric hailed from poverty-stricken families before steadily rising up the ladder, enthralling the world with their brilliance. Such examples have been cited as an immense source of motivation by emerging footballers like Gabriel Jesus who confessed to drawing inspiration from superstar Ronaldinho’s meteoric growth over the years.

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John Stones: the next Kompany?

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2024703-1170x658While it is hardly a surprise these days to see defenders like Harry Maguire command reported bids worth £100million following noteworthy performances in the world cup, it was hardly the case till recently. Clubs were increasingly hesitant when expected to indulge in big-money deals for defenders who did not enjoy a proven track record with a largely orthodox approach at play.

At the same time, they were more than happy to invest a lion’s share of their finances behind attacking recruits who were considered safe investments in comparison. The underlying belief rested on the misconception that the acquisition of quality attackers had the ability to determine the overall fortunes in the long run, considering their commercial value with the defensive department deemed expendable in nature.

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Is Fernandinho in the mould of Patrick Vieira?

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870529256Every football fan worth his salt will be well aware of the significant development that Arsene Wenger’s Invincibles played a key role towards heralding in modern day football. While modern-day football fans were quick to criticise the Frenchman for even the smallest of things during the last few years of his tenure, the game owes much of its current sheen to the exhilarating gameplay which Wenger encouraged despite resistance from the traditionalists.

In the 2003-04 season, Arsenal gave the footballing world a true glimpse into a team which was built on the back of a solid foundation with the defenders more than capable of snuffing out any attack and attackers who could conjure moments of brilliance singlehandedly. The side went on to finish unbeaten in the league throughout the season, emerging as the first outfit to threaten Manchester United’s hegemony.

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Gareth Southgate’s management a huge contributor to England’s optimism

southgateWhen England crashed out of the 2018 World Cup at the semi-final stage, losing 2-1 to Croatia after extra time, a nation was silenced. The England fans, so vociferous in their support for the Three Lions on the shirt and the 11 heroic ones on the pitch, were left gutted. For this one glimmering summer, the optimism seemingly extinguished long ago started to flicker back into existence. Football was coming home, they thought. But it didn’t. However, instead of the usual what-ifs and why-didn’t-theys, this time the team left with their heads held high, falling against a side who, once they grew into the match, were simply the better team on the night.

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Jordan Pickford wins the hearts of England

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When England secured a place in their first World Cup semi-final in 28 years, the nation celebrated – naturally. The Three Lions are a team capable of ramping up the patriotism and yet disappointing when a major tournament rolls around. During this World Cup, however, they have done exactly what has been expected of them, and now only Croatia stand between them and a first World Cup final in 52 years. Social media has been abuzz for the last few weeks, fans all over the world claiming that football is indeed finally coming home, 22 years after it was predicted to do so by Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and Lightning Seeds. That hasn’t been the only internet meme to go viral though, as a string of tweets about a certain player has excited the nation once again.

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Did England Really Try To Beat Belgium?

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Normally, when a third match in the group stages of the World Cup is set to decide who wins the group, the game will be a rip-roaring affair. Often end to end, with chances coming and going with little to no indication as to which way the result will go until that first moment of magic – which often settles the tie. The winners celebrate, the losers stare into the distance contemplating the fact they now have to take on a group winner as opposed to a runner-up – a side statistically more likely to have advanced by a much closer shave than the winners. It is a tense time, and a period of uncertainty as the manager makes plans to overcome their first knockout foes and continue the journey.

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World Cup Golden Boot: How Things Are Shaping Up

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The Russia World Cup this summer has, of course, created excitement and enthusiasm the whole world over just as any major international tournament does. However, with every tournament there seems to be almost as much excitement about which player can score the most goals – ie earning himself the coveted Golden Boot award – as there is about the overall winner. Taking a look historically, anywhere between 5-9 goals is usually enough to be awarded the trophy – only three times since the first ever World Cup in 1930 has a player hit double figures. The first to do so was Sandor Kocsis of Hungary in 1954 (11 goals), before France star Just Fontaine did so at the next tournament (13 goals in 1958) and finally Gerd Muller of Germany in 1970 (10 goals).

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Best Defender of the Week – John Stones (England)

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When looking at the best defenders in the World Cup so far, it has been a bit of a tough task to be honest! On the one hand, there have been teams such as Uruguay, who have kept clean sheets in every game so far. It would seem obvious to go to a defender from a team such as this as they have clearly contributed to their nation’s cause and done their job as perfectly as possible. Players such as Jose Maria Gimenez, for example, who is one of the most picked defenders on our Fantasy World Cup game. On the other hand, you have defenders who have kept things relatively tight at the back but have also popped up to score as well. This kind of rounded performance is what has been approached here – and John Stones tops the lot.

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