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Pep Guardiola needs Man City defender to turn form around this season [Opinion]


Ahead of Manchester City’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa on Sunday, Pep Guardiola has a decision to make at right-back. Kyle Walker was a regular in the position last season but hasn’t been at his best this campaign, so Pep might consider Rico Lewis or Manuel Akanji in the role.

The 32-year-old has made 15 appearances in all competitions this season but has started only 10/21 league games due to injury and him falling down the pecking order. Walker missed six top-flight outings after a problem with his groin, but he’s also been an unused substitute four times.

In fact, the England international has been benched in four of City’s last seven league games and the statistics paint a clear picture why. Not only did Walker struggle for form at the World Cup and then underwhelm immediately after the tournament, he’s declined across the board from last season.

Walker has averaged 0.3 tackles per game and 0.5 interceptions this campaign which is down from last season’s 0.8 tackles and 0.7 interceptions. He’s made less clearances per game (0.5) from 2021/22 (0.8) and has blocked half the amount of shots per game too (0.2 to 0.1).

He created more chances (0.6 per game to 0.4) and whipped in more crosses (0.3 per game to 0.1) the previous campaign also, so Walker is down by nearly every metric. He’s narrowly passing the ball less (75 times per game to 72.5) and is completing slightly fewer passes (90.3% to 89.6%), so Guardiola will be desperate for Walker to hit some form in the run-in.

In other news, Pep Guardiola could drop Riyad Mahrez v Aston Villa after Tottenham performance

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He joined from Newcastle in 2000 and left to join FC Sochaux in 2003

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Sports journalist who is an avid football fan, enjoys debunking transfer rumours, loves to write pieces about players out in the cold and takes a large amount of pride getting a predicted XI 100% correct.