Pep Guardiola’s two Man City priorities for 2023 should be obvious – Jack Flintham

The year 2022 will be looked upon fondly by the Blues. It saw Erling Haaland arrive at the Etihad Stadium and Ilkay Gundogan win the Premier League for City in what could have been the most exciting fashion if it was not for Sergio Aguero&aposs existence.

City also experienced their fair share of downs too. The improbable Champions League semi-final defeat to Real Madrid will still sting for some, including Pep Guardiola.

But, New Year&aposs Day is an opportunity to look ahead to what the next 12 months have in store and for City there is plenty to be optimistic about. Guardiola&aposs men are still alive and kicking in four competitions and retaining their domestic crown is certainly not out of their reach.

So with that in mind here at MEN Sport, we have decided to look at what Guardiola&aposs City priorities should be this year.

Even before the World Cup in Qatar, City fans were already confident that Alvarez deserved more minutes than he has so far received. When introduced into the fold by Guardiola in 2022, the Argentine rarely disappointed.

His pace and agility in the area is the perfect partnership to Haaland&aposs power and ruthless goalscoring instinct. Once on the pitch in Qatar, Alvarez proved that he is more than worthy of a regular role in the City squad.

Up front with Lionel Messi, the 22-year-old always threatened to outshine his legendary teammate. Against Croatia, Alvarez showed just how far he has progressed and has left Guardiola with a conundrum.

The Catalan boss knows that Alvarez deserves more game time and arguably should be one of the first names on the teamsheet. Therefore, you would have to imagine that someone like Riyad Mahrez or Jack Grealish will be fazed out.

Unfortunately for them, the facts are inescapable and Alvarez should be allowed the chance to have a bright 2023 helping to spearhead City.

One of the most positive things about the second half of 2022 was the emergence of Lewis. The 18-year-old stole the show in November when he scored against Sevilla in the Champions League.

He continued to impress post-World Cup and enjoyed a standout performance against Liverpool in the round of 16 and Leeds United in the Premier League. It would appear that City have unearthed a gem in their academy who will one day replace Kyle Walker.

At present, Walker is still one of the best full-backs in the Premier League never mind City and talk of him being replaced full-time is premature. But, at 32, does he need to play every league match for the Blues when fit?