The return of Vincent Kompany and the signing of Gabriel Jesus strengthen the Blues
We've reached that time of the year where it can be make or break for a club’s season; and for City that's definitely the case. With the team currently embroiled in a battle for fourth spot and the title seemingly out of reach, the two legged Champions League tie against Monaco over the coming weeks is looking crucial.
The good news is that a couple of crucial players will be back in the fold; the bad news is there are still some notable weaknesses in the side. So, heading into this important part of the season, what kind of shape is the City squad in?
Many people had City down as Premier League favourites at the start of the season. In fact, if you’d have used a code similar to the bonus for Matchbook – you might have got enhanced odds of up to 8/1 before a ball was kicked. Whilst this seemed incredible value at the time, it doesn’t look that great now.
In good Kompany
For the duration of the season now City have looked shaky at the back; and that can largely be attributed to the absence of Vincent Kompany for the most part. However, the Belgian skipper managed a full 90 minutes recently against Crystal Palace in the FA Cup and there has been no talk of a reoccurrence of any of his long list of injury problems.
There's no doubt that City looks a lot more solid with Kompany present, but if he is to stay fit then that poses the question of who should partner him at the back? Otamendi has arguably been the best of the other defenders this season, Kolarov seems to be a favourite of Pep's and John Stones cost £50 million in the summer; it's a tough decision for Guardiola to make.
One option that could work for City with Kompany available is a back 3. Deploying this formation would also combat the ongoing issue with the full-backs.
The impact of Gabriel Jesus
The January signing has hit the ground running and is already looking a bargain at £27 million. His pace, strength and vision are already evident after just a handful of minutes and he'll surely improve given time.
His introduction to the squad means that there won't be as much pressure placed upon Sergio Aguero to lead the line. This was clear during the 3-0 victory over Crystal Palace in the FA Cup in which Aguero was omitted from the match day squad and Jesus shone in his absence.
Another promising sign is that the Brazilian seems to have already struck up a great relationship with wide players Sane and Sterling. Could that front 3 be the future of City's attack?
What is this squad capable of in the next few months?
Despite losing Gundogan to injury shortly before the Christmas period, with the acquisition of Gabriel Jesus and the return of Kompany it could be argued that City's squad is now stronger than it was at the start of the season.
Although recent results may not suggest it, performances over the last few games have been reminiscent of the early season form that saw City win 10 games in a row. Another winning run like that looks like it could be on the horizon and if so, there's no knowing where City may end up come May.