Manchester City’s defensive record was the best in the Premier League each of the past three seasons. Under former Manager Roberto Mancini, the club may not have played the most attractive style of football but tactical shape and defensive organization were considered the keys to success. However this season under new Manager Manuel Pellegrini and without Captain Vincent Kompany for almost the entire campaign, the Blues are struggling at the back, conceding seemingly countless opportunities to the opposition. Wednesday’s 4-2 victory over Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League saw the Czech side create countless opportunities and City had to rely heavily on the heroics of Joe Hart to salvage a victory.
It has been easy to point to the back line as a problem for the team but perhaps the problems lie deeper.
Midfielder Samir Nasri told the Manchester Evening News the following:
“We need to improve how we defend as a team. We conceded two goals. In the last game in the Champions League we conceded two as well and (against) Bayern Munich three.
“We need to improve, as a team, how to defend, especially in the Champions League. Then, if we can continue this form, it will be amazing.”
Post-match Pellegrini echoed Nasri’s sentiments.
“We can attack and we can score four goals, but without giving (away) as many chances as we did today in defending.
“One of the most important things to be an attacking team is to know how to defend well. Today we did very, very bad.
“I am talking about the whole team. I think the whole team must know how to defend.
“We didn’t have the intensity or the pace today to do it and I am not talking about individual players.”
Where do City’s defensive woes lie? Too many attack minded players not marking properly? A shambolic back line who have been unable to function without Kompany? A messy goalkeeper situation? All of the above?
What are the thoughts of World Soccer Talk readers?