A reminder that tangible change is unlikely to occur in the space of a month. Manchester City were never going to eradicate their deficiencies during a non-existent pre-season.
There will be a number of teams, not least champions Liverpool, who observed Leicester City’s plan at the Etihad Stadium with relish.
Stay narrow when defending, so narrow that a parachute could cover all ten outfield players behind the ball, and wait for attacking opportunities on the break.
Manchester City fell apart defensively giving away three penalties in a 5-2 defeat to Leicester
Jamie Vardy scored twice from the spot and scored a brilliant second to bag himself a hat-trick
Countering chances are plentiful against City and Jamie Vardy is perhaps the finest exponent of those in the division.
He led the sluggish Eric Garcia a merry dance and, although City’s defensive frailties were again worryingly apparent, Leicester were allowed to impact this game on the back of a passive 25 minutes after the hosts took the lead.
Brendan Rodgers’ side sat in, held their nerve in a rigid 5-4-1 formation safe in the knowledge that their moments would arrive. City were frustrated, playing too horizontally in midfield against two banks of five.
They barely registered a chance of genuine note following Riyad Mahrez’s stunning fourth-minute opener. Again, more than 75 per cent of the possession in that period and again, Kasper Schmeichel not really producing a save worth discussing.
There is mitigation here, City without a recognised senior striker, Sergio Aguero and Gabriel Jesus out injured.
Bernardo Silva is absent as well. But there was more than enough on that pitch to break Leicester down and, if we are honest, Aguero’s inclusion is unlikely to have altered this much.
Leicester had the blueprints for victory. Those who took points at the Etihad last year – Tottenham, Wolves, Manchester United, Crystal Palace – all had the same idea as Rodgers.
Eric Garcia was one of three Manchester City defenders to give a penalty away in their defeat
Catch City a little lacklustre in attack and the defence might well be generous with the space to break at pace.
Even so, this was the most staggering home defeat of Guardiola’s tenure.
Quite how a team can concede five at home after boasting so much of the ball defies logic. Garcia, Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy will rue individual mistakes.
Ruben Dias is expected to arrive at City in the coming hours after waving goodbye to Benfica on Saturday, another new central defender signed under Pep Guardiola.
Ruben Dias is expected to arrive at City and the club will hope he can improve their fortunes
Dias will cost in the region of £64million, with Nicolas Otamendi going the other way for around £14m.
The 23-year-old simply cannot correct the ills by himself. What Guardiola must hope for is that both Dias and Aymeric Laporte stay fit so he can finally have something of a consistency in selection.
The issues are deep-rooted, however, and it would be unfair to expect Dias to drastically improve them immediately.
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