Foden must be Guardiola’s False 9 if continues the experiment against Man Utd

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With the absence of a striker at Manchester City, Phil Foden has been City's closest answer to an out-and-out talisman.

Foden was, once again, on the scoresheet for Pep Guardiola's side when he latched onto the end of a brilliant team move.

It was Foden's first goal in the Champions League this season, but the 20-year-old has already bagged three in the Premier League.

Foden is the sides second top goalscorer, after Riyad Mahrez, but the majority of the Algerian's goals have come in cup competitions.

And should City want the best chance of besting Manchester United at the weekend, Foden must start in the false 9 role.

Guardiola made his bed over the summer when he failed to replace Sergio Aguero after the Argentine's move to Barcelona.

There were attempts to lure Harry Kane to the Etihad, and there were links with Cristiano Ronaldo, but City opted to stick to their guns.

Guardiola has championed the false 9 since his time at Barcelona with Lionel Messi, but the Catalan is yet to find a player that can perform the role in a similar manner.

Foden may just be that man for Guardiola, and the 50-year-old has previously admitted: "He has everything to become one of the best players."

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The 'Stockport Iniesta' was once again one of City's brightest sparks on Wednesday evening.

Foden dictated the play the majority of the first 45 minutes, as City looked to break down the Belgians defence following their freak own goal.

The 21-year-old's role changed in the second half as Scotland international Jack Hendry followed him around the Etihad.

Instead, it was his movement that pulled apart the Brugge defence, and his ball to Ilkay Gundogan played a huge part in City's third.

Foden was eventually hooked in the 80th minute to be replaced by fellow youngster Cole Palmer.

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It should be noted that Foden's best performance in a City shirt came in the false 9 role against Real Madrid.

In a game that had been delayed until the summer due to Coronavirus, Foden dismantled Los Blancos' defence with his persistent running.

Interestingly, it was Raphael Varane who was given the run around that day.

Varane won't play a role in the weekend's derby, and United confirmed on Wednesday that he will miss a months action after hobbling off against Atalanta.

There is always the option that Gabriel Jesus could resume his tenure upfront, but Guardiola has deployed the Brazilian on the left this season.

But Foden had played his best football in the false 9 role this season, and his unconventional movement should free up room on the wings for Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva.

  • Champions League
  • Premier League
  • Pep Guardiola
  • Manchester City FC
  • Manchester United FC

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