Manchester City supporters have been making a lot of noise in recent times after seeing their team get back to winning ways in the Premier League on Sunday.
Pep Guardiola’s men went into their meeting with Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium off the back of a surprise 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United in midweek, which saw them slip five points behind leaders Liverpool following their draw with Leicester City on Wednesday. Yet the Citizens cut that gap to just two points thanks to a Sergio Aguero-inspired 3-1 success over the Gunners, what with the Argentina international bagging a hat-trick as the North West outfit secured their 19th Premier League victory of the campaign.
As such, there have been many thrilled City fans up and down the country in recent times, several of whom are likely to be full of praise for striker Aguero for producing the goods on Sunday, netting his tenth Premier League hat-trick to sit just one behind Alan Shearer on that particular list.
And while the striker was once again outstanding in the opposition’s penalty area, it was left back Aymeric Laporte, a centre back by trade, who was the real inspiration behind the Citizens’ success over Unai Emery’s side.
Ultimately, Guardiola shuffled his defence around with Fernandinho coming in at centre back alongside Nicolas Otamendi and Laporte being shifted over to left back, with the Frenchman having delivered there before this season, most notably against Liverpool last month, to suggest that he had what it took to again produce the goods.
And produce the goods he did with another excellent display for the defending league champions, with the 24-year-old touching the ball more than any other City player over the course of the 90 minutes (100) to underline his constant involvement in proceedings (as per WhoScored).
And with a 93% pass success rate, completing 74 of the 80 passes he attempted during his time on the field, Laporte continues to go from strength to strength on the ball in retaining possession confidently, at the same time seeking to build attacks down the left-hand-side – after all, it was his cross which Aguero met to give City a 48-second lead.
And while his ability on the ball has never really been in doubt during his 12 month-stint at the Etihad Stadium, the 24-year-old is continuing to improve defensively as well with another fine effort off the ball in a slightly unfamiliar position against Arsenal.
The Frenchman, formerly of Athletic Bilbao, won a team-high five aerial duels against the Gunners to help negate that particular threat from the visitors, while he also won two of the three tackles he attempted to suggest that, whether on the floor or in the air, Laporte was a match for the Arsenal front men.
Add in three interceptions and two clearances, and the 24-year-old was invariably in the right place to help relieve the pressure on the City backline – pressure that certainly built as the first half wore on the more Arsenal grew into the game, only for Aguero’s goal before the break to completely stem the visitors’ momentum.
So while the Argentine will likely get all the plaudits from supporters and pundits alike, it was the exploits of £54 million-rated Laporte (as per Transfermarkt) which underlined him as the real inspiration behind City’s crucial victory over Arsenal on Sunday.
Man City and Arsenal fans… what do you think? Let us know!
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