Hindsight is a wonderful thing.
Man City’s Champions League campaign got off to the worst possible start against Lyon.
Pep Guardiola was forced to watch from the stands as City slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat in their opening group game.
Mikel Arteta took charge of the side and although the tactics were the same as Guardiola’s, the performance was nothing like you expect from City.
One man who rarely puts a foot wrong in the usually formidable side is Fernandinho.
The Brazilian has become a stalwart figure of City’s midfield since his arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013. He was however a shadow of his usual-self last night.
Fernandinho’s performance against Lyon showed us just why Guardiola was so eager to sign a new central midfielder in the summer.
The 33-year-old was dispossessed on three occasions against the French side, with two of those proving costly for the home side.
The Brazilian lost the ball in the buildup to both of the moves that led to Lyon’s goals.
His metronome-like style proved ineffective against the Ligue 1 side. He was clearly a player who Lyon believed that they could exploit.
The City man was pounced on at almost every opportunity when he received the ball, and he crumbled under the pressure of the French side.
At 33-years-old, Fernandinho is being forced to play a lot of minutes. More than he should be for a player of his age.
Amongst Guardiola’s somewhat controversial squad-rotation policy this season, the Brazilian has been an ever-present.
Fernandinho has been flogged for all he’s got, when he simply doesn’t have enough left in his legs to cope with his workload.
Is his age starting to creep up on him?
Guardiola identified the central-midfield position as an area that the Etihad club desperately needed to strengthen in the summer.
Pursuits of Jorginho, Fred and Jean Michael Seri all proved unsuccessful, meaning that City would have to make do with their limited options in the centre of the pitch.
Their failure to secure Jorginho’s signature in particular was a bitter pill to swallow for Guardiola.
The midfield maestro rejected City in favour of a move for Chelsea, and has quickly become one of the Premier League’s standout operators.
At 33-years-old, it’s inevitable that Fernandinho’s role at the Etihad will soon begin to lessen in importance.
We could well see a repeat of the Yaya Toure situation.
Fernandinho was by no means the only one to blame for City’s sloppy display against Lyon.
Ilkay Gundogan and Fabian Delph are two other players who are desperately lacking in form and struggled against the Ligue 1 side.
Whether or not Guardiola and Txiki Begiristain find that perfect central midfielder could decide City’s fate this season.
There’s no doubt they will try their hardest to address the problem in the January transfer market.
A list of targets is being drawn up as we speak.
Aaron Ramsey, anyone?
READ MORE FROM THE WEIRD AND WONDERFUL WORLD OF DREAM TEAM:
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- How Olivier Giroud went from Ligue 1’s top scorer to the French Emile Heskey
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