A BBC pundit criticises the £180,000 weekly salary After losing 1-0 to Aston Villa, Manchester City put on one of their worst shows since Pep Guardiola became the team’s manager.
After stalemates with Chelsea, Liverpool, and Tottenham Hotspur, supporters of the Midlands team were eager to see their team return to winning ways.
But City was totally outclassed when they showed up at Villa Park.
All across the pitch, Unai Emery’s team was superior, and Pep Guardiola was at a loss for words. Leon Bailey gave Josko Gvardiol a rough time, and City never really had the upper hand in the game and was unable to dismantle Villa.
Now that the performance and outcome from yesterday have been thoroughly examined, some have suggested that City’s problems stem from their midfield configuration.
Manuel Akanji didn’t appear at ease against Aston Villa, according to Martin Keown.
Rodri’s suspension for the visiting team’s game yesterday night proved to be an expensive decision.
With John Stones and Manuel Akanji occupying holding midfield, City never enjoyed any sort of dominance in the match.
This season, Akanji has been utilised in this capacity multiple times, and the Switzerland international has found it to be a bit of a mixed bag.
He was all over the place last night, though, as Keown noted on Match of the Day: “Akanji in midfield didn’t look comfortable.” Don’t you want him to be on the backline?
“It seems like they’ve lost that hint of enchantment. Do you recall a time when they would simply blow you away in games, no matter what you threw at them? They haven’t won in four, and they now appear weak. Just look at what they’ve accomplished in past seasons. You would have to admit that Pep is in a little crisis right now.
On Manuel Akanji playing midfield, the jury is yet out.
Last night was such a bad night for City that nobody could really say they played well.
Not only did Akanji suffer, but his colleagues did too.
Although the £180,000-per-week player, who joined City from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022, has been a spectacular addition, it is still unclear if he will be able to fill this hybrid role.
He doesn’t move as gracefully and isn’t as strong technically as Stones.
Though he is an excellent ball-player defender, it is unclear how long he will be able to play at a higher level and still receive minutes.