Manchester City started a challenging week with a solid three points against Brighton and Hove Albion at home, which paused the Premier League’s downward spiral.
The Blues appeared to be regaining their clinical edge with Rodri back in the center and John Stones making his long-awaited comeback. The side that travels to Old Trafford the next weekend may have included one player who had a standout performance on Saturday.
James Milner had to be replaced at halftime because Jeremy Doku’s pace caused so many problems for the Brighton back line. Pep Guardiola revealed following the game that selecting the 21-year-old against the Seagulls was a calculated risk that paid off.
But his justification for the choice gives us a glimpse as to when we might see Doku start over. Guardiola told reporters, “Jeremy can play on right perfectly, but he may not be used to playing on left.” “Four years ago, a right winger played on the right side while a left winger played on the left. Now, finding it is challenging. Mitoma [Kaoru] is right and left. Both are capable of playing. Although Jack [Grealish] lacks the one-on-one quickness, he is more controlled and adept at providing assists.
“I guessed a game with more transitions,” the manager continued. Being man-to-man, both teams are more aggressive. More often than usual, you drop the ball. The transitions are sparked by this. I believed that Jeremy, with his quickness, and Phil [Foden] could be helpful.
The Blues may anticipate their opponents attempting to be aggressive comparable to Brighton against Manchester United this weekend. The Reds are less likely to want to take a backseat at home since the fans will encourage them to attack more.
For City, this should create more transitional opportunities where a player like Doku may flourish. It’s likely that he will face Victor Lindelof, who is not at all a left-back by nature, if he is used on the right, where Guardiola thinks he can play brilliantly.
Therefore, deploying Doku in the derby could provide him the opportunity to terrorize the opposition similarly to how we saw him do so on Saturday, making him a near-certain starter for the crucial matchup the following week.