Why are Man City rotating centre-halves? Guardiola explains fielding six different defensive units

Manchester City Erling Haaland Ruben Dias John Stones 2022-23Getty
  • Blues boast plenty of options
  • Have been putting those to good use
  • Injuries have played a part

WHAT HAPPENED? The reigning Premier League champions have a number of top-drawer centre-halves on their books, with that department bolstered over the summer as Manuel Akanji was signed from Borussia Dortmund. He has joined the likes of Aymeric Laporte, Ruben Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake in Manchester, leading Guardiola to field six different backlines in City’s last six games.

WHAT THEY SAID: Pressed on why he has been shuffling his pack so frequently this season, Guardiola said: “I would love to have the same back four but they cannot handle it. The players we have cannot handle every three days of being fit, other teams might be able to, but we can’t.

“Nathan can’t, Ruben last season, Aymeric came back from a big injury so it’s important for us everyone can play and everyone can perform well. If you want to be in there with all the titles we are fighting for and with the World Cup and be in that position to fight until the end and we need to be ready to fight until the end, otherwise it will be so difficult.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Akanji has impressed since stepping into the City fold, with his £15 million ($17m) fee already looking quite the bargain. His expertise has been required on five occasions already because of the injuries and fitness issues suffered by Dias, Laporte, Ake and Stones.


Ruben Dias Manchester City 2022-23Getty

Manuel Akanji Manchester City 2022-23Getty

John Stones

WHAT NEXT FOR MAN CITY? Guardiola has continued to find a winning formula for the Blues, as they remain unbeaten in the 2022-23 campaign. Up next, they have a Champions League clash with FC Copenhagen on Tuesday which will be followed by a Premier League trip to Liverpool on Sunday.

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