One reason why Manchester City have had a stuttering start

Manchester City Stand

Pablo Zabaleta, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott, Martin Demichelis, Javi Garcia, Gael Clichy, Matija Nastasic, Micah Richards and Aleksander Kolorov have all been used in City's back four in the league this season.

People could point to many factors as to why Manchester City have made a stuttering start to the Premier League season.

Their away form is a concerning factor having lost four of their six away games so far this season, but there have to be factors within that.

Some will say that a couple of their big losses this season have been down to goalkeeper Joe Hart being out of form, but that could have something to do with the players in front of him, perhaps without a settled back four and playing under a new manager with a different system was a contributing factor.

Eleven games into this Premier League season and City have had only two sets of the same defensive four play back-to-back games. The four of Zabaleta, Kompany, Nastasic and Kolorov against Manchester United and then Aston Villa, and the back four of Zabaleta, Demichelis, Nastasic and Clichy against Chelsea and Norwich City.

Within that, their captain has made only four league appearances this season, one of them in that 4-1 victory over Manchester United in the derby match at Eastlands, when Jamie Carragher describes the Belgian’s performance on Sky Sports as ‘the best defensive performance I have ever seen.’

It is inevitable that without a figure who can put in a performance that attracts such compliments then a side is going to miss them, but no-one seems to know which back four is going to line up next for City.

This is of course due to injury, Martin Demichelis joined the club close to the transfer deadline but had to wait until October for his Premier League bow.

A lot of the analysis surrounding City leaking goals – 12 of them so far this season – has been put down to individual errors. That may be the case, but why the errors? Is it a case of a set, back four being given enough time to play with each other in order to build a solid defensive unit, and perhaps when Pellegrini’s first choice back four is fit we are going to see a meaner Manchester City?

Who knows? But there have been eight different combinations in the Premier League at the back this season for City, with only 11 games gone, no wonder it may look hard for them to find a bit of rhythm and solidity.

image: © geetarchurchy

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