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Talking Tactics: Doku hands Pep a Greal selection headache
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Mitchell Fretton
Jack Grealish has been struggling to break into the starting XI at Manchester City
Jack Grealish has been struggling to break into the starting XI at Manchester City

Jeremy Doku has cast Jack Grealish's Manchester City future into doubt after scoring and grabbing four assists in the win over Bournemouth on Saturday.

The Belgian was picked to start by Pep Guardiola and will surely struggle to find a reason to drop him any time soon.

Ahead of City's Champions League clash with Young Boys tonight, we take a look at how the Catalan head coach can manage two elite left wingers.

Pace vs precision

Grealish and Doku approach the game in different ways. The former prefers to slow things down and draw his opponents in — often earning his team a foul in the process.

But the latter plays at a much quicker pace and loves to run at his opponents, beating them with his explosive speed and delivering a pass or shot as he did so many times against Bournemouth.

Grealish has only made three Premier League starts this campaign, returning just one assist, while Doku has featured in the starting XI six times, scoring twice and setting up five.

Doku has led the way this season but £100million man Grealish adds a different dynamic to City's attack and proved himself to be a valuable asset in the Treble triumph last term.

Jack Grealish has been underperfoming compared to summer signing Jeremy Doku
Jack Grealish has been underperfoming compared to summer signing Jeremy Doku

Goals the priority

Grealish has struggled to deliver consistently in the last 12 months and Guardiola admits that scoring goals is the priority when picking his attack.

He said: "We need everyone. A lot of games come. Everyone has to compete.

"The way he [Grealish] played at Old Trafford to give us more composure in that position. It was decisive for us.

"But it's good that Jeremy has this threat to score goals, Bernardo [Silva] again, Phil [Foden], we know it.

"Having more players involved to have the pleasure to score, it's so important, with or without Erling."

Suiting City's style

Guardiola went on to hint that he could play both Grealish and Doku together but that has only happened once this season — in the reverse fixture at Young Boys.

England's No7 has work to do if he is to force his way back into the starting XI and some of the stats predict a worrying future for Grealish if he does not pick his form up soon.

Although the former Aston Villa talisman has higher passing accuracy and more completed through balls than Doku, the summer signing excels in almost every other attacking aspect.

The ex-Rennes speedster has attempted a mammoth 42 take-ons in the top flight this season compared to Grealish's seven and has created nearly double the amount of chances as well as recording five times as many shots on target.

With City still active in three competitions this term, both players are likely to get plenty of game time.

But it looks as though only one will get the nod for the more meaningful matches.

The home tie in the Champions League tonight may be the perfect opportunity for Grealish to prove his worth and force Guardiola to deploy Doku out on the right instead.

Having competition for places comes with being one of Europe's top teams but City must be careful not to create a negative environment as they challenge for their sixth title in seven years.

If Grealish cannot recapture his best form, the 28-year-old's best bet may be to accept a move away from the club and follow in the footsteps of Cole Palmer and Raheem Sterling.


Manchester CityJack GrealishJeremy DokuChampions LeaguePremier League
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