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First it was having a quartet of aging full backs unable to deliver on his demands. Then it was going eight months without a genuine left back.
This season, there’s another defensive issue facing Pep Guardiola at Manchester City: a shortage of center backs.
With long-serving captain Vincent Kompany released in the offseason and Aymeric Laporte ruled out for the rest of 2019 because of a knee injury, City was already lacking numbers at center back when John Stones sustained a muscle injury in training this week and could be sidelined until November.
It has left Guardiola with one fit senior center back — Nicolas Otamendi, a player who looked on his way out of the club after barely featuring last season — just as the fixtures start piling up this season.
Guardiola’s response? Bring it on.
“It’s not a problem, it is a challenge,” he said Friday about City’s center-back crisis. “What’s important is being positive in your mind.”
Guardiola, therefore, is going to have to be bold and creative.
His first decision was to play defensive midfielder Fernandinho at the heart of the defense for the Champions League group match away to Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday. Making his first start of the campaign, Fernandinho — who has been
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