Ex-Premier League midfielder Danny Murphy is curious about whether Manchester City’s manager Pep Guardiola will implement a significant tactical change to counter Arsenal’s star player Bukayo Saka in the upcoming clash between the two leading teams on Wednesday.
According to stats website Transfermarkt, Kyle Walker has never played as a left-back throughout his top-flight career.
However, with Guardiola confirming Nathan Ake, his first-choice left-sided defender, will be unavailable for the match at the Etihad Stadium against Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal, Murphy wonders if the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager will employ the kind of tactical surprise that has characterized his highly successful coaching career.
He told talkSPORT, “I think he might throw Kyle Walker at left-back, just to stop Saka.”
Sergio Gomez, a summer signing from Anderlecht, may not be an ideal choice due to his lack of Premier League experience, while Aymeric Laporte, according to Murphy, does not have the necessary speed to effectively challenge the fast-paced Saka.
This season, Arsenal’s number seven has scored 14 goals and provided 11 assists across all competitions. Saka played a pivotal role in Arsenal’s comeback against Southampton on Friday, with the Gunners demonstrating both their strengths and weaknesses during the 3-3 draw with Ruben Selles’ bottom-ranked team at the Emirates Stadium.
Arsenal has now drawn three consecutive league games. Murphy anticipates that the upcoming match between the league’s top contenders in the northwest of England could result in another draw for the Gunners. He says, “Man City is not as fearsome a place as Anfield. It’s not like it’s a cauldron. If you were going to Anfield, you would think; ‘No chance.'”
However, Murphy doesn’t think Manchester City will lose. He suggests that there is a possibility that Arsenal could secure a draw, keeping the title race alive and exciting.