Football legends and current pundits, Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher claim that Manchester City's centre-back partnership of Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones will cost the club the Premier League title.
Otamendi and Stones struggled during City's 3-2 shock loss to Norwich City, which means that they now trail Liverpool by five points in the league table. Manager, Pep Guardiola though cannot make too many changes to the squad considering that the duo are his only two fit centre-backs, following the injury to Aymeric Laporte and the departure of Vincent Kompany at the end of last season.
Neville and Carragher tore into the duo, believing that their partnership could cause the downfall of City this season.
'If these two play together... Man City won't win the league'— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) September 16, 2019
Gary Neville and Jamie Carragher criticise John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi after Man City's defensive woes in Norwich defeathttps://t.co/Zh6NypuA5F
"He (Otamendi) dives in, he has done it all his career. He will never change and that's why he's not good enough to play for Manchester City. I have never believed it from day one and nothing I have seen in the last four or five years has changed my mind," Carragher said to Sky Sports.
"John Stones, in some ways, over the next three or four months, is almost fighting for his Manchester City career in that, if it doesn't go well for him they are going to buy someone. At this moment, I don't think Guardiola wants to put those two on the pitch together but he has got no option because he has not gone big in the summer."
Neville too was not impressed with the defensive partnership claiming that City's inability to bring in to replace Laporte until January could affect them.
"Guardiola gave up on this partnership 18 months ago when Laporte came to the club. Otamendi always gets caught out as a centre-back and quickens up the opposition in attack. He's so not a Pep Guardiola type centre-back, they're usually composed but he's rash."
"Laporte's injury, Kompany leaving and not replacing him is a big problem for Manchester City. Stones and Otamendi have played 25 games under Guardiola in the Premier League. They've conceded more goals than any other partnership, conceded more goals per game, the clean sheets are down, the three-plus goals conceded is well up and then there's the big one, lower win percentage."
"That will cost Manchester City the Premier League title. If these two play together at their current rate of performance they won't win the league."
It will be interesting to see whether Guardiola does decide to change the partnership as he can always play Fernandinho in defence.