Despite the fact that Manuel Akanji helped Manchester City win the UEFA Super Cup, manager Pep Guardiola is very unlikely to ever deploy Akanji in the “John Stones role” once more.
City defeated Sevilla in Athens after displaying the courage to come from behind and win on penalties.
Youssef En-Nesyri’s spectacular header gave Sevilla the lead. The international player from Morocco beat Nathan Ake and Josko Gvardiol to the ball before bursting into the bottom corner and giving Ederson no chance.
With Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva, City had trouble keeping possession of the ball and had trouble producing quality chances.
Cole Palmer, however, made a stronger argument to remain at the Etihad Stadium this summer by tying the score with a header in the second half.
In the end, City triumphed on penalties.
But the meticulous Pep probably wouldn’t have been pleased with his team’s performance.
And it’s quite unlikely that the Spaniard will ever again utilize Manuel Akanji in a hybrid role.
Manuel Akanji had a challenging Super Cup match against Sevilla.
On defense last night, Pep began Kyle Walker, Akanji, Nathan Ake, and Gvardiol.
It was going to be interesting to watch whether any defenders would press into midfield, as Stones does so expertly.
In actuality, Akanji was the player from last night, and the Swiss international struggled.
Akanji occasionally exhibited incredibly painful facial expressions.
He frequently lost possession of the ball and, when he did, opted to play cautious passes rather than using it effectively. He rarely crossed the boundaries.
He playing the entire game was a great surprise because it didn’t seem to be working and Sevilla was occasionally taking advantage of him.
Pep won’t attempt Akanji in a hybrid role again, for sure.
Let’s be obvious about one thing: Akanji is an outstanding defender.
He was superb for City last season and has had several great performances while wearing a sky-blue shirt.
He doesn’t, however, seem to be suited for the hybrid job.
It is a highly complicated job, and last night just served to highlight how thoroughly Stones had prepared for it in order to look so excellent in it.
Sadly, Akanji seems uncomfortable and it is difficult to imagine Pep attempting him again.
If Stones is not available, it wouldn’t be shocking if Pep tried Gvardiol in the position.
Last night, the Croatian showed excellent ball control and is more agile than Akanji.