Man City star Julian Alvarez is forcing opposition teams to overthink – Simon Bajkowski

Ederson was a game-changer in terms of how analysis teams tried to stop Pep Guardiola&aposs side as they quickly realised that pressing the goalkeeper is a dangerous exercise but so is letting him have the ball to land it on any sixpence that he wants. Rodri can often be man-marked in an attempt to stop the flow of City&aposs game, while it is unusual for Erling Haaland to have multiple players watching for where he goes.

Added to that list can be Julian Alvarez as he grows into the City team. Alvarez has made the most of Kevin De Bruyne&aposs long-term injury this season to make a spot in the starting XI behind Haaland his own, proving to be one of the most effective players in the league.

The Argentine, who came in seventh place in the Ballon d&aposOr rankings announced on Monday in Paris, appeared to have one of his quieter games of the campaign in the derby as Jack Grealish and Bernardo Silva marauded down the left flank at Old Trafford in the 3-0 romp. However, United manager Erik ten Hag revealed after the game that Alvarez had been central to his peculiar decision to select Jonny Evans and Harry Maguire in the centre of his defence over World Cup winner Raphael Varane.

“When you face City, they will go up to press and then to play with Rapha and Maguire over the left, that can give problems and then you end up only kicking long balls,” he said. “He is, for me, better on the right, Harry, especially against teams pressing high and, second, is you have to step in over that side and that was our tactic – to step in over Alvarez and get Sofyan [Amrabat] higher to get [the] press on their build-up.”

Needless to say, Amrabat was hooked at half-time and the defence left Haaland in acres of space on multiple occasions as City&aposs gameplan trumped United&aposs convincingly. Even before the game had started, Alvarez had caused United a headache.