Opinion… Why Pep Guardiola should’ve played £225k-a-week Man City ace in midfield over Alvarez vs Chelsea

In our perspective, Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola should have opted to start Phil Foden in midfield instead of Julian Alvarez against Chelsea.

Despite Foden’s excellent performance in the right flank position against Copenhagen, Guardiola chose to play him in the same position against Chelsea. The setup in the Champions League clash saw Rodri on the right side of midfield, involving Foden more in the game compared to the previous match.

The decision to start Julian Alvarez instead of Bernardo Silva on the left side created balance in City’s midfield. However, the choice to bring in Alvarez over Foden, a natural midfielder, was unexpected. Alvarez, despite being a goal-scorer for City, had defensive responsibilities as part of a double pivot alongside Rodri.

Considering Foden’s recent hat-trick in midfield against Brentford, it’s perplexing why Guardiola believed Alvarez was better suited for the role against Chelsea. Foden, born in Stockport, was not only an attacking threat against Brentford but also demonstrated his ability to control the game in the first phase of play.

While Alvarez attempted to contribute in deeper areas, he struggled to impact City’s build-up beyond passing the ball back to Rodri or Akanji. Foden’s technical proficiency is considered superior to Alvarez, providing better ball manipulation to bypass Chelsea’s high press.

City’s sluggishness in building out of the back persisted, leading Guardiola to substitute Alvarez in the 64th minute. Later in the game, Foden was shifted centrally, indicating Guardiola’s recognition of the need for a creative boost. However, the limited time on the clock prevented Foden from changing the game.

While it may be understandable for Foden to stay wide to accommodate Bernardo Silva, Guardiola’s insistence on Alvarez as a creator remains puzzling, especially against a team of Chelsea’s caliber, considering Foden’s excellent performances in midfield for City this season.


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