Monday, January 16, 2017

Could injury crisis cost Manchester City the Premier League title?

Crippy Cooke in Editorial, English Premier League 27 Nov 2015

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Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini faces pressure to pick up results with a weakened side

Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini faces pressure to pick up results with a weakened side

Manchester City suffered defeat to Juventus in the Champions League on Wednesday night, and lost more than pride in Turin with goalkeeper Joe Hart coming off late in the 1-0 loss with a hamstring injury.

The English international was replaced by Willy Caballero in the 81st minute, and is expected to miss this weekend’s Premier League clash with Southampton. With the Sky Blues having picked up only three wins from eight in the top flight, Hart’s absence couldn’t come at a worse time.

“He has a hamstring problem. We hope we don’t lose him, but if for some reason he cannot play I have trust in Willy Caballero. It is impossible to know how serious Hart’s injury is. He has a problem with his hamstring. He has been carrying a problem in his back for the week,” said Pellegrini in the aftermath of this week’s defeat to Juventus. The 28-year-old joins a growing number of players currently sidelined for the Sky Blues, and so many absences could greatly hamper their chances of success this season.

Manchester City’s injury list

Joe Hart (hamstring)
Pablo Zabaleta (knee)
Eliaquim Mangala (knock)
Vincent Kompany (calf)
Samir Nasri (hamstring)
David Silva (ankle)
Wilfried Bony (hamstring)

Manchester City have suffered a dip in form in the last two months, losing three and drawing two of their last eight games, and have been beaten twice in their own backyard during this time too. They were leading the way until November, and are now two points adrift in third. Having so many influential players out of action certainly isn’t helping their cause, with the Sky Blues having lost three of the four Premier League games Vincent Kompany hasn’t made the matchday squad this season. It’s perhaps no coincidence that City have won seven, drawn two and conceded one goal in the seven games they have had the Belgian international at the heart of the defence.

Losing Joe Hart, who has been largely outstanding between the sticks for club and country, is a big blow. Caballero doesn’t come close to the England international, and without Kompany in the defence either, opposition sides will be looking to take advantage of all the absentees. Playmaker David Silva was scoring or creating one goal on average per league game before he picked up lengthy injury, and Zabeleta’s absence has seen Sagna very inconsistent as his replacement.

In attack, Bony struggled for goals while Aguero was out of action, and for a short time Pellegrini was without the pair of centre-forwards due to injury. Manchester City have dropped points in four of their last six games in all competitions, and have half a team currently sidelined. Could it cost them the title?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Crippy Cooke


Crippy Cooke has somehow written for the Telegraph, Independent, Huffington Post, Zoo Magazine, Daily Mail, ITV Football, MSN Sport, Yahoo Sport, London24 and Bleacher Report among others, despite knowing less about football than your average Fan TV member . The weekly accumulator enthusiast is saving up his winnings to pay for a much-needed hair transplant but grows more on his chin than his head. He lives and breathes football and somehow makes a living writing from it.

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