The versatility of the Manchester City squad is a crucial aspect of the club’s continued success. It was again on show during their 1-nil win over Tottenham in last night’s FA Cup fourth-round tie.
Pep Guardiola lined up with a familiar starting lineup at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last night. The thought was when the lineup was announced that Foden would play centrally and Bernardo Silva would line up on the right wing. It had been the tried and tested formula during City’s 6-game-winning run before their midseason break.
But as the game began it was clear from the outset that Bernardo Silva was going to drop deep to help the FA Cup holders when they had possession. It was a managerial masterstroke from Pep Guardiola as the performance of Bernardo Silva helped his side control midfield. Against a Tottenham side that also craves possession City’s midfield dominance was a key factor in their win.
Phil Foden also had a free role across the centre of the pitch. Playing in a more advanced role than Bernardo he showed his quality and work rate. While his final product wasn’t up to his usual high standards his work rate helped the champions press Tottenham at the back. It unsettled Ange Postecoglu’s side across the 90 minutes and almost provided the opening goal before Ake’s winner. Foden set up a golden chance for Kevin De Bruyne after he pressured Højbjerg into an error in his own box. Unfortunately, De Bruyne fired a glorious chance wide.
The versatility of the Manchester City squad is an underrated weapon of the treble winners. No role is beneath any of the City stars and they all will do what is asked of them by Guardiola. Its importance was again on show during last night’s win.