Pep Guardiola has a plethora of attacking options available to him next season
When the Brazilian wonder kid Gabriel Jesus joined Manchester City in January, the unthinkable happened: Sergio Aguero – the most prolific striker for the Sky Blues ever – was relegated to bench-warming duties to make way for the 20-year-old to lead the attack. With the former Palmeiras forward bagging an astonishing return of seven goals in ten games for his new club, many thought this would spell the end of Aguero’s reign at the Etihad. But club chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has confirmed that the Argentine is still a key figure at City. With other attackers shining and new signings on the radar, will this embarrassment of riches pose a problem for Pep Guardiola?
With Aguero’s highly impressive record of 122 goals in 188 league games for City, it would be logical to many that as one of the best strikers the Premier League has ever seen, he would be the first name on the team sheet. But Guardiola has shown that he is looking to the future with a much younger focal point to his attack. When all his attackers were free from injury last season, his preferred attacking line-up appeared to be a front three of Leroy Sane, Jesus, and Raheem Sterling, with Aguero deployed later in the game as a high impact sub.
When Jesus suffered his injury setback, Aguero returned to the tip of the trident and hit a purple patch that made him undroppable, leading Pep to experiment with the Argentine lining up alongside Jesus upon the Brazilian’s return to the fold. This was successful, but it meant that either Sterling or Sane was forced out of the starting XI. Already it seems that Pep will have his work cut out trying to please all these superstars.
Bookies don’t see this abundance of attacking riches as a bad thing, and sportsbooks and tipsters, including the blog at Sportsbet.io News, have placed City as favourites to lift the title in Guardiola’s second season at the helm. With City already making moves in the transfer market, an early punt may not be a bad idea.
From a different perspective, City’s wealth of options could actually pose some problems. The previous league winners Chelsea and Leicester City enjoyed success due to minimal rotation, but Pep will be forced to chop and change up front to please all his players. Throw in the fact that City have shown interest in Alexis Sanchez, who would occupy one of the three attacking positions as well, and there would appear to be too many quality players fighting for places.
In the grand scheme of things, there are worse problems to have than having too many top class players tussling for starts. And there is no doubt that the two-time Champions League winning manager knows what he is doing. Could Pep perhaps look to a change of formation to accommodate everyone? If so, fans may be in store for one of the most fearsome goalscoring units the league has ever seen.