Nicolas Otamendi’s early Manchester City career is already starting to show why they were so keen to secure his signing over the summer.
Off the back of last weekend’s impressive Manchester derby performance, Nicolas Otamendi followed it up with a goal and a man-of-the-match performance against Norwich on Saturday.
Otamendi’s towering header against Norwich was reminiscent of captain Vincent Kompany, and reflects the great potential a centre-back partnership between the two could have.
The Argentine was La Liga’s top scoring defender last season, and his threat from set-pieces could be invaluable to City going forward.
In fact, Otamendi’s goal meant he became the fourth City defender to score in the Premier League this season – no other team has netted more from that position.
However it is his defending which is most important and he has showcased some excellent qualities so far.
He is an aggressive defender, possessing the physical strength to dominate opposition strikers.
Therefore Otamendi looks to play on the front foot and make challenges early, rather than drop deep and allow forwards to turn.
Otamendi is equally as comfortable in possession however, and against Norwich had a completed passing accuracy of 91.4%.
In his last two games, he has won a total of eight aerial duels, making 161 touches and creating two shots on target (one goal).
To begin the season Kompany had formed an impressive partnership with the much-improved Eliaquim Mangala, however injuries gave Otamendi a chance which he has grabbed with both hands.
The Argentine defender did not come cheap for City however, and Manuel Pellegrini spent £32 million to secure his services.
This was part of City’s expensive summer spending which saw them pay £44 million for Raheem Sterling and £55 million for German Kevin De Bruyne.
But following Sterling’s hat-trick against Bournemouth two weeks ago, and De Bruyne six goals and six assists in all competitions since he arrived, they are all starting to justify their value.
Much was made of City’s excessive spending at the time, but if they can continue their success in the Premier League, and potentially carry that form into the Champions League, the results will show the value of their spending policy.
Image courtesy of Manchester City FC via YouTube, with thanks.