Manchester City Manifesto: Week 5

Manchester City
MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 07: Caroline Weir of Manchester City celebrates after scoring her teams first goal during the Barclays FA Women's Super League match between Manchester City and Manchester United at Etihad Stadium on September 07, 2019 in Manchester, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matt McNulty/Manchester City via Getty Images)

Manchester City Women take centre stage in this week’s edition of the Manchester City Manifesto.  The Women played the first-ever women’s Manchester Derby on Saturday against newly-promoted Manchester United.  It was a game of two halves where the performance of two Cityzens shone above the rest.

Manchester City Women 1-0 Manchester United Women

This game really defined the description of a tale of two halves.  The entire first half it was Manchester United winning the ball high, getting on the front foot, and creating chances.  Manchester City could have been one or two goals down at halftime had it not been for Elle Roebuck’s heroics.

Roebuck was forced into multiple big first-half saves but one stood out above the rest.  The 19-year-old keeper was shuffling to her left on a ball floated in from the left-wing.  As the cross was met and directed back across goal, Roebuck sprung back to her right and with an outstretched right paw kept the score at zero.

It was one of many outstanding stops that Roebuck made in the first half to keep City in the game.  City is so fortunate to have her and currently injured England number one Karen Bardsley on their roster.  Roebuck has starred since Bardsley’s initial injury last season, and it looks like she’s aiming to keep that spot long term.

Caroline Weir Stars

But the game really turned when Caroline Weir took over.  The 24-year-old Scottish international came out for the second half on fire.  City made the choice to press the hell out of Manchester United in the second half and Weir was at the forefront.  Her impact pressing Manchester United’s backline is what earned City’s breakthrough.

And let’s be clear, it was Caroline Weir’s breakthrough.  She stole the ball in midfield, turned, controlled, and unleashed a rocket with her left foot into the far corner.  The ball sat up perfectly for a strike as pure as possible, and with that Weir vanquished Manchester United.

It’s a great way for Manchester City to start their FA Women’s Super League season.  And with a WSL record attendance of over 31,000 there to see it, all in all, it was a perfect start to the Manchester City Women’s season.

Aymeric Laporte Update

By now most reading will know that Manchester City centre-back Aymeric Laporte suffered a torn meniscus in the game against Brighton last weekend.  Laporte, who has already had surgery, will be out until at least December, with Christmas looking like the target return date.  

In the aftermath of that news, many have begun to speculate what City’s next move should be.  There have been reports of multiple players being lined up for purchase; all of which are categorically false.  Man City may continue gathering information, but they are not going to sign anyone because of the injury to Laporte.

Manchester City Replacement Plan

What is going to happen is a lot more Fernandinho.  The Brazilian will be deployed at Centre-back almost exclusively until Laporte is back from injury.  It wouldn’t be surprising at all if this was the impotence to a permanent position switch. At the very least it is a tactical wrinkle Pep Guardiola can turn to at any time.

So for further notice, the centre-backs will be; Fernandinho, Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, and Eric Garcia.  Garcia is just 18-years-old but has continually impressed with play beyond his age. He played well in Spain’s U-21 games during the break and is reportedly going straight back to the senior squad training when he returns.

It does look like Pep will turn to Garcia before he chooses to play Kyle Walker at centre-back.  The arrival of Joao Cancelo, plus the nation ageing of Walker’s game has led to some suggestions of him playing centre-back.

This would have been a great opportunity to test that experiment, and it could still happen down the line.  But something else like another injury or poor performance would need to happen first. Pep has his centre-backs and he will stick with them through this Laporte injury.

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