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Sports Shattered Man City won't recover from Guardiola's worst league start without resting star men

13:50  25 october  2020
13:50  25 october  2020 Source:   sportingnews.com

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Pep Guardiola makes his worst ever start as a manager but says he is not complaining about the "I would prefer to have results but also have to analyse the start and where we are," Guardiola said. City travelled to the London Stadium without Aymeric Laporte, Gabriel Jesus and Fernandinho while

Pep Guardiola makes his worst ever start as a manager but says he is not complaining about the illnesses and injuries that have disrupted Man City ' s start to the season. After a 1-1 draw away to West Ham, the Blues have taken just eight points from their opening five Premier League games.

Pep Guardiola has made his worst ever start to a league season as a coach and the bad news is that Manchester City's campaign is not going to get any easier.

Saturday's 1-1 draw with West Ham means the Catalan's side have taken just eight points from their opening five fixtures and, unusually for a Guardiola side, they don't yet have a positive goal difference.

With a minimum of two games a week between now and the New Year, the strain on the City squad is only going to increase and the City boss has to somehow manage the demands placed upon his players.

"We’ve already dropped seven points, which is a lot," Guardiola admitted after failing to win at the London Stadium for the first time in five visits with City.

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Guardiola and Manchester City will need time to recover after Tottenham Champions League defeat City won 4-3 on the night but it wasn' t enough for Pep Guardiola ' s outfit City take on Tottenham at home in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon Guardiola ' s men sit two points behind Liverpool in the race for the title but City have a match in

Guardiola is now odds on to leave City before the start of next season, with During his time at City , Guardiola has won two Premier League titles, one FA Cup and two Kevin De Bruyne and Aymeric Laporte hand Man City a double boost as duo return to training after recovering from injuries ahead

"But we’ve struggled a lot for many reasons. We have to take things game by game and see what happens.”

City's players are already tired, with the start of the new season in September coming barely a month after City's disastrous Champions League quarter-final loss to Lyon in Lisbon.

Consequently, while many people are shocked by City's poor form in the opening weeks of the 2020-21 campaign – this is the club's worst start since 2014 – Guardiola is not in the least bit surprised.

An almost non-existent pre-season was exacerbated by the fact that so many first-team players have either struggled for full fitness or tested positive for Covid-19.

Of Guardiola's first-team squad, Kyle Walker, Rodri, Riyad Mahrez and Phil Foden are the only outfield players that have been available for every game since the opening weekend.

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Pep Guardiola is still waiting on an update regarding the injury picked up by Sergio Aguero against West That return has them sat 11th in the table, while they now face the prospect of being without their City are far from being the only title hopefuls to have suffered an inconsistent start to their

Pep Guardiola challenged his Manchester City champions to dominate English football and feed his winning addiction after retaining the Premier League title. City recovered from a goal down to beat Brighton 4-1 and pip Liverpool to the crown on what proved a dramatic final day.

Walker had played every minute until he was taken off against West Ham because, in Guardiola's words, the defender was exhausted.

"I would prefer to have results but I also have to analyse the start and where we are," the City boss explained. "We have struggled because of the many injuries, the lack of preparation, and no recovery time between the games – the incredible tough games we played so far.

"The players gave absolutely everything on the pitch, they fought today and they were incredibly tired at the end, so now we are just thinking about recovering for the next game, in the Champions League."

City lacked zip and energy in a ponderous first half at West Ham until the introduction of the fizzing Phil Foden, who snatched the equaliser shortly after half-time.

Mid-table sides have recently found way of comfortably shutting down City, so they have to be cleverer and more enterprising in order to find a way through stacked defences.

Pep Guardiola defends Sergio Agüero again after linesman scandal

 Pep Guardiola defends Sergio Agüero again after linesman scandal Sergio Agüero's action from last weekend continues to be a topic of conversation. His coach defends the Argentine. Sergio Agüero's grip on linesman Sian Massey-Ellis continues to cause a stir. Manchester City's manager Pep Guardiola has now defended the Argentine again. He spoke of a perfectly normal action. Agüero had put his arm around Massey-Ellis in City's 1-0 win against Arsenal last game day and received a lot of criticism - also from football circles.

shocking stats: The numbers that show the Spaniard's stuttering start at Manchester City Man City news: All the latest from the Etihad Pep Guardiola has had a mixed start to life in charge of Manchester City While it's results on the pitch that will truly define Guardiola ' s time in the Premier League

Man City suffered their ninth defeat of the Premier League season on Sunday They are also facing two-year ban from the Champions League after FFP breach 'It' s difficult even for me to find a reason why,' Guardiola uttered after the Saints defeat that

Such an approach worked well for many clubs last year and, this term, Leicester, Arsenal and now West Ham have shown that City are still struggling to come up with answers.

To complicate matters further, in a season that could well come down to the survival of the fittest, Guardiola also has to find a way of getting around deep-lying defences without constantly having to call on his go-to guys, like Kevin De Bruyne and Raheem Sterling.

Raheem Sterling with a football ball: Raheem Sterling Manchester City West Ham 2020-21 GFX © Provided by Sporting News Raheem Sterling Manchester City West Ham 2020-21 GFX

It's a difficult balancing act, given the necessity of keeping his squad fresh enough to fight on two fronts, in England and Europe. So, it was strange that, on Saturday, Guardiola chose an away match sandwiched in between two Champions League fixtures to name an unchanged starting line-up for the first time in three years.

It suggests that after a disappointing start to last season, Guardiola has lost trust in some members of his squad, chief among them John Stones, who has only started the Premier League opener against Wolves.

The centre-half has not played a minute since either and has now fallen behind want-away defender Eric Garcia in the pecking order.

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Last night, Guardiola took what appeared to be arguably his biggest gamble of the season by leaving Aguero on the bench and Jesus alongside him for 80 minutes. He has sprung this trap in Manchester before. In his first season at Bayern Munich in a Champions League game against City at the Etihad

If Guardiola does not win the Premier League this season, it won ' t have anything to do with the ability of City ' s players to tackle. One of the reasons it might not happen is if they continue to be a shambles defensively, as they were against Chelsea and Leicester, when they conceded seven goals.

Elsewhere, summer signing Ferran Torres has so far played only 35 minutes in all competitions, while highly rated academy players Cole Palmer, Tommy Doyle and Taylor Harwood-Bellis have only featured in the Carabao Cup.

However, whether Guardiola likes it or not, he's going to have to give his fringe players more game time, so intensive is the fixture list.

If he doesn't rotate more, the injuries are just going to keep piling up.

Pep Guardiola holding a sign: Pep Guardiola Manchester City West Ham 2020-21 GFX © Provided by Sporting News Pep Guardiola Manchester City West Ham 2020-21 GFX

Gabriel Jesus has been out since the opening-weekend win over Wolves, while Sergio Aguero only returned to action last Saturday, after recovering from the knee surgery which kept him out for four months.

Without any other senior strikers, Aguero started his third game in a week at West Ham and, depressingly, he is now set for another spell on the sidelines with a hamstring injury.

It was ironic that, just as Guardiola was confirming the Argentine's latest setback, teenager Liam Delap was scoring for the under-23s back in Manchester.

The 17-year-old scored just 18 minutes into his first-team debut in the Carabao Cup but has played just 39 minutes since.

"To play four competitions and every three days, you need all the squad," Guardiola said. "If you don’t have all the squad, it is more difficult."

However, it's up to the manager to heed his own advice.

City's title challenge will not withstand the rigours of a season like no other unless Guardiola makes better use of the many players at his disposal.

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