With the incredible attacking prowess in Premier League title hopefuls Manchester City’s final third, it seems like Manuel Pellegrini’s men are odds-on to become English champions once more if they can sort out their defence.
A recent 4-1 defeat at the hands of Tottenham at White Hart Lane exposed the frailties of the Etihad Stadium outfit’s back four with captain Vincent Kompany missing, as centre-half remains a position of concern for the Chilean manager.
When the Belgian powerhouse is fit and available he is a natural selection in the heart of the team’s rearguard, but finding a suitable partner for him has been an issue for a number of years.
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The likes of Joleon Lescott, Stefan Savic and Matija Nastasic have been signed at significant expense but failed to pin down a slot alongside Kompany.
Of the current possibilities, it finally appears that Pellegrini has the strength of experience and quality options to turn City into a more miserly defensive side. Eliaquim Mangala failed to instil much confidence in the City fans last season with a number of shaky showings, but the France international is finally starting to live up to the potential he showed in his Porto days.
His form in the early days of the 2015-16 campaign, alongside Kompany, suggested that he was a worthy proponent of a starting XI place.
The summer signing of Argentine enforcer Nicolas Otamendi bolsters Pellegrini’s options further, with the former Valencia centre-half bringing aggression, experience and a solid positional sense to the club.
However, despite it looking on paper like it will either be Mangala or Otamendi that acts as a long-term partner for the club captain, Martin Demichelis continues to get his fair share of time on the pitch.
The veteran, who turns 35 later this year, is still included in the Argentina national set-up and is clearly adjudged by Pellegrini to be someone he can count upon.
That said, the experienced defender appears to be showing his age of late, with Demichelis run ragged by a buoyant Tottenham attack at White Hart Lane recently.
The former La Liga stalwart’s lack of pace is out of place in a City team that is full of speed, with his inadequacies in this area meaning more covering play being necessary by his centre-half partner.
Against Spurs, Otamendi was at capacity and exposed also as he tried to make amends for his compatriot’s inability to deal with Tottenham’s movement in the final third.
As such, in a star-studded team that has taken hundreds of millions of pounds to assimilate and boasts players in the highest echelon of the global game, Demichelis is now starting to look out of place.
An experienced player that can boast a career’s worth of achievements, it appears that time has caught up with the central defender and he is now more of a liability than an asset for a team with little margin for error.