It is no longer news injuries in the squad is a major problem Manchester City is facing, particularly in the defense. With John Stones and Aymeric Laporte, two of the club’s central back facing injuries and Pep having Fernadinho covering for them, it is to be expected that the club will struggle to keep a strong side from scoring.
Pep Guardiola might think he has found a solution in Fernadinho and Nicholas Otamendi but their display against Wolves opened up the many errors in that pairing. It showed that they’re not the solution to the defense problem if Manchester City wants to challenge for the league.
With Fernandinho, it may seem like Guardiola knows what he’s doing playing a holding midfielder in the central defense. Seeing as he has done it before with Javier Mascherano at Barcelona and Javi Martinez at Bayern Munich but it doesn’t seem to be working much right now.
That being said, let’s run through two things Guardiola can do to tackle the defensive problems Manchester City is facing currently.
Bring Kyle Walker to join the back three
Since Guardiola’s style of play is the type that requires pace, bringing Kyle Walker to join the back three might be a good idea. With this, he can play the 29-year-old English right back in a 4-3-3 formation.
This will see Kyle Walker paired with Otamendi and Fernandinho, a move that could bring added pace to the defense and also add quality in possession.
For some width, Joao Cancelo, the club’s new signing could easily fit into the right wing-back role, playing beside and sometimes ahead of Walker, giving Kyle Walker more chance to take care of defensive responsibilities.
Put the youth to work
Manchester City has more than enough talented youths that can step up and take responsibilities, Guardiola just has to put his faith in them. That might be hard to do but there isn’t much of a choice right now with the tight situation the club has found itself.
One of the youngsters is Philipe Sandler. The 22-year-old Dutchman earned a loan move to Anderlecht this summer but that doesn’t mean he can’t be recalled. Good enough that he is a natural centre back and with proper grooming, he might fit perfectly into the role.
The Dutch star joined City in October last year, and impressed for City during the 7-0 FA Cup demolition of Rotherham, and a 1-0 win over Burton Albion in the Carabao Cup.
Also, the club has 18-year-old Eric Garcia, the Spain Under-21 defender who looked so calm and confident with the ball all through his three Carabao Cup appearances last season. If given a chance, it might not be hard for the youngster to step up and fit into the senior squad.
With huge matches still up ahead against formidable enemies before Laporte’s return, Guardiola might need to resolve the problem with the alternatives he has till he can get a permanent solution.