EPL

Guardiola: Front two of Alvarez and Haaland may be needed to break teams down

By Sports Desk January 01, 2023

Erling Haaland and Julian Alvarez playing together could help Manchester City to break down teams who sit back against them, according to Pep Guardiola.

City lost ground in the title race on Saturday after drawing 1-1 at home to struggling Everton, with leaders Arsenal then extending their advantage at the Premier League summit to seven points with a 4-2 victory at Brighton and Hove Albion.

Haaland had given City the lead against the Toffees, but Demarai Gray scored a superb strike to peg the champions back and hold them to just a point, putting another dent in their title hopes after losing at home to Brentford in the final game before the World Cup break.

In his attempts to win the game, Guardiola brought on World Cup winner Alvarez up top with Haaland in the 87th minute, and though it did not reward him with three points on this occasion, he says he may have to start the pair if they are to improve their results at home.

"You have two strikers who are going to score goals," City boss Guardiola said after the game.

"To create the chances you have to make the process and for the process sometimes you need other types of players to create these chances.

"But of course they can play together - especially in defence against five at the back they can play together.

"In the last minutes when it is 1-1, we needed people in a central role, in and around the box, and that's why he [Alvarez] played."

Phil Foden has come off the bench in all three of City's games since returning from the World Cup, with England team-mate Jack Grealish preferred to start over him in the last two league matches.

Asked whether Foden needs to adapt to be included in his starting line-up, Guardiola replied: "No, Phil can play in a thousand, million positions.

"When I am in the pitch and in the training sessions, I see something with my intuition and I decided to play with Jack for these games because Jack give us extra, extra, extra passes.

"When it is more vertical, Phil is better, so both can combine, both can play together but this time I decided on this line-up."

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