Pellegrini considers City’s defensive options after defeat to Arsenal

Manchester City Stand

The new Manchester City manager has admitted that he was not satisfied with his team’s rearguard in the loss, and may yet look to bolster his defence.

Manchester City were beaten 3-1 by Premier League rivals Arsenal in their final pre-season friendly before the real action kicks off next weekend.

The game was played on Saturday at the Olympic Stadium in Helsinki, with the north Londoners proving more clinical in front of goal than their Manchester rivals.

Goals from Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud and Aaron Ramsay gave the Gunners a comfortable win over the Etihad Stadium outfit, with Alvaro Negredo getting a consolation for his side.

City fans won’t exactly have alarm bells ringing in their ears, but Manuel Pellegrini has admitted that his side’s defence was suspect in the defeat.

“We had some problems ­defending and we will try to improve that this week,” Pellegrini stated after the game.

“We will see this week what we need. If we buy someone, then OK. If not, I think we have got the squad to solve our ­problems.

“We have conceded too many in pre-season and will have to arrange it.”

With Kolo Toure departing this summer to join Liverpool on a free transfer, City have only three out-and-out central defenders in their squad in the form of captain Vincent Kompany, Matija Nastasic and Joleon Lescott. That said, Javi Garcia or Micah Richards could slot in at the heart of the reargaurd should Pellegrini need them to.

Talk of a new signing is probably unlikely to materialise, as City’s squad is seemingly at capacity. What the defeat to the Gunners does show however is the increasing importance of Nastasic for the Premier League title hopefuls.

The young Serbian centre-half replaced Lescott from the City first-team last season, and performed as an able and solid partner for Kompany. Despite Lescott’s experience, Nastasic’s partnership with the club captain seems like a more natural fit than when the former Everton man is included.

With the likes of Richards and Garcia, who are both international players and more than capable at this level, likely to face long spells on the sidelines without playing time, the acquisition of another defender as Pellegrini suggests is unnecessary.

Nastasic is expected to be out of action for up to six weeks, and the former Fiorentina man’s return will be a welcome boost. However, in the meantime, Pellegrini will need to work with the considerable resources that he already has at his disposal, as another splurge in the transfer window will not solve anything with Nastasic to return to the first team in a month or so.

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