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Have Manchester City underinvested in their defence over the years?

Manchester City's 6-3 win over Arsenal demonstrated their attacking superiority. But what about their defence?

Of the hundreds of millions Sheikh Mansour has invested in Manchester City's playing squad over the years, how many of them have been on defenders?

It is an interesting question.

City, of course, cannot be said to be particularly struggling in terms of goals conceded. They have let in the same amount as Liverpool and only one more than Arsenal and Chelsea.

But what if they had spent the same amount on their back four as that of their front line over the years?

Just imagine: it could be the complete team.

David Silva and Yaya Toure have worked wonders in midfield, while Sergio Aguero and Alvaro Negredo are destroying defences up and down the country up front.

Yet look at the money wasted on their attack since Mansour's takeover. Edin Dzeko, Mario Balotelli, Carlos Tevez and Stevan Jovetic have all been imported to the Etihad Stadium in recent seasons - and to mixed results.

What if just half of that money was invested in Manchester City's back line?

"I don't think it's the best performance because Arsenal scored three goals and I think this is too much for the amount chances that they had," Manuel Pellegrini said after the win against the Gunners.

You don't say, Manuel.

Vincent Kompany, Pablo Zabaleta and Gael Clichy have added plenty to City's squad but the heavy investment in defensive terms has, by and large, stopped there.

For his partner at centre-back, Kompany has worked with the prodigious Matija Nastasic and the relatively cheap but experienced Martin Demichelis this season.

But there has been a distinct lack of big-name signings at the back for City in recent years. Kompany himself was signed long ago - under Mark Hughes - while Jolean Lescott has not been replaced by a defender of equal stature.

Although their defence has done the job for the most part, Pellegrini's men have, at times, conceded goals far too cheaply. Away defeats to Cardiff and Aston Villa exposed defensive frailties early on in the season, while Arsenal were allowed to score far too easily on Saturday.

City's transfer policy thus represents that of an attacking fantasist: millions are ploughed into signing strikers and playmakers but less attention is paid to strengthening their defence.

Pellegrini's back four may look par for the course but look closely and cracks are starting to appear.

And a fundamental underinvestment over the years may come back to hit City where it hurts come the business end of the season.

image: © pigpilot

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