Former football player Danny Murphy said that Manchester City's fading title hopes may be because of two players. The defending Premier League champions have seemed to have accepted defeat after falling 22 points behind League leaders Liverpool. Pep Guardiola's team has lost more matches in the 2019-20 season as compared to their previous title-winning campaign. The city has conceded defeat in a total of five matches this season after exposing their defensive crisis.
The club's defensive crisis started when Vincent Kompany left for Anderlecht and a suitable replacement was not signed in the transfer market and then Aymeric Laporte's injury kept him out of action from the end of August 2019 to end of January 2020. The above-mentioned departures and injuries was highlighted by Murphy as one of the main reasons behind the defending champions failing to clinch a third consecutive Premier League title.
According to reports, he said that fighting to clinch the winner's spot in three tournaments despite failing to catch up to Liverpool and defend their title is a reflection of a good team spirit and mindset amongst the players and the club alike. He further added that Kompany's departure and Laporte's injury could be one of the reasons for City's fall in form.
Laporte made a return by playing in City's match against Sheffield United on January 21 but did not play in their 1-0 defeat against Manchester United. Guardiola said that it was because of tiredness, adding that he might play against Tottenham but if not then there is a chance of him playing against West Ham on February 9.
Manchester United travelled to the Etihad Stadium for their second-leg Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Manchester City on January 29. Pep Guardiola's side won the first-leg 1-3 and it was a mountain to climb for Man Utd in the away leg. Manchester United lifted their standard against the strong Manchester City line-up as they went on to win the game 1-0 thanks to Nemanja Matic's strike. The win wasn't enough to guide the red half of Manchester to the Carabao Cup final. Man City booked the final spot as the clash ended (3-2) on aggregate in favour of the blues.
Pep Guardiola, in a post-match interview, with British media was quoted saying "Lindelof I saw him in Benfica, Luke Shaw is an incredible type of player, Maguire, one of the best central defenders in the world." United's backline was rock solid to stop the lethal Man City attackers from scoring.
(with inputs from agencies)