Manchester City supporters have been in fine voice in recent times after seeing their side get their Champions League campaign off and running on Tuesday night.
Pep Guardiola’s men went into their encounter with Hoffenheim under pressure having lost their opening group stage match to Lyon a few weeks earlier, and thus needing all three points to give themselves a foothold in Group F. And the Citizens did just that as goals from Sergio Aguero and David Silva saw them come from behind to seal a 2-1 success on Tuesday night, thus moving them up to second place in the group.
As such, there have been many thrilled City fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be intrigued by recent comments from Sky Sports journalist Nick Wright, who has identified Benjamin Mendy as the key man for Guardiola’s side in their trip to Liverpool on Sunday, stating that his possible return to the line-up could be ‘Guardiola’s best chance of getting a result’.
And given what the France international offers down the left-hand-side, both offensively and indeed defensively, Wright is absolutely spot on to underline the importance of the 23-year-old ahead of this weekend’s clash between the two Premier League title rivals.
Ultimately, Mendy made the move to the Etihad Stadium last summer after hugely impressing at Monaco, and he made a fine start to life in English football before sustaining a knee injury against Crystal Palace in September 2017, which then ruled him out for the majority of the season.
And that meant that the left back missed all three of City’s defeats against Jurgen Klopp’s men in the second half of last season, with Guardiola starting Fabian Delph in that position in the league loss at Anfield, before utilising centre back Aymeric Laporte down the left side in their 3-0 Champions League defeat on Merseyside.
And on both occasions, and indeed Liverpool’s 2-1 success at the Etihad Stadium in April, it was clear that Klopp’s side sought to exploit that weakness down the left-hand-side – as Wright accurately points out, no replacement for Mendy is ‘capable of reproducing the speed and directness’ like the 23-year-old.
Thus, it’s pretty clear that, in the one victory the Citizens had over Liverpool last season, even if the 5-0 scoreline was slightly skewed by the early red card to Sadio Mane, Mendy played a vital role, and in their three subsequent defeats, the Frenchman was unavailable due to injury – that alone suggests that he is crucial to City’s chances this weekend.
Yes, it remains to be seen whether the 23-year-old does indeed play given recent injury concerns, but if he is indeed available for selection, he’s someone Guardiola may need to turn to in a bid to get one over on opposite number Klopp.
Thus, Wright is spot on to identify Mendy as the key man for City in their trip to Anfield on Sunday.
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