Brilliant Rodri keeps proving his worth for Manchester City

Manchester City drew 1-1 with Chelsea at the Etihad Stadium in a Premier League match last Saturday. The draw meant that they are in the third position in the league table with 53 points from 24 matches.

The Cityzens, who had 31 shots and 71% ball-possession in the match, must have been disappointed having to share points with Chelsea, as they had to do the same in the reverse fixture at Stamford Bridge. However, the fact that they were able to salvage points through an equalizer by Rodri must have appeared Pep Guardiola to some extent.

Rodri continues to excel for Manchester City

Rodri, who has probably been the best defensive midfielder in the world for the last few seasons, is also probably the most important player for the Cityzens, even keeping Kevin de Bruyne and Erling Haaland in mind. The 27-year-old Spaniard, known for his fantastic long passes, has now scored seven times for Manchester City this season.
City found it difficult to get past an excellent Chelsea defence on Saturday, and the only way left for them to score was through a shot from the edge of the penalty box, probably by either of de Bruyne or Rodri. Ultimately, it was the latter who managed to equalize for the English and European champions.
His goal, scored with a wonderful left-footed shot from just outside the Chelsea penalty box, was reminiscent of the way he scored the match-winner against Inter Milan in the last UEFA Champions League final.
Needless to say that his ability to score important goals is an asset for his club and further enhances his reputation as a player by complementing his superb defensive skills.

It is necessary for Manchester City to deal with counter-attacks

It is a three-horse race for the Premier League title this season, with only four points separating the top three teams. Manchester City, in fact, has a match in hand and are third at the moment with 53 points from 24 matches.

Thus, they are only four points adrift of Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool. Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal have also been in fine firm of late and will fancy their chances of winning their first league title in 20 years.

As the season enters into its final few months, the role of someone like Rodri, who is probably the best in the world in his playing position, becomes even more important. Guardiola will rely a great deal on him in vital matches, as the Spaniard has both the experience and ability to shine in them.

However, there is a conundrum there for Guardiola to solve. Manchester City is often likely to come up against teams with ultra-defensive approach, who will prefer to play for a point. In such a scenario, the Cityzens will have to become more aggressive in their approach. Hence, they will need Rodri to adopt a more advanced position in an attempt to score goals.

Moreover, Kyle Walker is also supposed to overlap in such a scenario, meaning that there will only be the two-centre backs inside their half to deal with any counter-attack. The two central defenders might find themselves vulnerable against such attacks.

Hence, the other defensive midfielder in City’s double-pivot in their formation of 3-2-2-3 will have to shoulder more responsibility in foiling the counter-attacks. Manuel Akanji partnered Rodri in the midfield against Chelsea, and should have been more cautious to deal with the Blues’ counter-attacks, one of which fetched them their goal.

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