Who will start for City at Right back? This was the question ringing through yesterday’s press conference. Everyone is intrigued about how Pep will deal with this situation. Given the reputation of Pep, you would be a very brave man to bet against something unusual happening at the right back position. We know that all of Madrid’s planning throughout the week would have been targeted at exploiting the right back position. I would not be surprised if someone like a Benzema would also be drifting towards that right hand side to put pressure on the amateur who plays there.
Gabriel Jesus at Right Back
Most people have been pointing out that Gabriel Jesus played very deep in our last knockout match against Madrid in 2019-20. Also, Gabby is very good defensively and his work rate is amazing. But playing the position on a big champions league night will require experience and guile. Being a winger and helping out your full back is vastly different from being the main man in that position. Can Gabby defend those one on ones against Vinicius and also deal with the movement of someone like a Tony Kroos drifting onto that side? These are questions that scare the crap out of me.
There will be overloads on both the flanks and i am not able to even imagine how we will deal with the experience and guile of that midfield which has won 3 Champions Leagues together. Playing Gabby at Right back might not be the worst option but my concern is that it might not be enough to stop Madrid ripping through us time and again on that right flank.
Gabriel Jesus at Right Wing Back
Would Pep opt for a formation change on such a big night? Well, he played without a defensive midfielder in the Champion’s League final. So, it should not surprise us one bit, if he does go for a formation change. Also, it looks very logical to play with a back 3 against a team that would be looking to hit us on the break. In fact, playing with a back 3 would eliminate most of our defensive concerns. It suddenly means that you are now much more secure on the transitions and you can use an attacker like Gabriel Jesus on the right flank.
Also, the wing back position is something that all of the City attackers are well accustomed with. Most of the time, our wingers help out our full backs and hence the wing back position should not be any different from that. Also, you would now have the chance to utilize the best qualities of someone like a Nathan Ake at Center back. 3 at the back seems to be the only way out of this defensive crisis for my point of view.
Three at the back would mean that a lot of players would get to play their natural positions and our wing backs will not be exposed as much as they would be if they are played out of position at right back. Also, this formation would help us prevent the transitions of Madrid and we would be more defensively secure in this shape.