Very, very occasionally Premier League stars will make the chasm in ability between us and them seem that bit smaller.
Nicolas Otamendi is a prime example.
A technically gifted centre-back most days, yet his capacity for fatal brain farts ultimately his undoing.
Injuries to Aymeric Laporte and John Stones coupled with Man City’s uncharacteristic failure to operate in the transfer market this summer mean Otamendi has been getting a lot more air time than anticipated.
And the cold, harsh truth is City’s hopes of winning a third successive Premier League title can’t be taken seriously while he shoulders their defensive duties.
Otamendi has been brutally exposed twice this season already after stepping into the fold, but these mishaps are far from his first.
Let’s take a journey back through time…
Man City 1-3 Leicester (February 2016)
This is just a vintage Otamendi moment, his career in a nutshell.
Instead of jockeying or staying on his feet, he naively dives in at the feet of future team-mate Riyad Mahrez.
The Algerian easily hurdles the weak tackle before expertly putting Leicester 2-0 up.
Out of position, out thought and ultimately out fought.
Liverpool 4-3 Man City (January 2018)
In fairness to Otamendi, he wasn’t the only City player to s*** themselves as their unbeaten league record evaporated at Anfield two seasons ago.
In a blockbuster nine-minute spell after half time Liverpool blitzed Pep Guardiola’s side, with Otamendi caught out badly for the third of their four goals.
Trying to take too many touches, Mo Salah pounced and left the Argentine in a heap on the floor before setting up Sadio Mane to lash home.
Otamendi was like a rabbit in the headlights and showed that when the going gets tough, he goes missing.
Norwich 3-2 Man City (September 2019)
Now to this season.
Otamendi and Stones are a calamity couple at the best of times, but at Carrow Road in September they fell apart.
Ludicrously high lines and schoolboy awareness allowed Teemu Pukki and co. to serve City up their first defeat of this campaign.
For Norwich’s third goal Otamendi was inexplicably caught dawdling on the ball, allowing Emi Buendia to square for Pukki to stroke into an empty net.
Man City 0-2 Wolves (October 2019)
The concern for City fans is Otamendi is already on two fairly big blunders and we’re only two months into the season.
Against Wolves before the international break the 31-year-old was put on his backside again, this time by Raul Jimenez.
Jimenez was clever, but Otamendi should never have been beaten so easily as the Mexican nutmegged him on his way to setting up Adama Traore for Wolves’ opener.
City never recovered and are now eight points adrift of Liverpool after just eight games.
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