To have the amount of quality which City possess and yet still be able to keep the vast majority happy is a skill Guardiola has perfected down to a fine art. Somehow, the Catalan coach knows exactly when it is the right time to rest a key player and when a squad player must be given some minutes.
While from the outside looking in it seemed strange to award Stefan Ortega a start against Brighton and Hove Albion, swapping out key men for relatively big matches has become part and parcel for City fans. However, Guardiola must now be wary of a pitfall to this ideology which Arsenal and Mikel Arteta currently find themselves struggling with.
This week, Ortega declared his ambition to be City&aposs No.1. On the face of things this is a realistic ambition to have and the former Armenia Bielefeld shot-stopper has proven himself to be a more than capable deputy for the Blues when called upon.
But, City must resist the urge to effectively change him into a second No.1 in order to appease his desire for regular games. The Gunners are currently experimenting with this concept with David Raya and Aaron Ramsdale sharing &aposkeeper duties and the consequences have been difficult to defend.
More so than any other position on the pitch, goalkeeper is a role which relies on regular minutes to keep the first choice sharp. Confidence is also a big factor in this and knowing the manager is backing you specifically to be relied upon in goal is huge.
At Arsenal, Arteta has decided to hedge his bets between Raya and Ramsdale and it does not seem to be paying off for him. Raya has looked clunky since being introduced while focus has turned to Ramsdale&aposs reactions on the bench – all Arteta&aposs decision has done is cause needless drama.
This is not to say Ortega should be exempt from playing at all.
Featuring in the cups and an odd league match makes sense but should Guardiola try and split playing time equally between him and Ederson, things could unravel quickly. For the foreseeable, the Brazilian is No.1, and should be No.1 alone.
Guardiola must now resist the urge to tinker with this dynamic too much, even if it means Ortega leaving to become a regular in the future.