During the late stages of Manchester City’s 2-all draw with Crystal Palace, it became apparent that the champion’s lack of on-field leadership appears to be costing Manchester City. In seasons past if the treble winners were 2-nil up at home, they’d control the game and cruise to victory. Now that isn’t the case. It does appear that Pep Guardiola’s side lacks leadership in crucial moments.
Once Jean-Philippe Mateta pulled a goal back for Palace it felt inevitable that Roy Hodgson’s side would equalise. In each of City’s last two Premier League games at the Etihad, they’ve thrown away a lead late on. Liverpool and Tottenham fought back to earn a point, and now Palace have snatched points off Pep Guardiola’s side.
Once Crystal Palace pulled a goal back Manchester City needed someone to stand up and take the reigns to calm the side down. In previous seasons Ilkay Gundogan, Vincent Kompany or Fernandinho would lift those around them to see the job through.
As it stands currently Pep Guardiola’s side does appear to lack a leader in that mould to lift the team when it’s required. Kyle Walker has been captain while Kevin De Bruyne has been out injured but he isn’t the same type of leader as Gundogan, Kompany or Fernandinho. Ruben Dias has the potential to be an inspirational leader but he has battled poor form so far this season. While the treble winner’s side has the quality it does appear to lack on-field leadership when games turn against them.
Kevin De Bruyne is due to return from injury in the next few weeks. He has the leadership skills to fill the void but he needs to return and get his form back. Pep Guardiola’s side can’t rely on De Bruyne to solve every issue.
The lack of on-field leadership is costing City currently. They need the entire team to step up and solve the issue as a collective rather than rely on someone else to do it for them.