Manchester City returned to the top of the Premier League table on Monday after beating Tottenham 1-0 at Wembley thanks to a Riyad Mahrez goal, but the game could have so easily ended differently.
While they were, of course, able to keep a clean sheet in the end, Pep Guardiola’s men were not as defensively sound as they have been in most of their other matches this campaign with Benjamin Mendy struggling particularly on the night.
The Frenchman, however, has still been largely impressive this season overall alongside his counterpart on the right Kyle Walker.
Out of the two, though, who is Manchester City’s most important full-back?
Having arrived from AS Monaco for £52m last summer (via BBC Sport), much was expected of Mendy. The France international, however, was unable to offer his new club much in their record-breaking Premier League season after picking up a knee ligament injury early into the campaign.
But since recovering from that injury, Mendy has go on to show his worth to the team and why Manchester City decided to fork out so much money on him.
When bombing forward, Mendy gives Guardiola’s side another option in attack, providing a viable outlet on the flank to his team-mates when things are becoming too congested in the central areas of the pitch.
From there, the former Monaco man is able to deliver accurate crosses into the box — both on the ground or aerially — and has already managed to rack up five Premier League assists so far this season from doing so.
TT Grade: A-
Like Mendy, Walker also arrived at the Etihad last summer for big money and has become a big part of how Manchester City attack.
Last season, the 28-year-old provided six assists from right-back while this term he netted the winning goal in his side’s 2-1 win over Newcastle United back in September.
Most importantly, though, Walker’s defending has been solid. Under Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, the England international had always shown that he was a very capable defender with his abundance of pace and aggressive tackling being the attributes that stood out most when assessing him.
But since moving to the Premier League champions to work with Guardiola, Walker appears to have gone up another level.
In the Premier League, there is not a more complete right-back than the Manchester City man.
TT Grade: A
In Mendy and Walker, Manchester City easily have the strongest full-back pairing in the Premier League and by some distance.
The left-back and right-back have both sides of the game on lock and add a different dimension to the team.
But comparing the two, Walker has simply been the more reliable individual with Mendy’s fitness and discipline coming into question.
As well as that, Walker also comes across as the better defender in 1v1 situations out of the Manchester City duo.
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