Why Pep Guardiola Must Be Prepared To Drop Manchester City Star Ahead of Crucial Manchester United Clash
Manchester City have resumed exactly where they left off last season by beginning their new campaign on all fronts in scintillating fashion, recording their best ever start to the season.
However, with the Manchester Derby around the corner and a contested Christmas fixture list, Pep Guardiola must be prepared to drop one star who could prove to be detrimental to the Premier League champions immediate potential successes.
Against Tottenham Hotspur this week, left-back Benjamin Mendy once again proved that he has the talent to fit easily within this squad, but has the temperament to prove costly to Guardiola’s rampantly determined side.
For the majority of the match, Manchester City were in complete control at Wembley, although fluffed lines by David Silva and Sergio Aguero should have put the result beyond all doubt. Riyad Mahrez scored the vital goal after just six minutes, but one of the major talking points involved Mendy and Lilywhites forward Erik Lamela
Midway through the match, after chasing the ball Lamela appeared to tussle with Mendy and catch the City defender on the back of the head. Deliberate provocation on the Argentine’s part is still up for debate, but Mendy’s obvious response, though comical in it’s complete lack of connection, has lead to calls for a ban for its intent. A furious swing by the Frenchman was visible and even more shocking in the television replays.
The FA stipulate that officials could deem the offence to be violent conduct as the rules include both 'attempting to use brutality' or 'attempting to strike an opponent’. However, no ban has been forthcoming.
Mendy obviously has an abundance of talent and is already going far to repay the astronomical £52,000,000 fee City had to pay to acquire him from AS Monaco a season ago.
However, recent issues between City’s Spanish manager and Mendy have recently come to the fore, with Guardiola instructing him to stay away from his reoccupation with social media and scolding him for turning up to training having attended Anthony Joshua’s fight at Wembley.
The Frenchman missed the majority of last season through a cruciate ligament rupture , only making a total of seven Premier League appearances, a figure he’s already equalled this campaign, and already has five assists this season to his name.
In less than two weeks time, the Blues welcome fierce cross-city rivals Manchester United to the Etihad.
With United starting to improve and show some coherency within their pack - undefeated in three games including a tough encounter with Chelsea at Stamford Bridge - the Citizens know full well that the Red Devils can hurt them despite the disparity between their league positions at present.
Back in April, Jose Mourinho’s United stunned the Premier League champions elect to produce the most remarkable, wonderful comeback to inflict City first home defeat of the season and put their celebrations on ice.
Mourinho - the charismatic goader that he is - will be aware of Mendy’s recent conduct and most certainly look to exploit it. This won’t be an advantage his counterpart Pep would like to easily afford him. With a sure to be feisty encounter, one mistaken retribution from a slight provocation on Mendy could end up costing the Blues in their most determined match to play so far this season. Putting faith in the retuning Fabian Delph or the young Oleksandr Zinchenko in his place may prove to be the more sensible option.