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Pep Guardiola could take Man City experiment to the next level with Aymeric Laporte injured

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One of the first fundamental changes that Pep Guardiola made at Manchester City was to the formation.

It sounds incredibly complicated, especially when there are far simpler solutions, but a team that are used both to many positional changes and to making the difficult look easy stand a better chance than most of pulling off such an experiment.

Where Manuel Pellegrini had generally preferred two holding midfielders (for as long as Yaya Toure stuck to it...) and a No.10 in a 4-2-3-1, the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach decided he would have just Fernandinho supporting two in front of him with greater defensive responsibility - "free eights", as Kevin De Bruyne termed them - in a 4-3-3.

He may have since played down the idea of two defensive midfielders but the ability of his players to move as the game dictated would take City's understanding and ability to confuse teams to another level.

It remains the go-to formation but, ever the innovator, there were signs of some Guardiola tweaks during a pre-season tour where the Blues could largely do what they liked against alien opposition in unwelcoming conditions where even those trying to tune in to watch the game struggled.

So it was that the last friendly of the Far East tour saw more fluidity in the City engine room than is usual.

"Sometimes when we defend we try to help our holding midfielder with another one, sometimes we play with just one, today we decided to make this kind of pressing for the way they play," said Guardiola when asked about it afterwards.
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