After the end of their apparently unbreakable home record, Manchester City were left to rue a lack of midfield back up to Fernandinho.
Chelsea managed to exploit some of the weaknesses in their side, but most notable was the impact on Yaya Toure’s game that Fernandinho was not lurking in his shadow to reduce the space behind the marauding Ivorian.
His shrewd positioning provides cover for Toure and screens the back four, with Martin Demichelis providing a feeble example of a different option in his position.
During the game with Chelsea, Toure’s lack of commitment to charge back and help the defence was evident again - as sensational as he can be, his efforts to the entire team’s contribution are limited compared to what many people think.
Without the midfield options of any side in the league that seem enough of that of a title-winning side, with Manchester City holding only the starting combination that could compete with Europe’s best.
Once Fernandinho was seen out of the side against Chelsea, Toure became greatly exposed to the fast-breaking Chelsea attack and was almost out-competed by Nemanja Matic.
The biggest question over Manchester City is usually proposed to their defence, but Fernando was targeted in January for a reason. His work as a cover option for Fernandinho would have been a great addition in the charge for the title, as currently they can continue to play with the two in midfield with the assurance that they will have enough possession to see out the matches defensively.
A replacement option in midfield – other than Garcia – would have made City’s title chances all but certain. Now with Fernandinho set to miss a few games and no realistic way to reduce the strain on Toure, Manchester City seem extremely short of quality options in the middle of their 4-4-2.
However, isn’t every team short in midfield?
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