Turning point in a difficult season
Foden started the 2022/23 season impressively when he started all 9 matches, mainly on the right and left wings, scoring 6 goals and providing 3 assists.
But a poor performance in the 0-1 loss to Liverpool prompted Pep Guardiola to leave him on the bench for the next three games. Foden returned to the main squad in the final match before the 2022 World Cup against Brentford and scored despite the home team losing 1-2.
The 23-year-old player had an impressive 2022 World Cup. But when he returned to Man City, he was again on the bench in matches against Leeds and Everton. After that, an injury kept Foden out for a month. An appendicitis surgery also forced him out of the field for another month.
By the time Foden fully recovered, coach Guardiola was settled with Man City’s winning formula and did not want to change the starting lineup anymore. Foden can only come on from the bench and start in games that are not too important.
He came on for 13 minutes in the FA Cup final against Man United. And if it weren’t for De Bruyne’s injury, he might not have played in the Champions League final.
Foden replaced De Bruyne very well in his 65 minutes on the pitch. He brought City’s usual urgency and energy and dynamism, and played a vital role in the game’s only goal.
It was Foden who made a diagonal move back towards goal to pull the two Inter defenders away before passing the ball to Manuel Akanji. The Swiss defender then pushed the ball to Bernardo Silva which led to Rodri’s goal.
It’s a reminder of Foden’s ability to create magical moments and that he deserves a starting spot. With Ilkay Gundogan gone, City’s midfield now has a void and Foden should be the one to fill it.
Why will Foden play midfield next season?
Initially, Foden often played as a left striker. But with Jack Grealish’s high form last time, he has no door to compete.
Coach Guardiola also does not seem to like to let Foden play on the right of attack because he believes that Riyad Mahrez and Bernardo Silva will help Man City more balanced. That leaves Foden with no choice but to kick back in midfield.
Gundogan’s departure presents Foden with an opportunity. Gundogan usually kicks the left side of a three-man midfield when Man City play with a 4-3-3 formation. But then coach Guardiola favored a 3-2-4-1 formation and the German played freely next to De Bruyne when under the cover of Rodri and John Stones.
Foden can play in both roles as Gundogan, but playing in the midfield of four would suit him better, as Rodri and Stones would free him from the task of controlling play and allow him to advance. than.
Born left-footed and also good at kicking his right foot, Foden can drift to either side of the pitch and even score more goals than Gundogan.
Foden will be Pep’s new “experiment”
Guardiola is a coach who loves change. He created the role of “virtual number nine” for Lionel Messi at Barcelona, while transforming Javier Mascherano from midfielder to central defender. At Bayern, he transformed Phillip Lahm from full-back to midfielder. Last season, Guardiola pushed Stones into midfield and turned Nathan Ake and Manuel Akanji into defensive full-backs. Guardiola will need a new “experiment” for next season, and that could be for Foden to play midfield at Man City.