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‘So poor’ – Pep Guardiola blasted for ‘strange’ decision to drop ‘incredible’ Man City duo


Pep Guardiola rung the changes to his backline in Manchester City’s defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, starting Kyle Walker at right-back, Manuel Akanji at centre-back, Nathan Ake alongside him and Rico Lewis as a makeshift left-back, but John Wenham blasted the City manager for weakening the defence.

John Stones missed Sunday’s Premier League clash due to injury, but Ruben Dias and Aymeric Laporte were unused substitutes despite being regulars at centre-back last season. Wenham told Football Insider that it’s ‘strange’ that Guardiola has dropped two key players from 2021/22.

He said: “Man City have gone from a back four of Walker, Dias, Laporte and Cancelo to Walker, Akanji, Ake and Lewis. How has that happened? Against Tottenham, Ruben Dias and Laporte were on the bench.

“You have two of the top five centre-backs on the bench in a game where you are up against some of the best attackers in the league. (City’s defence) look so poor. Dias and Laporte could play for any team in world football. To have them on the bench in place of Ake and Akanji, I found that really strange.”

Dias featured in 29/38 Premier League games last season (76%), amassing 2402/3420 minutes of playing time (70%). This season, the 25-year-old was a regular until late-October, starting in 10 of their first 11 league outings before being dropped. A hamstring injury suffered in December killed Dias’ chances of wrestling his place back, so he’s had to be patient.

Laporte featured in 33/38 Premier League games last season (86.8%), amassing 2834/3420 minutes of playing time (82.8%). This campaign, the 28-year-old has played in just five league outings after recovering from knee surgery while spending time on the bench due to competition from Dias, John Stones and Nathan Ake. They’ve all kept Laporte out of the starting lineup, so his future at City is uncertain.

Guardiola loves to rotate his players, but it is surprising to see key players from last season’s title triumph dropped.

In other news, Man City ‘fear’ losing ‘untouchable’ Rodri amid interest from Barcelona

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

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