Can City stand without Richards?
Micah Richards’ horrendous injury during Manchester City’s evening match with Swansea last weekend could have a serious detrimental effect on City’s chances of winning the title (check out the latest Premier League betting odds), with their defence now more exposed than ever.
Richards received a long period of treatment after going down when attempting to clear a cross and needed oxygen as medics carried him off the field and straight to hospital.
The extent of the damage is not yet known but it is likely Richards will be out of Roberto Mancini’s plans for some time: a big blow for the manager after a series of defensive leaks have exposed City in recent games.
The English champions, still favourites to win the title this season with many punters who bet on football with bet365, were 10 minutes away from a 1-0 defeat to West Brom a week ago until the front line finally snapped into operation and Edin Dzeko rescued all three points for Mancini’s men.
Four days later and with the same back-four of Richards, Vincent Kompany, Joleon Lescott and Gael Clichy, City were stung three times away to Ajax in the Champions League. They were a complete mess and, ironically, it was Richards who came out after the match to criticise Mancini for changing to three at the back moments before Ajax’s third.
With Richards out, City’s defence looks incredibly weak. Mancini has tinkered with his back-four all season and his distrust of Lescott at times has meant Paolo Zabaleta – injured himself – is reserved for centre-back. Matija Nastasic is too young to rely on his consistency while Kolo Toure is way beyond the wrong side of his career.
Indeed, with Aleksander Kolarov also injured for the foreseeable future as well as Maicon – brought in as Richards’ allocated reserve – Mancini has a difficult task ahead of him to balance the City defence as the busy winter period draw near.