Why Pep Guardiola must change Man City youth strategy…

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When it rains it pours and Manchester City’s injury record has been as torrential as an autumn Manchester day so far this season.

Similar to how last year’s dreary drudge to second place and just a Carabao Cup trophy started, Pep Guardiola has not once been able to call upon a fully fit City squad so far this season.

A disruptive and short pre-season combined with a hectic and crammed fixture schedule, as well as the small matter of a global pandemic, has been the perfect recipe for niggles and knocks, which have continued to plague City throughout the season. At various points this season so far the Blues have been without Sergio Aguero, Kevin De Bruyne, Aymeric Laporte, Nathan Ake, Gabriel Jesus, Fernandinho, Joao Cancelo, Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy, Ilkay Gundogan, Eric Garcia, John Stones, and Aleks Zinchenko.

That is not to mention Ruben Dias wasn’t at Guardiola’s disposal until the fifth game of the campaign as he wasn’t signed, so it’s understandable why City’s results have been so erratic, why they have been lacking their usual efficiency in blowing teams away. If there’s no consistency off the pitch, it’s difficult for there to be any on it.

City are by no means the only team feeling the impact of this, and it could make for one of the most exciting seasons since Leicester lifted the trophy, but that isn’t any good news for the Blues.

There was some brief respite with the return of Aguero in the 1-0 victory against Arsenal. The Argentine hadn’t played since June 22 — just his first start since football resumed again — after he suffered a knee injury against Burnley, which required surgery. He looked sharp and fit in his 65 minutes and started again the following Wednesday against Porto, notching his first goal of the season from the penalty spot.

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