What has happened to Manchester City’s right-hand side? A tactical shift this season has seen City overload the left and central positions with Kyle Walker playing a hybrid role between a full-back and a winger. The problem was evident during City’s 2-1 loss to Wolves.
As City’s game against Wolves developed, the problem with City’s right-hand side became alarming. City had no threat at all down the right until Jeremy Doku was shifted to the right wing as City chased an equalizer. Phil Foden began wide on the right but drifted in field. Foden drifting in field directly caused the Wolves opener. Mateo Kovacic attempted a straightforward pass which hit Foden and sparked the break which Pedro Neto took full advantage of. His bursting run resulted in a Ruben Dias own goal, but the problem started with Foden drifting in field.
The problem persisted as the game wore on. A determined Wolves defence succeeded in frustrating City. With City attacking through the middle or predominantly on the left wing, Wolves knew how to stifle City’s attacks. It was too easy to read for Gary O’Neil’s side as they frustrated the treble winners. They successfully reduced Erling Haaland to a spectator as the game unfolded.
Credit must go to Wolves for their set-up and application to their game plan. But one can’t help but wonder if City had any semblance of a threat on the right-hand side if the game would’ve gone differently.
Bernardo Silva’s injury and the use of Kyle Walker have changed how City attack down the right-hand side. That added to the departure of Riyad Mahrez has changed the dynamic of the treble winner’s attack. As the season progresses it will be interesting to see if Pep Guardiola changes what is happening with Manchester City’s right-hand side.