Manchester City’s defensive problems could cost them their title

Manchester City’s 2-0 defeat to Wolves on Sunday highlighted the defensive issues that have emerged this season, writes Adam Bate

“It was a bad day,” said Pep Guardiola. “They sometimes happen.” The problem for Manchester City is that they cannot afford too many more of them. Guardiola’s side are already eight points behind Liverpool after eight games. It is the biggest advantage any team has ever had at this stage of a Premier League season. The pressure is on the champions.

The biggest concern for Manchester City supporters is not that Liverpool’s lead is insurmountable. It is that there is no guarantee there will not be a repeat of defeats like the one against Wolves. The fear is that the problem is with the personnel. Relying on a centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and Fernandinho feels unsustainable.

Otamendi, in particular, was made to look foolish against Wolves. He had a warning early on with a stray pass and he was later twice put on his backside by Raul Jimenez. Given that Guardiola had previously admitted this partnership was problematic because of their age, it might have made for an obvious explanation for the result.

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