Why Julian Alvarez Is Playing A More Pivotal Role Than Haaland For Guardiola’s Manchester City

Kingsley Ikechi
For a while now, Pep Guardiola seems to have been trying to figure out how to include Julian Alvarez in his Manchester City lineup.

 

Alvarez’s star-making performance at the Qatar World Cup made it clear that he had to have a spot in the Blues’ starting XI after several strong showings. The 22-year-old would have easily rejoined the team at any other football club in the world.

But City is not just any club and It is challenging to accommodate a player who would ideally want to play in Erling Haaland’s position when you have a striker with his abilities among your ranks.

Following his electric goal-scoring form in the first few months of the season, the Norwegian has solidified himself as unstoppable. He still has an astounding 28 goals in 25 appearances for the Blues, despite the fact that this may have subsided in recent weeks.

Alvarez demonstrated on Thursday night that he is up to the positional challenge that is put in front of him to gain a spot on this team. In preparation for the match against Tottenham Hotspur, Guardiola sent out a mission to the World Cup champion.

Alvarez demonstrated against Spurs that, if the situation calls for it, he has the versatility to play across an attacking midfield three. The Argentinian was able to work well with Haaland in the “number 10 role,” adding another threat for Spurs to contend with. Guardiola spoke about the Argentine role, saying:

“We need a bit more presence in the final third, Close to Erling, players like attacking midfielders to be close to them and we try to, his energy, his movements, his sense of goal, and that’s why he’s in my side.”

It is obvious that playing both players is an ultra-attacking option, and if Kevin De Bruyne is added to the lineup, it may suddenly expose City’s current porous defense.

In the first half of Spurs game, Antonio Conte’s team held their own, but when the pressure was on, they were unable to contain the Blues. Naturally, Thursday night was not a surprise for City supporters who have been demanding more involvement from Alvarez for a while.

The two forwards have shown they can work well together; they just needed the opportunity. Riyad Mahrez now has more room to express himself, which he is doing to devastating effect, thanks to the presence of both Alvarez and Haaland on the field.

Although Alvarez might not have received the game time that his talent merits, Guardiola may have discovered a formation that works against 95% of their Premier League foes.

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