Manchester City have started the season in good form, as the team prepares to make history once again by defending both the Premier League and European crowns. Although results on the pitch have been good, the team has experienced mixed fortunes early on.
It has been depleted due to outgoings during the transfer window. But even worse than that has been the injury suffered by Kevin De Bruyne that will keep the midfielder sidelined for a significant portion of the season. Erling Haaland may have become the main source for goals these days but De Bruyne remains the engine room for creating them.
So far, the team has not missed the talisman, but with more difficult fixtures (including the Champions League) coming in the next few weeks and months, his absence will definitely be felt.
It is noteworthy that Guardiola made no substitution in the game against Newcastle at the Etihad Stadium, a game in which City struggled to secure a 1-0 victory. Although Eddie Howe’s Newcastle have been on the rise and are one of the best coached teams in the division at the moment, they are still not at City’s level.
At full strength the Blues are still expected to beat the Magpies, especially at the Etihad Stadium. But the team found it very difficult to open up the opponent’s defence. And at times when there could have been changes to refresh the team, the bench was ill-equipped to provide the needed answer.
The situation was so bad that at one point in the game, Guardiola was seen having a friendly argument with a concerned City fan who voiced his dissatisfaction with the manager’s decisions in the game. But his decision not to make any substitutions must have been forced as they were mostly youngsters on the substitutes bench.
The City boss has, however, publicly stated that the club will need to make some important decisions with regard to new signings before the close of the transfer window. Bringing in some fresh legs will put the team in a good position to achieve its goals for the campaign.
With Belgian winger Jeremy Doku now secured to replace Riyad Mahrez, the club is also working on one or two more targets. These additions are expected to add depth to the squad in preparation for another grueling season. That depth will be vital if the team is to make this another history-making campaign.