Gary Neville believes that Man City’s defence could ultimately end up costing them the Premier League title this season if they don’t improve.
Former influential captain Vincent Kompany left this past summer while Aymeric Laporte suffered a serious injury which required surgery earlier this month, as per the club’s site.
In turn that has left Pep Guardiola with Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones as his first-choice centre-half pairing, and the early signs aren’t good while the pair didn’t impress previously when starting alongside each other prior to Laporte’s arrival.
City conceded three goals in their defeat to Norwich City at the weekend, and Neville believes that it could ultimately be their downfall this season which in turn hands the Premier League title to rivals Liverpool.
“Laporte’s injury, Kompany leaving and not replacing him is a big problem for Manchester City. Stones and Otamendi have played 25 games under Guardiola in the Premier League,” he said on MNF, as reported by Sky Sports.
“They’ve conceded more goals than any other partnership, conceded more goals per game, the clean sheets are down, the three plus goals conceded is well up and then there’s the big one, lower win percentage.
“That will cost Manchester City the Premier League title. If these two play together at their current rate of performance they won’t win the league.”
On the basis of what we’ve seen previously from the duo coupled with the vulnerabilities displayed on Saturday, the signs aren’t promising for the reigning champions as Guardiola must find a solution to shore things up at the back.
If they struggled with a dangerous attack posed by Norwich, it promises to be an even more difficult task when they go up against the other top sides in England and Europe in the coming months and that could be a major reason as to why they are unable to repeat their achievements from last season.
Time will tell if they look to address it in the January transfer window, or perhaps are forced to, but in the coming weeks and months it will be down to Guardiola and his players to paper over the cracks.