Have Manchester City finally solved the Vincent Kompany conundrum? As City fans, we have witnessed the ageing of one of City’s best-ever defenders and easily the best in the Premier League era. We have also cringed at times when we have seen the comings and goings such as Savic and Boateng and wondered just what would happen when Vinny stacks his hand.
Enter Aymeric Laporte. The young Frenchman from Agen, signed for City from Athletic Bilbao in January this year in time to plug into a side that was heading for the Premier League title at full throttle.
The selection of Laporte for Guardiola’s starting eleven almost guarantees three more points. Not only does he have a propensity for sniffing-out danger at the back, but he is very much a player that can set off attacks either with a short pass to Fernandinho or a cross-field 60-yarder to pick out the wider forwards such as Sterling, Sane, Mahrez and Bernardo.
While the TV pundits drool over the likes of £75 million-man Dick Van Dijk, the £57 million budget alternative is emerging as a centre back that is much more versatile and one who leads the back line with a touch of class. It is little wonder that Aymeric is an automatic choice in a team that his manager is Bernardo Silva plus ten.
The beauty about Laporte is that with Pep’s abundance of talent, he may not know who will be his partner from one match to the next. But whoever it is, and all of them offer different styles, nothing seems to phase the man who was apparently on the radar of Klopp had he been unable to secure VanDijk.
The way forward will probably be alongside John Stones who has definitely stepped up a gear this season. Stones seems to have eliminated the mistakes that have inevitably resulted in goals against. Yesterday, we saw Stones replace Walker at fullback and he drove the right side of the team forward in tandem with the improving Mahrez, penalty excepted.
With the foursome of Laporte, Stones, Ederson and Fernandinho defending the goal and launching attacks, City look to be in safe hands and this will be the launching-pad for City’s title tilt this season.
From Laporte’s point of view, he seems to have flown well below the radar, slipping into Guardiola’s team almost without a visit from the Town Crier and he has delivered almost faultless performance since day one.