GOOD NEWS: Pep Guardiola issues Rodri major boost ahead of Man City vs Arsenal

Football is never as straightforward as it appears. It’s a team game, and every action, good or bad, is always in relation to another player. Context is essential, and it’s not always just one man who makes all the difference. However, the gap between City’s performances with and without Rodri makes it appear to be the simplest thing in the world.

If you needed any more proof, Manchester City provided it with an assured, confident, and controlled performance with Rodri just four days after a frenetic, chaotic, and uncontrollable defeat against Wolves without him. With his suspension not following him to Europe, the Spaniard rejoined to the squad for the trip to RB Leipzig on Wednesday.

Rodri is Man City's midfield metronome - but he needs a rest | Daily Mail  Online

It wasn’t all plain sailing. Pep Guardiola’s team was caught off guard yet again by a swift counter for an equalizer, and it wasn’t until the 84th minute that they retook the lead. However, it was a far more dominant performance, with no panicky shoots from centre-backs from outside the box.
City were continuously getting into dangerous positions, retaining possession for lengthy amounts of time, and restricting Leipzig’s opportunities. Against the Wolves, they were constantly losing the ball after a few passes and getting caught in the transition.

City had the same amount of possession in both games, but made 170 more passes in Germany than at Molineux. Rodri completed 107 passes. Mateo Kovacic scored 48 points in Rodri’s absence against Wolves, and while playing only 65 minutes, he would have averaged just 18 more if he had played the entire game.

Rodri’s simple excellence in possession, his calming distribution, and tempo-setting activity clearly make City tick. He is the most important cog in the machine, even more so than the guy who has 60 goals in 64 games.

The issue is that he is once again unavailable for Sunday’s crucial match against Arsenal. The championship will not be decided in October, but momentum and confidence are crucial, and winning the first meeting between the top two contenders would be a major boost.

Rodri named best Champions League player of the season

Guardiola is now faced with a difficult dilemma, which he will most certainly mull over for the next several days: who should play Rodri’s role? No one knows the answer. Nobody other can do what he does. Nonetheless, the manager must locate a replacement.

Kovacic demonstrated against Wolves that he lacks the same tactical discipline to carry it out. Kalvin Phillips is a committed holding midfielder who will almost definitely not be selected.

In a match of this magnitude, nod. Matheus Nunes has been assigned as a more aggressive outlet.
Rico Lewis is a strong contender. The teenager was outstanding in midfield against Leipzig, and he may have been as important to the victory as Rodri. But this was in an advanced capacity, not a defensive one.

So Bernardo Silva is the most likely candidate. The Portuguese playmaker returned to the right wing on Wednesday and hasn’t missed a beat during his absence.

Bernardo has excelled in all positions while typically playing in the forward position. Guardiola believes in him because of his immaculate decision-making, cool passing, and ability to work in tight areas. As a one-time occurrence amid dire circumstances,

, he may be the most appealing choice for taking what he does deeper into the midfield.
Bernardo, then Kovacic, Nunes, or Lewis appear to be the most likely possibilities for the trip to the Emirates, but Guardiola has one more wildcard option to consider – John Stones.

Pep Guardiola hopeful John Stones will return for Manchester City soon |  beIN SPORTS
Stones was back in the match squad for the first time since the Community Shield defeat to the Gunners on Wednesday, joining Bernardo. The centre-back did not play, but his comeback is a significant boost.

Stones’ development as a midfielder was crucial to City’s treble win. Despite starting in the back four, Stones would go towards midfield while the ball was in play to create another passing lane and to try to prevent counter-attacks. However, as his confidence rose, so did his ability in the middle, to the point where he was dominating games with his passing and becoming more daring.

Stones has demonstrated all of the characteristics required to play in Rodri’s role, including exceptional game reading, vital interventions, and excellent ball control. He always had Rodri by his side, which made it simpler, and he has yet to play a minute of football this season.

It’s doubtful that Stones will be thrown into the deep end in north London, but it’s something to think about if this unpleasant situation comes again.

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