‘Didn’t look comfortable…’ 🗣️
City fans were hoping to see their side get back to winning ways in the Midlands, after draws against Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
But City rocked up at Villa Park and were completely outplayed.
Unai Emery’s side were superior all over the pitch, and Pep Guardiola just didn’t have an answer. Josko Gvardiol had a torrid time against Leon Bailey, and City just never had any real grip of the game and could not break Villa down.
The dissection of yesterday’s performance and result is now in full swing, and some have pointed to the midfield setup as a reason for City struggling.
Martin Keown says Manuel Akanji didn’t look comfortable against Aston Villa
For last night’s game, Rodri was suspended for the visitors and that was something that proved very costly.
City never had any kind of control in the game, with John Stones being joined by Manuel Akanji in holding midfield.
Akanji has been used in this role several times now this season and it’s been a rather mixed bag for the Switzerland international.
Last night though, he was all over the place, with Keown saying on Match of the Day: “Akanji in midfield didn’t look comfortable. You want him in the backline, don’t you?
“They’ve lost that sprinkle of magic, haven’t they? Do you know where they just used to dominate games, just out you away, doesn’t matter what you threw at them. Now they look vulnerable, no win in four, you look what they’ve done in previous seasons. This, you would have, to say is a mini-crisis for Pep.”
Jury still out on Manuel Akanji playing midfield
It was such an off night for City last night, with no player able to claim they had a good performance.
Akanji struggled but so did the rest of his teammates.
The £180,000-a-week man has been a sensational signing for City since he came in from Borussia Dortmund in the summer of 2022, but the jury is still very much out on him playing this hybrid role.
He is not as technically strong as Stones and doesn’t move as elegantly.
He is a brilliant ball-playing defender though, and one wonders how much longer he will continue to get minutes playing higher up.