Aymeric Laporte has endured an up-and-down career at Manchester City since his arrival at the club in 2017. City paid £50m for his services from Athletic Bilbao in the bid to improve their defense that struggled in the first year under Pep Guardiola. The Citizens won the Premier League with a dominant charge to the crown, although Laporte managed only nine appearances in the league behind Nicolas Otamendi, John Stones, and Vincent Kompany in the pecking order. The season after he was a first-choice option at centre-back as City defended their title, fending off Liverpool by a single point.
However, injury then ruled him out of the majority of the 2019/20 season before he was then replaced by Ruben Dias last season. Laporte has returned to the fold this term and has looked solid in the line-up alongside Dias, complementing him well as a natural left-footer on the left side of the defence. His performances in the back four should make the under 2.5 goals betting market a decent bet in the Man City v Everton betting odds as a low-scoring affair at the Etihad Stadium can be expected. Guardiola’s men have lacked their usual vigor in the final and have been reliant on their stoic backline to keep opposing teams at bay, which is making a strong case in the Premier League predictions for the club to retain their top-flight crown.
After 11 games, City have only conceded six goals, keeping seven clean sheets in the process. Laporte has been a vital contributor to their success and appears to be back to his best, although he did lose his place in the side for the Manchester derby where City ran out 2-0 winners over United at Old Trafford. The competition for places in the City side has brought out the best in Guardiola’s squad. The Spaniard has dismissed reputations in the past and has gone with the player on form.
Laporte was not handed a way back into the team and was forced to wait for an opportunity. He then had to excel under pressure amid the presence of Stones and Nathan Ake waiting in the wings. The signing of Ake, in particular, could have ended Laporte’s career at the Etihad Stadium. The Netherlands international was signed from Bournemouth for £40m, but failed to impress enough to earn a starting role and has been shunted behind Laporte in the pecking order due to the return to form of the 27-year-old.
Laporte is in a crucial stage of his career and made the bold decision to turn his back on France to play for Spain ahead of the 2022 World Cup. The centre-back has arrived at La Roja at a good time amid a dearth of quality options in the backline. Luis Enrique has entrusted Laporte with a starting role and he will be determined to maintain his spot. He has learned a great deal about seizing opportunities in his short career, and the lessons learned at City should stand him in great stead not only at maintaining his spot under Guardiola but also Enrique with La Roja. Laporte has endured tough times, but has come out the other side a stronger player and character.