Image source: AS/Sky Sports
Former Manchester United player Gary Neville claims that if John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi continue to pair up, Manchester City could hand Liverpool the Premier League title.
But Guardiola have no option as Aymeric Laporte suffered a knee injury which will keep the player out of action for five or six weeks.
“What will cost Manchester City the Premier League title is [their 68 per cent win ratio] when Stones and Otamendi play together,” said Neville.
“If these two play together, at their current rate, [City] won’t win the league. Since Laporte came to the club, Pep Guardiola has given up on this partnership [John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi].
“The last time they played together in a big game was when Liverpool beat Manchester City 4-3. Otamendi always gets caught as a centre-back. He never quickens up the attack, he’s always on his backside. He’s so not a Pep Guardiola-type centre-back.
“He’s rash. Pep Guardiola-type centre-backs are composed. Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, there was always a game too far where he’d say right that’s it you’re done.
“I think this is the game where Guardiola decided ‘right, that’s it you can’t play together’. They haven’t played together since this game. Laporte’s injury, [Vincent] Kompany leaving, not replacing him is a big problem for City.”
Neville’s words came before Pep Guardiola confirmed that John Stones will also be out as the player has been sidelined for a month.