One win in 4 Premier League video games, one other damage for Sergio Aguero and key gamers nonetheless lacking – is that this Pep Guardiola’s greatest take a look at in his 4 years at Manchester Metropolis?
Regardless of Phil Foden’s equaliser in a 1-1 draw at West Ham on Saturday, Metropolis have dropped seven factors from the primary 5 video games and are anchored within the backside half of the desk.
They welcomed again Kevin de Bruyne from damage at London Stadium however Aguero, who had surgical procedure on a knee damage in June, didn’t seem for the beginning of the second half, due to a leg muscle damage.
It has been a lower than easy begin for Guardiola – who guided Metropolis to the Premier League title in 2018 and 2019 – so what now?
‘They simply cannot get going’
It was the fifth sport of final season when Metropolis got here unstuck at promoted Norwich Metropolis.
By then, they already had 10 factors, two greater than they’ve managed up to now this season.
“Metropolis solely had a really small close-season break, numerous accidents in the beginning of the brand new season they usually actually have not discovered any sort of rhythm,” stated former Arsenal defender Martin Keown, a three-time Premier League title winner, on Soccer Focus.
“It is actually shocking. They simply cannot get going.”
Whereas Keown and lots of others could also be stunned at Metropolis’s gradual begin, Guardiola isn’t – and has no downside figuring out the explanations.
“Many accidents, an absence of preparation, no restoration time, and hard video games we have performed up to now,” he stated when requested after the West Ham match why Metropolis have made a lower than spectacular begin.
“I am not a man who can predict the longer term. We have already dropped seven factors, which is lots.
“However we have struggled lots for a lot of causes. We’ve got to take issues sport by sport and see what occurs.”
Since profitable at Wolves of their opening sport, Guardiola’s facet have misplaced closely at house to Leicester, drawn at Leeds, overwhelmed Arsenal and dropped one other two factors at West Ham.
“That entire air of invincibility appears to have dripped away,” stated former England keeper Rob Inexperienced on BBC Radio 5 Dwell.
“Getting turned over by Leicester, Leeds might have completed 6-6, they haven’t hit the straps in comparison with seasons previous.”
Aguero provides to Metropolis’s damage distress
Accidents and have taken their toll on Metropolis, a lot in order that Guardiola named an unchanged beginning line-up for the primary time since October 2017, some 172 video games in the past.
Whereas substitute De Bruyne appeared sharp throughout the 22 minutes he was on the pitch, Guardiola appeared deflated when he introduced afterwards ahead Aguero had suffered one other damage.
Having solely returned from a prolonged spell on the sidelines towards Arsenal final week, his newest setback is one thing Metropolis might do with out as Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Benjamin Mendy, Nathan Ake and Aymeric Laporte stay out.
“They’ve had so many accidents,” added Keown.
“Since they went out of the Champions League quarter-finals [against Lyon], they’ve struggled.
“It is going to be essential for Sergio Aguero to remain match. Pep Guardiola desires to play expansive soccer however this isn’t the identical silky Metropolis we have seen up to now the place they had been breaking data left proper and centre.”
Aguero’s health and type is unquestionably key to Metropolis success, particularly within the absence of Jesus, their solely different senior striker.
But the 32-year-old Argentine, who has not too long ago celebrated his ninth anniversary at Metropolis, is going through one other spell on the sidelines.
His substitute towards West Ham was Foden.
“It has been a wierd 12 months,” stated the 20-year-old. “A variety of video games are coming shortly so possibly some gamers are feeling it. Everybody has the flexibility to make an influence.”
Guardiola stated Aguero shall be assessed on Sunday earlier than the Champions League journey to Marseille on Tuesday.
‘We are going to see how good Pep actually is’
Since they final received the Premier League, Metropolis have misplaced Vincent Kompany, Leroy Sane and David Silva.
Inexperienced stated Guardiola is having to rebuild a workforce for the primary time.
He spent 4 seasons at Barcelona, profitable three La Liga titles and two Champions Leagues earlier than shifting to Bayern Munich, the place he received the Bundesliga in every of his three seasons.
Now in his fifth season at Metropolis, Guardiola faces many challenges, added Inexperienced.
“He hasn’t needed to rebuild earlier than,” he stated.
“Perhaps they’ve dropped the ball when it comes to recruitment but in addition possibly Pep did not anticipate to be right here this time final season. You possibly can say they may have began constructing final season, however Pep would not usually do greater than three years.”
Former Tottenham midfielder Andy Reid stated Metropolis lacked management on the pitch.
“Will they’ve that consistency? And in the case of the powerful video games, will they’ve that bit further? I am not too certain,” he informed BBC Radio 5 Dwell.
“That’s the reason it is a rebuilding course of.”
Keown added: “They don’t seem to be removed from greatness, however there is definitely some work to be achieved.
“We are going to see how good Pep actually is now; he is acquired to rebuild the workforce.”