Premier League 2019-20: 3 ways in which Manchester City can get their campaign back on track
We are eight games into the 2019-20 Premier League season and it already looks like the title race is over.
Last season's finalists (as our American friends would like to call them) Manchester City and Liverpool looked like hot favourites to contest for the title again this year. But the Reds have had a stunning run comprising eight wins whereas Pep Guardiola's Manchester City have already gone through a draw with Tottenham and suffered two unlikely defeats at the hands of Norwich City and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
The gap between the two sides is a massive eight points, and unless Jurgen Klopp's side drop points constantly it's highly unlikely for City to climb to the top of the table. That said, there are a few things the blue side from Manchester can do to get their Premier League campaign back on track.
1) Embrace fearlessness
The Manchester City that won an unprecedented domestic treble (the Premier League, the FA Cup and the Carabao Cup) in the 2018-19 season is not the Manchester City that has taken the field and disappointed repeatedly in the 2019-20 season. Guardiola's men have looked fearful of pushing hard, sitting on their laurels instead.
Although players like Raheem Sterling and Kevin de Bruyne have been brilliant performers for the side, and a few of the others have gelled well to provide attacking returns as well, somehow overall domination has eluded them. The blue side from Manchester need to pull up their socks if they have to get back in the race and stop Liverpool from running away with the title.
2) Avoid constant tinkering with the starting XI
Guardiola is famous for his rotation tactics, where he constantly tinkers with the starting XI. Although this has worked well for the Spaniard in the past, it is proving to be harmful to his team's cause presently.
Compared to Liverpool, Manchester City make more than one change on average to their starting XI every Premier League matchday.
The team's participation in the UEFA Champions League is to blame a little for this as the players are knackered after performing at highly intense levels midweek, and cannot be expected to be fit for the weekend fixtures of the Premier League. However, constant tinkering with the starting XI hampers the dynamics of the team and prevents the players from expressing themselves completely.
The players do not trust each other enough and are constantly afraid of being dropped from the team.
3) Play Benjamin Mendy more regularly when fit
Injury-prone left-back Benjamin Mendy adds an extra dimension of pace and teeth to Manchester City's wings whenever he plays. However, the Frenchman has managed to play only three games this season (in one of which he lasted just 45 minutes and in the other 30), and City's problems at left-back have looked more pronounced since he has been out.
The former AS Monaco star is extremely fast on the wings and can cross the ball with deadly accuracy. Those are two of the main reasons why Guardiola spent £50m on him two years ago.
Oleksandr Zinchenko has looked at home in the left-back position in Mendy's absence, but his defensive skills are questionable. And new signing Joao Cancelo, who started against Wolverhampton Wanderers, looked clearly out of place from his preferred right-back spot.
As soon as Mendy gets fit, City must rush him in and make him dictate the pace from the back. They have missed him dearly.