Pep Guardiola’s Diaz-Stones-Cancelo Axis Faces Severe Tests in Anfield | Manchester

WWell, it didn’t take long. For a while on either side of Christmas Premier League The title race felt like an open door joint, with a regular face spinning cast in turn putting elbows on the bar. In the first 21 games of the season, seven different teams appeared at the top of the queue. Due to all the tensions of football in the plague era, the upper reaches of the Premier League felt dizzy, a fun kind of place, a more crowded Speakeasy than an exclusive club.

Revisiting the hierarchy requires the ambiguity of recent games. Later one thrilling surge of form, Manchester city He won in Anfield on Sunday afternoon, 10 points away from Liverpool and three points ahead of Manchester United.

for Liverpool In particular, there is suddenly another kind of energy at the top. A squeak of a wooden door with shutters, a secret look around the spitton, a gangster in a gray nylon leisure suit, and white teeth flashing as he drains sports debris. water. Welcome, Liverpool FC, to the last chance saloon. And yes, it happened very quickly.

Over the past few weeks, these teams seemed to be rediscovering the drive, so it seemed they were heading for a familiar gear change. The trip to Anfield will be City’s 22nd Premier League match. In both of the last two seasons, games 20-22 have been the firing points, with Liverpool and City occupying the top spot without interruption.

“He knows it’s not true!”: Guardiola questions Klopp’s claim that Citi took a two-week break – video

Who knows, but due to the lack of defensive cover in Liverpool, the season may have ended this way again. If only the city could produce the familiar surge, and otherwise, it was a series of victories based on the profound restructuring of Pep Guardiola’s team. And in fact, what really matters here is not the issue of Liverpool in the same area, but the city’s adaptation in defense.

Pep Guardiola previously changed the rhythm and shape of the team. But this is essentially a defensive and positional change, a change in the way his team stops enemies from a coach famous for his obsession with midfielders and angles of attack. It’s an impressive note that changes at once, even the best, or even the most special, of Guardiola’s life. Can get stuck in their way..

The comparison with Klopp’s current defensive struggle deserves several contexts. Liverpool lost two of the best center halves. Guardiola’s excellent coaching feat is consistent with spending £ 170m on a new defender, which is a kind of help.

This has always been Pep’s paradox and a familiar point of dissent for the very permanent bald fraud brigade. Guardiola wins players. But what he did with them is fascinating and is a readjustment of the system and personnel to meet the biggest test ever on Sunday.

If Josep Guardiola’s men didn’t score a second-half goal against Chelsea in January, they shut out 10 shutouts in a match against Liverpool on Sunday. Photo: James Williamson-AMA / Getty Images

The defensive record is often rehearsed.Steal Chelsea’s 90-minute comfort goal At Stamford Bridge in January And when Citi goes out to Anfield, he aims to win the Premier League for the 10th straight time.

That goal is the only goal recognized by the city in the 13 games that Ruben Dias and John Stones started together. This is not a block issue, it also saves. This is a systematic and deeply sewn defense that continues to reduce Xg against the score throughout its execution.

The main players in this are clear enough. The armatures of this city team are built around Guardiola’s work with Stones, Diaz and João Cancelo, and Aymeric Laporte is also a sinister left wing that combines the aggressive wealth of Mohamed Salah and Trent Alexander. Re-enter the equation to face the test-Arnold.

Cancelo was the key man. In fact, the entire defensive jig in this city can be seen as a journey for Kyle Walker to return at incredible speed to perform his final defensive barge. Walker is a stunning recovery defender. Cancelo’s stable rhythm, a player who is willing to go inside, relies on his internal partnership to cover those spaces and holds ownership nervously.

With Central Defense so calm, Cancelo was able to provide a dominant presence, the playmaker, as well as an overload in the midfield. His number of shots and passes from full back is as good as expected. What really made the difference was his complete confidence in the ball. Position shifts, innovative new roles: Help talented individuals practice them.

The trip to Anfield only emphasizes how much these two teams have changed since they last met. In Etihad in November.. That day, City was 10th and Liverpool was 3rd. Guardiola has established Stones and Diaz as the indisputable No. 1 pair, and it’s only been a few weeks since they started with the 4-2-3-1 formation.

The Chelsea match right after Christmas was the moment of the watershed. Guardiola, deprived of a regular striker, was initially stunning 4-3-3, with Kevin De Bruyne as a fake 9, and Stones Diaz surrounded by “progressive” full-back Cancelo and Oleksandr Zinchenko. I did.

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Everything was clicked. After a nervous start, Citi dominated the ball with a 20-minute spell in the first half and scored 10 shots in the goal. Chelsea in the Lampard era seemed completely confused. Zinchenko has maintained his position through most of the winning runs, a confident ball-playing presence, and a full-back that goes inside rather than slipping up and down in an unstable flank. The city takes 5, 6 and 7 shots per game and wins the canter.

But Anfield is the beginning of a tougher game run that actually tests this system. The city now has all the best center backs, and this week Laport will face Burnley to offer a powerful quasi-back 3. But Liverpool will certainly significantly reduce the right to test its participation.

Guardiola has never won a match in Anfield. If his team can really boost Liverpool’s title defense with another breathtaking defensive performance on record, they can have a new look by Sunday night. ..

Pep Guardiola’s Diaz-Stones-Cancelo Axis Faces Severe Tests in Anfield | Manchester

Source link Pep Guardiola’s Diaz-Stones-Cancelo Axis Faces Severe Tests in Anfield | Manchester

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