Premier League 2019/20: Manchester City's ideal backline for the upcoming season
- Manchester City will begin their title defence against West Ham on August 10.
After overcoming travel issues for their Asian tour, Manchester City have enjoyed a solid pre-season campaign thus far. Attacking wise, the 'Cityzens' have been at their fluent best but, the defensive shape has been a matter of concern for Pep Guardiola.
Until now, in their four pre-season games, Man City have kept only one clean sheet. The departure of Vincent Kompany - a helming presence in Blue's defence, has left a telling void in Guardiola's defence. Currently, the Premier League champions have just three central defenders at their disposal.
A paucity of central defenders means that there could be a few fresh faces who could arrive at Etihad before the window shuts on August 8. The likes of Harry Maguire and Ruben Dias have been thrown into the picture.
However, given the current dearth of centre-backs, the defensive reinforcements could be either young prospects or backups. On this note, let's discuss the ideal back-four Pep Guardiola could deploy next season.
RB: Kyle Walker
The full-backs are one of the most important elements in Pep Guardiola's system. Kyle Walker, since his move from Tottenham Hotspur in 2017, has played a key role in a Man City side which has won two successive league titles.
However, the 29-year-old, on a few occasions, was exposed in defensive phases due to his stagnant positioning last season. The erratic performances from his premier full-back forced Pep to target a reinforcement in that area. Joao Cancelo was targeted by the City bosses but, the parties were unable to agree a deal.
With Danilo set to continue his supporting role, Kyle Walker is almost certain to patrol Man City's right-flank for at least another campaign.
LB: Oleksandr Zinchenko
Man City forked out £52m for the signature of Benjamin Mendy signature from AS Monaco, but, the transfer hasn't been as flourishing as expected, making just 17 league appearances in his two year seasons at the club.
Utilising central midfielders as full-backs have been one of Pep Guardiola's forte, with Joshua Kimmich, Fabian Delph, and Oleksandr Zinchenko being the examples. During Benjamin Mendy's absence last season, the Ukrainian never looked out of place when slotted in as a full-back.
Of course, Angelino has been re-signed this summer, but, sluggish outings in the pre-season haven't done him any favour. With Benjamin Mendy nursing his recurrent knee injury, Zinchenko looks set to deputise at left-back in Frenchman's absence next season.