The return of Aymeric Laporte couldn’t come any sooner for Man City. Actually, it could have come a lot sooner for them after a few poor defensive displays.
Sometimes it’s hard to believe the Premier League champions are struggling defensively this season. Thankfully, the time has come where they welcome back Aymeric Laporte with open arms.
The central defender has been missing for a large part of the first half of the season. On the final day of August last year where they comprehensively beat the Seagulls 4-0, the Frenchman damaged his cartilage and lateral meniscus during a collision with Adam Webster.
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He only made four appearances and played 307 minutes of football but thankfully, he is back and has already started for Pep. In the 78 minutes of football he played, he was able to help Guardiola to a clean sheet. Their first in four encounters.
Without the commanding figure in the side, the previous Premier League champions only accumulated eight clean sheets so far. That’s 12 off from last season’s 20 clean sheets.
Was very hard for Pep as he did not consider the fact he would lose a vital asset for such a long period immediately after losing his best defender, Vincent Kompany, who left at the end of last season’s gold medal run.
The team that was once the kings of England, suffered only four losses last runout. This season they’ve already lost five in their title race.
Laporte is a key player at the back for the Citizens, both for his defensive attributes and his ability to play the ball out from the back.
Last season, he made 49 starts in all competitions as City won all four domestic trophies on offer and reached the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League.
He made 35 appearances in the Premier League, in which City had the second-best record in the division with 23 goals conceded all season. (Via: Goal.com)
Will Laporte feature in the FA Cup?
Man City has a tricky FA Cup encounter on Sunday. They entertain demoted Fulham. Following their Sunday outing, they got a weeknight Manchester derby, a weekend trip to the futuristic Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium and take on Jose Mourinho’s Spurs.
With this happening before the international break, it would be smart to rest him for the FA Cup fixture. He will not be needed as much as he will be for the following two encounters.
Pep will give the fringe players a go. What he does seriously need to do is replace ex-captain Kompany. Swap out Nicolás Otamendi and John Stones for top-quality centre-backs. The Man City way, buy, buy, and buy again.