John Stones Has Truly Turned Things Around At Manchester City And The Numbers Prove It
Manchester City have been in the news for all the right reasons this term. Be it their swashbuckling attacking players or Pep Guardiola’s tactical magic, City continue to break barriers as they maintain their astonishing unbeaten streak. Their brand of football is beautiful and entertaining to watch – and it seems to be getting them a lot of new admirers. However, one thing that Guardiola’s era at City has brought about is the remarkable resurgence of players who were being written off.
When John Stones joined City last season, he endured a rather difficult first campaign at the club. Now, over the years, we have seen the cash-rich club simply invest in a new option while discarding players who failed to perform. Many expected the same to happen to Stones as well but Guardiola did something that a lot of City managers failed to do in the past – believe in the player.
Make no mistake; Stones’ initial run after joining City was quite decent. He slotted into the team well and was defensively solid for the club. Gradually, Stones started putting up disappointing performances. He started making silly errors and misjudged a lot of instances. Hence, the centre-back started receiving criticism for his lack of power which ate away his confidence, and nobody expected him to do better after that slump in form.
For example, Stones was responsible for conceding a whopping 29 goals in 27 appearances last season – which is roughly one goal per game. On that front, he has already shown signs of improvement this time, having conceded only 6 goals in 11 appearances. He is being a lot more compact and strong at the back. Along with the power of Otamendi, Stones has been a rock in the heart of City’s defence this season so far.
In fact, in 15 appearances for Manchester City this term, Stones averages 1.1 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and 0.3 fouls per game. He has won about 1.3 offsides per game and has made an average of 3.2 clearances and 0.5 dribbles. He also picked up the Man of The Match award in City’s Champions League match against Feyenoord, according to WhoScored.
With the rest of the season ahead of us, it will be interesting to see how positively Stones continues to change under Guardiola. It is truly pleasant to watch the kind of impact Guardiola has had on not just the team but also on its players. John Stones’ revival is certainly a good example of Pep’s influence.