Nobody is safe from the bench when Pep Guardiola is manager.
Since the Spaniard inherited the reins at Manchester City, he has been disorientating supporters with his constant chopping and changing. After all, he made a staggering 46 changes to his starting XI across his first 14 Premier League fixtures.
Nevertheless, even the trigger-happy boss himself believes there are certain players that City can’t do without. There are three stars, in his opinion, that bring out of the very best in their teammates.
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West Ham thrashing
Even when Manchester City claim victory, there’s no guarantee that Guardiola will be cheery after the match. After all, it would be easy to assume from his post match interviews that Burnley had hit them for six in mid-week.
However, the steely Spaniard couldn’t help but be pleased with his side’s demolition job on West Ham. His first ever FA Cup match as a manager saw the Hammers thrashed 5-0 in their own backyard.
Strikes from Yaya Toure, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, John Stones and an own goal made it another painful night at the London Stadium for the hosts.
While the home side did produce moments of their own in the first-half, City were at their free-flowing best. Their second goal in particular encapsulated the very tiki-taka philosophy that Guardiola had championed at the Nou Camp.
As the Spaniard put it himself on the night: "Today we controlled the game more, through our passes. Before the penalty we created chances and after half-time we played like we expected, like it was at the start of the season.
"In the last month or two, for different circumstances, we weren't able to do that but hopefully now we can start again to play in that sense.”
Three crucial players
Believe it or not though, Guardiola even had time to dish out individual praise and, for once, it didn’t have Claudio Bravo’s name on it.
The 45-year-old explained, as per the Manchester Evening News, that: "We can't achieve our targets unless we start to play and keep the ball. When David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne and Yaya Toure touch a lot of the ball the rest can play easier. We have to play.”
While it may not be surprising that Guardiola values possession football greatly, his decision to name the three main protagonists in that style may have raised some eyebrows.
This is especially the case considering Toure had been exiled from the squad prior to November. Had the Ivorian not marked his long-awaited return with a brace at Crystal Palace, he could still have been sampling the reserves to this day.
That being said, nobody can deny his talent. His mobility and effort can be questioned at times, but he knows what to do with a football.
The same can be said for De Bruyne and Silva who are seemingly irreplaceable in City’s midfielder. If Guardiola comes anywhere near to lifting the Premier League trophy this season, he’ll need the aforementioned duo fully firing.
So there you have it, the three players that Guardiola believes make City tick. Mr. Aguero looks like he might have to wait a little longer for his recognition and turn in the sunlight though.
Then again, only 18 goals so far this season, what on earth is he playing at?
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