Man City’s Nicolas Otamendi
With competition fierce for a place within Manchester City’s backline, Nicolas Otamendi, who was so instrumental towards the team’s double-winning campaign last season, has had to be content with reduced gametime.
Seeing as John Stones and Aymeric Laporte have been Pep Guardiola’s preferred pairing, and Vincent Kompany still performing nicely, this has meant the burly Argentine has featured on just seven occasions. But every time he’s been called upon, he’s importantly acquitted himself with polish, showing no signs of letting his tremendous, consistent form of last season slip, where he racked up 46 appearances.
While he’s surely feeling some frustration about his plight, his recent comments evidence how he’s handling the situation with patience, understanding, humility and a team-first approach. “There’s been some signings and there are some youngsters who are fitting in well. It’s a squad where anyone could be in the starting eleven,” he told City’s official website.
“It’s true I couldn’t play in the first five games, but Pep takes those decisions and we have to do our best to be ready. I’ve been playing more lately, but I think it will be a long season, with some healthy competition within the team.”
In the prime of his career, the 30-year-old’s unquestionably a brilliant asset to call upon for Guardiola, however. Whether playing from the outset or coming off the bench, his experience, leadership, and aggression ensure his presence is always felt whenever he enters the field.
Defensively, the man who’s improved out of sight since Guardiola’s arrival, completes his work with smarts and conviction. Never one to shy away from a physical confrontation, Otamendi astutely times his challenges with an effective blend of intelligence and aggression. Indeed, the Argentine has importantly exercised sound judgement when to hold his post, cover a teammate or swiftly step up to apply pressure. This compartment of his armoury has held particular significance considering City play with a high line, which can enhance the ramifications of any mistakes.
Strong and intimidating, the burly stopper relishes battles of strength, both in the air and ground, with his determination and commitment ensuring he’s a challenging, imposing opponent to face off against.
Fearsome in aerial duels, Otamendi does a tidy job of quickly picking up the ball’s trajectory so he can deal with these scenarios in a coherent, assured fashion.
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Statistically speaking, his two tackles per game, 3.7 pg clearances, 1.7 interceptions pg and 2.3 won aerial battles pg illustrate his stopping prowess.
As was the case last crusade, the former Valencia and FC Porto warrior has contributed successfully in the Citizens’ offensive phase. Through his range of passing, vision and capacity to distribute cleanly in spite of pressure, he’s impacted admirably here too. Incisive, precise and full of confidence, his expertise in this regard sees him able to construct, animate and add momentum to City’s forward forays.
His purposeful ball carrying exploits are another weapon of is, for he uses this take advantage of spaces ahead to then subsequently provoke a pressing action from an opponent midfielder, which frequently creates the conditions to find a free man further upfield.
When discussing on Man City’s website what makes the bearded destroyer such a terrific player, Guardiola gave a fascinating insight into how highly he rates him, saying: “Character. The courage. Wins duels. Plays injured, it doesn’t matter, always is there. He’s one of the best players in the build-up and now he is a master.”
Although he’s not an undisputed starter at the moment, Otamendi’s qualities are certainly not lost on anyone at City. Respected, mentally formidable, an exemplary teammate and a wonderful footballer, Otamendi’s always ready whenever he gets the call to do everything he can to help his team.
Preview by: licencetoroam.
Let’s see if Nicolas Otamendi and the rest of Manchester City can keep their perfect Premier League run as they host Southampton this weekend. Watch out more of this Argentine centre back on City’s upcoming football showdowns! Register with VOdds or contact us through Skype to place your football and other sports bets.
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