Manchester City defender Benjamin Mendy has started the new season in fantastic form, making three assists in as many games. The French international is coming off the back of winning the World Cup and has been impressive from the off.
Mendy is adept at beating his opponent in a one-on-one and whipping a good ball into the box to set up a scoring opportunity. He’s a very aggressive left-back in both boxes and has given the Sky Blues a new dimension in attack. It’s easy to see why Pep Guardiola paid £52m to sign him.
Combative in defence, bold and creative in attack
Mendy has it all. The 24-year-old is highly combative when called upon defensively but has the all the attributes to be a threat at the other end of the pitch. In the Premier League this season, he’s averaged a tackle or interception every 24 minutes. Few players get the better of him, and Mendy has only given away one foul in the process. He’s the perfect modern-day defender.
In City’s side, he fits like a glove. Given a license to get forward by Guardiola, the Frenchman has created six chances in his three appearances and has made four successful dribbles. He made two assists in City’s opening league game against Arsenal and one against Huddersfield Town days later. In addition to having great decision-making and composure, Mendy boasts excessive pace and strength to outmatch the majority of his opponents.
Making up for lost time
Mendy ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament against Crystal Palace on September 23, 2017 and didn’t return until mid-April, 2018. The left-back made only seven league appearances and had one assist, but he’s been on fire in 2018/19. Mendy has certainly made up for lost time and is unlikely to lose his place in the side unless his form dips.
Having a full-back capable of taking on their opponent to get balls into the box for the striker to finish is a very useful asset to the side. And if said player can marry such attacking tendencies with discipline at the back to not to dive in, they could end up costing the same amount as Mendy. Guardiola has paid tribute to the defender already this season.
As per Sky Sports News, he said: “We could not demand Fabian Delph and Oleksandr Zinchenko do what Benjamin Mendy does, in terms of going up and down the wing, attacking space and having his physicality because they have different physical conditions.
“We saw (Mendy’s quality) in Monaco in France, his quality to go forward. When a player has this quality, we have to use it, because it’s his ability to create problems.”
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