Manchester City, who emerged victorious from a closely contested league title race last year, have failed to find their feet this season.
The squad is not different at all and if anything there have been more additions to the team, but they have found it difficult to be consistent this this time around. Is it the formation that Manuel Pellegrini is using or is it the lack of belief that players have?
Problems in the squad
In my opinion it is a little bit of both. Pellegrini’s 4-4-2 in itself is a system that can work but it is not right for the players that he currently has in his team.
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City’s players have been caught out of position too often this season. Their attacking stars, namely David Silva, Jesus Navas, Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko, are not known for their ability to track back once the ball is with the opposition. This leaves City with its holding midfield players, Yaya Toure and Fernando/Fernandinho, to deal with the opposition attacks whilst they're isolated.
Toure has been lethargic the entire season and his defensive contribution has been close to nil. That has left Fernando and Fernandinho to deal with all the defensive work. Neither of them is capable of doing the same work that Nemanja Matic does for Chelsea.
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City play a system that requires the full-backs to run beyond the wingers and attack. This makes them extremely vulnerable to counter attacks. City’s defenders have had a horrible season and have not helped the cause either. This is why the 4-4-2 formation did not work out for Pellegrini; the system exposed the weakness of the team whose players have been under-performing anyway.
The ins and outs
Now we arrive at the specific players. City has an ageing squad with an average squad age of 29.7 years. This average is greater than the other clubs that are in the top six this year.
This wouldn’t have been a problem in a normal football calendar year, this year though there were simply too many competitions to play in. For example Toure has played in the World Cup, Premier League, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, Champions League and also the African Cup of Nations.
With some many competitions taking place the ageing City squad have struggled to keep themselves fit, both mentality as well as physically.
City need not fire Pellegrini to get the club back on the right track, they just have to rebuild their squad by utilising the upcoming transfer market sensibly. However, Pellegrini needs to be less stubborn about his tactics and his style of play. Let us look at how City might line up next season.
Possible team: Joe Hart, Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Eliaquim Mangala, Danny Rose, Fernandinho, Paul Pogba, Pedro, Kevin De Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero.
Substitutes: Willy Caballero, Wilfried Bony, Jesus Navas, Stevan Jovetic, Fernando, Dedryck Boyata, Gael Clichy.
Players that have to be sold: Yaya Toure, Aleksander Kolarov, Samir Nasri, Edin Dzeko, Álvaro Negredo.
Players that have to be bought: Paul Pogba, Kevin De Bruyne, Danny Rose, Pedro.
If City can bring these players and play a 4-2-3-1 formation, then they can be title contenders next season. Do you fans agree? Let us know what you think in the comments box below.
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